Thursday, 8 February 2018
Hogs in decline
I expect most people have seen the news that the Hedgehog population in the UK has fallen by by 50% since the year 2000. Like so many statistics that bring us bad news, it actually masks a far worse situation. Between the year 1972 and 2000 the population had already halved. This means that since Pam and I watched a family of Hedgehogs on our lawn in Crayford the population had reduced to a quarter. Nearly always number and changes in species populations are related to time not very distantly past. I am sure that this means the generation now growing up, and hopefully more conscious of the problems that the word wildlife has, are actually unaware as to how fast most other species are declining. I remember when I was not much older than my birding Grandsons are now, the fantastic number of migrants that could be seen on the east coast after a fall. A look at the ringing totals of most observatories will show that these days have gone, and what is considered the norm would have been very disappointing in 1961.
This was reported in 2014 "The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found."
A few species are prospering, but a world full of feral cats, feral Pigeons, Wood Pigeons, domesticated animals raised for food, and those species that our gun toting Country "sportsman" like to kill, is not a very appealing world. While some of the iconic species are making the headlines all the time, it is important we realise that the prospect of the biggest mass extinction ever is not only possible, but probably inevitable unless human behaviour is modified drastically in the very near future.
The pictures were taken in 2005, we haven't had a record of one in the garden for the last two years.