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© Peter Flood

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Landmark report reveals UK wildlife’s devastating decline

Bottlenose dolphins breaching

With whales and dolphins already facing many threats, a landmark report released this week reveals the true extent of UK wildlife’s devastating decline.

The world-leading study, State of Nature, documents the results of continuing damage being inflicted on wildlife in the UK, with one in six species at risk of being lost.

Species studied have, on average, declined by 19% in the UK since monitoring began in 1970. WDC will be joining more than 40 of the UK’s most respected conservation organizations, with a combined membership of almost four million, to protest today outside government offices in London, Bristol, Reading, Newcastle and York.

The report also reveals that most of the important habitats for the UK’s nature are in poor condition, but restoration projects can and do have clear benefits for nature and people, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Already classified as one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries, nearly one in six of the more than ten thousand species assessed (16%) are at risk of being lost from Great Britain.

The report brings together leading professionals from over 60 research and conservation organizations, including WDC, using the latest and best data to provide a benchmark for the status of UK wildlife.

Due to habitat damage from fishing gear, none of the seafloor around the UK was found in good condition.

Optimistically the report also highlights where concerted wildlife conservation action has made a key difference to many species and habitats.

The findings of this report are very disturbing. The government has a long way to go to protect marine mammals in UK waters. Robust protections are lacking and very little is known about the 20 or so types of whales and dolphins found around the UK.  We are trying to fill these knowledge gaps with citizen science projects like WDC’s Shorewatch, but the government needs to act now to help UK marine mammals and their habitats to halt declining biodiversity and address the climate crisis.