Nurture the nature in your garden - Call for garden-owners to help save Britain's wildlife
ARGUK has been asked to contribute to a new project, the Garden Wildlife Health Project which is being run by a consortium of wildlife organisations including the British Trust for Ornithology and the Institute of Zoology. We have been asked to submit any sightings of diseased/distressed amphibians and reptiles (not necessarily from gardens) via the BTO site: www.gardenwildlifehealth.org. Where animals have recently died, there is an opportunity to have an expert post mortem conducted by the Institute of Zoology (IoZ) in some cases. They are particularly interested in (native) reptiles, as so little is known. Therefore, if you find a (recently) dead reptile, even if it is not from a garden, then please do contact them as soon as you can via the web-site. The web-site also contains instructions for how to package and post specimens, since some carriers have put restrictions on this now.
Garden Wildlife Health is the first collaborative citizen science project of its kind, relying on data provided from garden owners across the nation. Monitoring the well-being of species commonly found in Britain, including amphibians, reptiles, garden birds and hedgehogs, members of the public are being asked to report signs of disease online. All of the information collected will be used by the Garden Wildlife Health team to assess where and when wildlife diseases are occurring and the impact they have on animal populations to help safeguard against future declines.
Tim Hopkins, Garden Wildlife Health project co-ordinator at ZSL says: "We all share our gardens with wildlife but often fail to notice how these animals are faring. We're already seeing a steep decline in a number of iconic British animals, including the hedgehog, and we need to know whether disease is playing a role."We know that common frog and greenfinch populations have declined as a result of disease and keeping an eye on our British garden species is crucial if we are to understand the threats to their health, which not only affect individual animals, but can impact entire populations."
"This new national project relies on the help and support from the British public, and we urge people to get in contact with us at gardenwildlifehealth.org to tell us what they're seeing in their garden; it really will make a difference."
Collating reports from the British public, the Garden Wildlife Health team will be able to assess for the first time valuable information on the well-being of native species and explore if disease is contributing to population declines. To learn more about the project, the diseases affecting British garden wildlife and how you can get involved please go to: www.gardenwildlifehealth.org.