Finding a home for threatened West Sussex wildlife

iving nature a home. Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com)
iving nature a home. Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com)

The RSPB has launched a campaign to help tackle the housing crisis facing West Sussex’s threatened wildlife.

Giving Nature a Home will urge the nation to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside spaces.

The charity hopes to inspire people in West Sussex to help towards creating a million new homes for nature across the UK.

The launch of the campaign comes a month after 25 wildlife organisations, including the RSPB, released the State of Nature report revealing 60 per cent of the wildlife species studied have declined over recent decades.

Many garden favourites in West Sussex were among the creatures shown to be in serious trouble including starlings, hedgehogs, some butterflies and ladybirds.

All are in danger of further declines unless more is done to provide better habitats.

Getting individuals and families from West Sussex to act for nature in their own gardens is the first part of a package of actions that the RSPB is launching in response to the State of Nature.

Over the course of the next few months, the charity will be outlining what businesses, communities and politicians can do, as well as detailing the RSPB’s own plans for saving nature.

Samantha Dawes, RSPB Conservation Manager for South East England, said: “Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines.

“West Sussex gardens provide a valuable lifeline for species like starlings, toads, hedgehogs and butterflies, which are struggling to find homes in the wider countryside.

“Although the overall problem is huge, the solution can start on a small scale, right on our doorsteps. It doesn’t matter what sort of garden you have, what size it is, or even if you have no garden at all, we need everyone to help by turning their outside space into a wildlife haven.

“The more people that get involved in our Giving Nature a Home campaign the better. Our aim is to provide one million homes for nature across the UK, because if there’s no home for nature, then there’s no nature – it really is that serious.”

TV homes expert, Linda Barker, is one of the famous faces supporting the campaign. She said: “I’m getting behind the RSPB’s campaign because, to me, having wildlife in your garden is the perfect finishing touch to any home.

“Planting wild flowers, digging a pond or creating a log pile for bugs is not just a good way of getting creative and making your garden more attractive, but it will also benefit threatened garden wildlife at the same time. Individual actions will make a difference and start to help tackle the lack of habitats for some of our wild creatures. In my garden I’ve put up a nest box for birds and planted nectar-rich flowers to attract bees. If everyone can do just one thing and gave nature a home in their outside space it would be amazing - together we can make a big difference.”