Actions for Animals

Wildlife and our last remaining wild places are being destroyed because of human action or inaction and because of our own short –term greed.

Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa

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    National Tree Week takes place from 26th November to 4th December in 2016.   Celebrate all things tree and branch out with these leafy activities!  National Tree Week is organised by the Tree Council - it's the largest tree celebration in the UK and it launches the start of the winter tree planting season.

    This is a great opportunity to do something positive for trees in your area. 

    10 Tree Things to Do 

    Send a tree through the post
    Yes, honestly.  There’s a tree (or a bush) for everyone even in a hallway or on a balcony.   Rather than send flowers which don’t last, send a tree or bush which will last longer.  Some trees/bushes even produce things you can eat…. is to trees what a florist is to flowers so this Christmas why not send a tree as a gift?

    Hunt for ancient trees
    Help the hunt for Ancient Trees and help boost the ancient tree inventory.  This is a great outdoors activity, aided by the fact you can choose the day (and weather) on which to do it.  Your family can go hunting for ancient trees and if you find one, let the Woodland Trust know about it.  It helps them lobby to protect ancient trees and care for them, and plan for their proteciton in the future.  The Woodland Trust has a leaflet for children with activities to do. 

    Plant a tree or join a community plant
    From small trees to the mighty oak, you can plant a tree in your garden or join a community project and enjoy it for years. Get your community planting trees or volunteer to help on a tree planting near you.  This is a great way to meet new people and make friends and get all earthy.  The Woodland Trust has more information on community planting

    Who lives in woodland and trees?
    Wildlife need our woodland and our trees. Discover who lives in our woodlands and trees and our forests.  The Wildlife Trust and Woodland Trust both have information about who lives there.   

    Become a tree surgeon
    This could be a great career for anyone who loves the outdoors life and trees!  Tree surgeons plant, they fell, they care for and maintain trees and assess their hazards.   You can find more info at the National Careers Service website here and The Arboricultural Association has information as well.

    Be a tree warden for the Tree Council
    The Tree Warden Scheme is a national initiative to enable people to play an active role in conserving and enhancing their local trees and woods. The scheme was founded and is co-ordinated by The Tree Council. 

    Trees, shrubs and hedges from Suttons Seeds
    Trees, shrubs and hedging from Suttons Seeds

    Plant a tree in memory 
    My wonderful Dad died in 2013.   Birthdays and Christmases are difficult.  I felt I wanted to mark events such as this in some way so I’ve started planting a tree in Dad’s memory for these occasions and Father’s Day.   So far, I’ve planted a tree with the Alderney Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust in Sussex and 5 trees in Ecuador with the World Land Trust, all in his name and memory.  It took a while for the idea to surface, but I do smile at the thought of trees being dedicated to Dad all over the world. I try to find a link between each tree and Dad.  He was a Winnie the Pooh fan, so I planted a tree in Sussex which is Winnie the Pooh country.

    Campaign for Trees
    The Woodland Trust campaigns for Trees – visit their website to see if there are any campaign's you could support.   Examples include being a voice for trees and woods, telling the Trust about threats to ancient woods, and taking action in your community. Find out what you can do to help 

    Identify trees
    How many of us know our oak from our beech?  The Woodland Trust has information you can use to discover which tree is which.   Visit the woods near you and enjoy them.

    Visit Trees for Cities
    Trees for Cities is working to make cities greener places in which to live and visit world wide.  There are opportunities to volunteer, either as an individual or a corporate entity.  Since 1993, over 70,000 people have planted over 600,000 urban trees in parks, streets, schools and housing estates across the UK, as well as internationally.  


  2. There's some great news for marine life this week as the Ross Sea in Antarctica gains protection.

    Some 600,000 square miles in the Southern Ocean will become the world's biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA).  The protection lasts for 35 years and protects the area from commercial fishing.    

    This is a great example of how nations - 24 in all plus the EU - can work together and reach an agreement to protect a prestine marine ecosystem which is vital to wildlife.   It is hoped that other protected areas will follow.


    Delegates from 24 countries and the European Union have agreed that the Ross Sea in Antarctica will become the world's largest marine protected area (MPA). A 1.55 million km2 area of the Ross Sea will be established, with special protection from human activities.  The meeting took place in Hobart, Australia, after years of protracted negotiations.

