Third wet summer could spell disaster for wildlife in Britain

December 27th, 2008 - 4:52 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 27 (ANI): Officials from the National Trust has warned that a third wet summer in parts of the UK could spell disaster for many species of insects, birdlife and mammals.

According to report in the Guardian, the charity says three wet summers in a row in many regions could mean that creatures - ranging from craneflies (often called daddy-long-legs) to species of butterflies, members of the tit family, puffins and bats - may struggle to survive in some places.

After two very poor years in a row we desperately need a good summer in 2009, otherwise its going to look increasingly grim for a wealth of wildlife in the UK, said Matthew Oates, a nature conservation adviser for the trust.

Climate change is not some future prediction of what might happen. Its happening now and having a serious impact on our countryside every year, he added.

The warning comes in a yearly audit produced by the National Trust of how the weather in 2008 affected wildlife.

In places such as the Cotswolds and parts of the Thames Valley and south-east, Oates said there was an awful lot of very bad weather for wildlife.

The year began curiously, according to the audit, with sightings of red admiral butterflies and white-tailed bumblebees in January and February.

Many naturalists think it is probably a bad idea for such creatures to be out and about so early. The bees were badly hit by snow and frost in April.

Heavy rain during mid-May meant hard times for early-summer insects, which in turn meant many blue tit and great tit nests failed.

In June, coastal birds such as choughs, kittiwakes and razorbills bred late and reared few young. In July, puffin numbers on the Farne Islands were down 35 percent in five years.

The year has also been unkind to bats. Heavy summer rain meant there was a shortage of the insects they like to eat.

According to the researchers, it is the cumulative effect of bad weather that can be so damaging.

If there is one poor summer a species might be lost from a parish here and there. If there are two, the loss is likely to be across two or three parishes. But, if there are three consecutive washouts, whole counties could lose species, they added.

Were desperate for a good summer in 2009. The state of our wildlife is very dynamic. But, a third bad summer could cause significant damage, said Oates. (ANI)

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