On the 22nd May the State of Nature report was released by a coalition of 25 of the UK's conservation charities. The report which looks at how wildlife across the UK is faring, what is doing well, what is doing badly. It's the first time such a report has been created and while there are some success stories a lot of the content is bad news for wildlife in general.
Anyone who is out exploring nature regularly will have noticed some declines. Hearing a cuckoo is now a rare experience, seeing a hedgehog in your garden is unusual and surely no-one has missed the many news stories on the decline of the UK's bees. In fact, the report concludes that 60% of animal and plant species studied have declined in the past 50 years.
While only (!) 3,148 species were assessed out of the UK's 59,000 this stocktake will hopefully reveal clues as to the reasons behind declines but also behind successes. This will allow conservationists to develop plans to protect our most vulnerable species and to improve the prospects for nature all over the UK.
You can read all of the report here. I haven't managed all of it yet, but whether it's the incredible photo's that highlight the fantastic species, the graphs (I'll never stop being a mathematician!), or the report itself, if you're interested in wildlife then you will definitely find something fascinating inside.
The message is clear too. From lichen to ospreys, gannets to moles, the natural world is finding life harder than ever before, and a lot of it is because of humans. But there are some good news stories too, otters and red kites are on the up, partly because of humans doing good things. So that's the message of hope, things are tough, but we can and will do better, and by coming together nature will have better champions and face better times ahead.
Read the report, it's a great piece of science and a captivating read. But if you don't have time right now, check out the State of Nature video. If for no other reason than to remind yourself of how incredible and diverse the UK's wildlife is, and that it is everywhere.