    The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) agreed unanimously to designate the Ross Sea as an MPA.

    This new MPA will come into force in December 2017.   It will limit or entirely prohibit certain activities so as to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring and fisheries management objectives.  And 72% of the MPA will be a 'no-take' zone, which forbids all fishing.  Other sections will allow some harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research.  

    The Ross Sea, its shelf and slope comprise just 2% of the Southern Ocean but it is a vital home to 38% of the world's Adelie penguins, 30% of the world's Antarctic petrels and about 6% of the world's population of Antarctic minke whales.  It is also home to vast number of krill which are a staple food for species such as whales and seals.  And the region is important to you and I because the nutrients from the deep waters there are carried on currents around the world.   The fear is that overfishing and climate change are impacting on their numbers. 

    The establishment of this enormous marine protected area is a great step forward for the wellbeing of marine life and people everywhere.  Here's to more of them!



     STOP the hedgehog decline

    Hedgehogs have declined in number substantially over the last few decades.   Their numbers have gone from 36 million during the 1950s down to just under one milliion in 2015. 

    Reasons for the decline in hedgehogs include:

    • Loss of hedgerows and permanent grasslands - partly because of intensive farming but also because of the disappearance of hedges in favour of less attractive fences
    • Use of pesticides, insecticides and other chemical products - they are all toxic and reduce the prey available to hedgehogs so there's less for them to eat
    • Many thousands of hedgehogs are killed on the roads every year in traffic accidents
    • People have smaller and tidier gardens with fences or walls which prevent hedgehogs moving from one garden to another
    • New buildings and roads are carving up habitat and hedgehog populations are becoming isolated, so they are vulernable to extinction in their own area

    Research is being undertaken to find out more, and reporting your sightings of hedgehogs is an important part of this research - it helps identify habitats these much loved animals are using.   As hedgehogs are tending to use urban areas more and more, it is vital that people living in towns and villages help hedgehogs. 

    Things are being done to help hedgehogs

    There are a number of initiatives to help these tiny animals buck the trend.   One of these is the creation of a Hedgehog Improvement Area in Solihull in the West Midlands in the UK.   The area has been funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and it crosses a nature reserve, a public park and surrounding streets. 

    Campaigners are trying to persuade people to cut a CD-sized hole in their garden fence to create wildlife corridors, so that hedgehogs can do the roaming they need to do.  

    Another initiative comes in the beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey (famous for the Guernsey Tomato).  Here hedgehogs are being tracked by technology. 

    But there's plenty of things people can do from home to help hedgehogs

    Create a wildlife friendly garden

    1. Give hedgehogs a nesting box - Garden Wildlife Direct have hedgehog homes from £19.99
    2. In place of fences stick to hedges such as beech, holly, hawthorn, berberis, hazel or buckthorn
    3. Create a log or wood pile and a hedgehog might build a nest under it
    4. If you have a pond, give hedgehogs a way out such as a ramp so that if they fall in, they won't drown
    5. Don't use chemicals on your garden - they destroy the hedgehogs' prey
    6. Put out extra food such as meaty cat or dog food, hedgehog food, meal worms or chopped unsalted peanuts.  Give them water to drink (not milk). 
    7. Create a 13 cm square hole in your fence or wall so that hedgehogs can roam at night to find food and a mate.  (They actually travel 1 to 2 kilometres a night.) 
    8. Make sure there's no netting at a level hedgehogs can get trapped in and clean any litter up
      Let a corner of your garden run wild
    9. If you are having a bonfire, move it on the day you light it or build it the day you set fire to it.  Check before you set it alight for hedgehogs (and check for them before you do any strimming in your garden, too)

    You can become a hedgehog champion by joining in at Hedgehog Street, run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.  So far, nearly 34,000 people have become hedgehog champions and are helping hedgehogs in their gardens and in their local area! 

    The hedgehog is just one example of a change in our behaviour and actions can help a species.  

    Business can help hedgehogs as well

    Both KFC and MacDonalds have agreed to change their packaging, which was previously damaging hedgehogs.