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02 02/02/2016

The importance of wildlife watching and recording

  • Wildlife Connections

Not only is it important to connect one wildlife friendly space to another, it's also important to spend time observing the wildlife we see around us and record it.

Collectively, our gardens and green spaces can link areas of the country together and provide a huge natural landscape for UK wildlife. By making changes to your garden (no matter how big or small it is) you can provide wildlife friendly habitats that will enable animals to move from space to space and connect with other populations.

Not only is it important to connect one wildlife friendly space to another, it is also important to spend time observing the wildlife we see around us and record it.

UK wildlife - robin on bucket 

You may have seen a number of articles - like this one from The Guardian – explaining how climate change and habitat loss is pushing UK wildlife to the edge of extinction. But what difference does a small ant or a hoverfly make to you? Quite a big one!

We rely on many UK species for our food and even the air we breathe. From the tiny bugs to the bigger mammals; they all contribute towards a healthy environment that is vital for our survival. It’s like a jigsaw; if one piece is missing it just won’t work properly.

But how do we know if we’re losing a certain animal or plant? This is why it’s so important to record what wildlife we see throughout the year! The information collected helps conservationists to spot any changes or decline in species and to take action before it’s too late.

Knowledge is a vital tool for conservationists; the more information we have about our local habitats and the species that live within them the more we can do to protect them; especially those living within a built up area. If we don’t know what we’ve got, how do we know what’s missing or needs help?

Hogweed plant, UK wildlife

Hogweed

The best thing is anyone can get involved in recording wildlife! You don’t need to be a wildlife expert or have any experience in wildlife watching to take part.

Still not sure if you’ll be able to do it? Can you identify any of these chocolate bars:

Chocolate bars with wrappers on

How about now?

Cholcate bars with wrappers off

The colours, markings and shape of the chocolate bars are what helped you to identify them, right? Well, identifying wildlife is the same. Look out for the size, shape and colour of the animals and plants that you see. If you’re still not sure what you’ve seen you can try to identify it by typing a more detailed description into Google. Or take a photo and send it to us for our volunteers to identify.

Recording the more common species is just as important and the data is just as valuable! There are plenty of experts and professionals carrying out research full time on the rare UK wildlife, so in order to get a more realistic idea of numbers we need the common species to be accounted for too – we’ve listed a few species on our recording form to help you. And if you think your little bit won’t make a difference; you’re wrong. The more information we have the better! It means we can be more accurate with conservation action.

Be proud of the amazing wildlife you can find right here on your doorstep. There are plenty of other benefits to wildlife watching too; it can be relaxing, you can learn more about your local area and it’s also a great motivator to get yourself outdoors and exploring new places! Start recording what you see today and play a part in helping to protect your local wildlife. You can even do it from the comfort of your own home; just get yourself comfortable near a window.

Here are some more hints and tips to wildlife watching and recording.

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