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To see a blog about why we should get serious about wildlife declines visit the Green Alliance website by clicking here.

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  1. Dennis Ames

    Mark,really well done a really good blog putting everything on the line.Found it really interesting that you lay the blame on all party's.Of course wildlife lovers are not great in numbers just like some other groups so politicians are not going to pay much attention to getting their votes and of course voters have to consider lots of factors when voting.
    Do not think people in general realise how desperate the problem is.

  2. Jonathan Wallace

    The picture on 'Standing up for Nature' seems more appropriate than the one on the Green Alliance!
    With respect to why the decline of wildlife is not a big electoral issue, the sad fact is that it is always the 'traditional' hard indicators of the economy - tax levels, unemployment rates, house prices and so on - that are the battle grounds come election time.
    I wonder if a more hard hitting communication strategy towards the general public is needed (adverts depicting little girls making hedgehog homes in the garden don't really convey much of sense of urgency I fear) but the conventional wisdom seems to be that too much gloom and doom can turn people off.
    I am not sure if fewer NGOs would be the answer to the problem but effective coordination between them would certainly help.
    The last time I saw a Turtle Dove it was in Germany and I don't remember when I last saw one in the UK (living in the north-east doesn't help!) but the idea of them disappearing altogether from this country is really appalling.

  3. Dennis Ames

    So funny,some sane? person even found something wrong in that comment.
    PS did not think I could admire you more but the depth of thought in that blog made me admire you even more and if that makes that sane? person hit that dislike button then I will laugh even more.
    I will take this chance to thank you for all the effort you put into giving pleasure with your blogs and wish you a happy Christmas and a healthy new year.

  4. Dennis you say that those of us who are passionate about wildlife are not great in numbers. The truth is with RSPB having over a million members and the Wildlife Trusts getting close I would suggest there is more support for nature conservation than political parties.

    The problem is that the membership of conservation groups is fairly passive. What we need (and Mark has been preaching this around the UK) is for more interaction with our elected decision makers. We need to make more noise and get the environment back on the agenda.

    • Keith Cowieson

      Reference turtle doves, recent research suggests that despite the protection of EU legislation, the doves continue to be killed in very large numbers across a number of southern-European EU member states during migration. It is estimated that 2–4 million are shot/trapped annually, a size-able proportion of the estimated total European population of 3.5–7.2 million pairs -

      Taken in conjunction with the other population-depressing factors involved, little wonder that their numbers continue to dwindle year on year.

      • Mark

        Keith - yes, although the fact that Turtle Doves don't produce anything like enough young to maintain the population when they do get to the UK means thast shooting is a bit irrelevant (although it is something that the French and others should do much more to samp out).

        • Keith Cowieson

          Sounds like a depressingly similar parallel to the now extinct North American passenger pigeon - unregulated and illegal hunting pressure of a migratory species in both wintering and summer grounds, coupled with degradation and fragmentation of breeding habitat and associated food shortages leading to fewer breeding attempts. And in the case of the turtle dove in UK, under increased predation pressure in its core south-east of England range. End result, less overall productivity and a downward spiral in population ending who knows where.

          Sadly, (for the turtle dove), another book opportunity beckons......

  5. Dennis Ames

    Derek,it was not a criticism in any way shape or form and what you say is perfectly true but of course some who belong to rspb definitely care little about wildlife it is a means to a end to cheaply walk their dogs and let them have a run everywhere even when they should be on a lead.
    the groups with clout for political party's to look out to so to get their votes are,such as trade unions,young families and senior citizens,these groups mean in comparison wildlife lovers are neglected to a certain extent and I am not suggesting I agree with that,merely a fact of life.

    • Jonathan Wallace

      Hi Dennis
      I am sure that members of the RSPB and other conservation bodies vary very wildly in their level of commitment to nature and its conservation but I seriously doubt that many (any?) join simply to have somewhere to walk the dogs. There is really no shortage of country parks and other similar locations where people can walk their dogs entirely free so it would be bizarre to pay an annual subscription just for that. I conclude therefore that all members of conservation bodies have sufficient level of concern about nature to be at least prepared to fork out a modest sum every year for the membership.
      For some, the access to nature reserves for bird watching is likely to be a key benefit without which they might not bother to remain a member but if they enjoy going bird watching then it seems reasonable to say that to some extent they care about nature.
      It would be great if all members of the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts etc were actively engaged writing letters to MPs, joining conservation work parties, selling cakes at fund raisers and so on but that is really never going to be happen. It does not mean they don't care at all though so (a) their numbers do count when the RSPB and others make representations to government and (b) we should be glad they are there and encourage them to do more by taking every opportunity to point out to them what they can do and how easy it is to take some meaningful actions (only a few moments to sign an e-petition, less than an hour to write to an MP etc.).

  6. Dennis Ames

    Jonathon,Arne rspb would be a perfect example of what I said,for less than 5 pence a day I think you can park free and walk your dog,not many places in that area offer so much as that which includes almost certain car safety as far as breaking into your car,that last one is really valuable in that area.


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