Belfast Telegraph

Chris Packham launches nationwide nature audit

The TV naturalist says his ‘bioblitz’ project across 50 sites aims to highlight how the UK’s landscape is in trouble.

TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham is calling on the help of experts and the public for a nationwide “bioblitz” to audit the country’s wildlife.

Packham aims to use the independent “citizen science” audit of 50 sites across the country to highlight the extent to which the nation’s species are under threat, and that it is “not enough” just to have wildlife in nature reserves.

He also hopes the results will be a benchmark to help measure future declines or improvements.

Bioblitzes involve an intensive field study over a set period of time to record all the living species within a designated area.

Starting in the Scottish Highlands on July 14, over the course of 10 days he will make his way through Northern Ireland, Wales and parts of England, looking at wildlife from flies to fungi, mammals, birds and butterflies.

At each site, Packham and his “bioblitz” team will be joined by specialists on different species and amateur nature lovers to examine the wildlife that is there, flag up conservation successes and see where creatures are struggling.

He said: “I’m doing this because I want to highlight that the UK’s landscape is in big trouble.

“We should have a far greater expectation of having wildlife around us all of the time but sadly we find ourselves going to nature reserves.

“We treat them like they’re museums and art galleries, we go there, we get fully satisfied there’s lots of life, but on the way home when we’re driving through the countryside there’s nothing left.

“Some parts of it are absolutely bereft, they’re deserts, and what we want to do is say to people ‘that’s not good enough’.

“We want wildlife everywhere, nature reserves are not enough.”

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