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New hope for red squirrels - Natural Resources Wales

Work to boost red squirrel populations in North Wales is proving successful as Natural Resources Wales (NRW) captures footage of a young squirrel.

(image: Natural Resources Wales)(image: Natural Resources Wales)

Earlier this year, NRW released seven red squirrels in Clocaenog Forest as part of a project to secure their future.

And now, wildlife cameras have provided the first evidence of breeding, capturing videos of a young squirrel exploring outside.

Rhys Jenkins, Conservation and Heritage Manager, Natural Resources Wales, said: “Red squirrels are such an important part of our environment, our heritage and our culture in Wales and we have a duty to protect them for future generations. We believe two of the females we released have had young and the video shows one of the baby squirrels - it is a bit shaky on its feet but great to see. But what’s really interesting is that it has a pale tip on its tail which is characteristic of Welsh genetics. This has lead us to think that one of the females we released bred with a wild Clocaenog male which is really exciting – and shows how well they are settling in.”

They are being monitored closely by NRW and local volunteers from Red Squirrels Trust Wales who regularly check cameras in the forest to see where the squirrels are going and how they are doing. Some of the squirrels have also been fitted with radio collars so the volunteers can track their movements.

This contributes to a UK-wide collaboration called Red Squirrels United (RSU).

  

Councils urged to adopt bee-friendly grass-cutting and introduce pollinator action plans - Buglife

  • Cutting parks less helps flowers and helps pollinators © S BurgessReduced grass-cutting can save councils thousands of pounds
  • Only two English county councils have comprehensive bee action plans in place

Councils are being urged by Friends of the Earth and Buglife to do more to help Britain’s bees after a survey found that only two English county councils have comprehensive pollinator action plans in place.

Cutting parks less helps flowers and helps pollinators © S Burgess

Policies such as cutting areas of grass less frequently in parks and roadside verges to allow wild flowers to grow aren’t just good for bees - they can save councils thousands of pounds too.

Dorset County Council saves around £93,000 a year by only cutting rural road verges when needed, Burnley Borough Council estimates that it saves around £60,000 per annum from cutting back on grass-cutting to help pollinators, and Monmouthshire County Council estimates that the saving made from a reduction in highway verge mowing is approximately £35,000 each year.

Buglife and Friends of the Earth have produced a comprehensive guide for councils setting out policies that would help pollinators in their area. Habitat loss is a major contributor towards pollinator decline, and the guide includes easy, cost-effective measures to protect and restore pollinator-friendly habitats in their local areas.

 

First ever habitat connectivity report using species data shows positive impact of policies on butterflies - University of Reading

Butterflies are benefitting from environmental action to increase their habitats, scientists have argued following a pioneering government report.

Research published today on the ability of butterflies to move around the countryside shows butterflies, including much-loved species like the Speckled Wood butterfly, have recovered significantly since a worrying decline at the end of the last millennium.

(image: University of Reading)This connectivity data, published for the first time by the University of Reading, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Butterfly Conservation, is important as it could allow conservationists to better manage landscapes for biodiversity, if updated regularly.

(image: University of Reading)

Lisbeth Morrison, biological scientist at the University of Reading, who led the connectivity analysis, said: "Until now, there has been no indicator giving a ‘species-eye view' of habitat connectivity for species in the UK, so this report is a huge step forward in understanding how they are coping with an ever-changing environment. The evidence suggests that policies put in place to protect habitats have been very effective for many butterflies. For example, woodland planting and restoration in the UK drastically increased during the 1980's, reaching peak levels of over 30,000 hectares planted in 1989. This now mature woodland has helped contribute towards increased numbers of butterflies, enabling species to be more connected across the landscape. Relatively simple changes to land management could have massive implications for biodiversity across the countryside and help prevent species that are enjoyed by millions from disappearing completely."

University of Reading scientists analysed 33 butterfly species, using data from a long-term monitoring scheme, the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme between 1980 and 2016, to show the long-term trend in connectivity.

 

Scientific Publications

 

Sophie A. Comer-Warner, Paul Romeijn, Daren C. Gooddy, Sami Ullah, Nicholas Kettridge, Benjamin Marchant, David M. Hannah & Stefan Krause Thermal sensitivity of CO2 and CH4 emissions varies with streambed sediment properties Nature Communications volume 9, Article number: 2803 (2018)

 

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