Saturday, 15 November 2014

RSPB records successes and declines of species on its reserves

Although best known for their work to conserve birds, the RSPB in fact monitors a broad range of species. They have recorded a staggering 16,006 species across their 212 reserves covering 150,000 hectares (370,000 acres) of wildlife habitats in the UK, and a very substantial 97 per cent of these species are not birds. 
Water Voles are one of the species found 
to be on the increase according to the RSPB. 
The Water Vole is recolonising RSPB’s 
Insh Marshes.

The organisation has reviewed how the diverse wildlife on its reserves has fared during 2014, and has reported instances of both successes and species declines. 

It has been a good year for the rare Ladybird Spider, which has benefitted from good numbers of its beetle prey. The spider, which gets its name from its bright red body and the black spots of the male spider, was thought to be extinct until a small number were rediscovered in 1980 at a site in Dorset. They have been reintroduced to several more sites in Dorset, including at RSPB Arne, where a higher number of the spiders’ distinctive webs were observed. 

There has also been success for the Water Vole in Scotland where they have recolonised RSPB’s Insh Marshes. Their numbers decreased by a concerning 90 per cent over the past four decades due to the introduction of the American Mink, who preys on the small mammal. Their increase in numbers at Insh Marshes is thought to be a result of work done by the Scottish Mink Initiative, who are working to remove the mink from northern Scotland and have put in place measures to control mink in Cairngorms National Park. 

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