British drought brings harsh time for wildlife

March 19th, 2012 - 12:13 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 19 (IANS) The British wildlife is headed for tough times while trying to breed during a spell of drought, experts have warned.

A large part of England is under drought after extremely low rainfall for two winters, which has affected much of the southeast, including London, and East Anglia region.

Frogs, toads and birds all depend on healthy water supplies for feeding and raising their young, the Daily Express reported.

Britain’s Environment Agency has warned drought could spread to more regions of the country if dry weather continued this spring.

Trevor Beebee, of the University of Sussex, said: “The species most likely to suffer are those using shallow, temporary ponds, notably common frogs and, more significantly, the rare and endangered natterjack toad.

Amphibians such as frogs, toads and newts lay their eggs in a jelly-like spawn at risk of drying out. Hatching tadpoles also need water.

The natterjack and the great crested newt may survive the drought but could be wiped out by climate change.

Many birds are also at risk due to the dry spell. Waders rely on wetlands for food and raising their chicks.

Julian Roughton, chief executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said: “This winter, nature reserves that have usually flooded have not done so, resulting in a loss of wetlands for wildfowl and waders; long-legged wading birds.

“This year it is very likely that these will dry up before the chicks fledge, which will be disastrous for them.”

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