Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Somerset’s wildlife that urgently needs our support

Snipe and Redshank

Between 1982 and 2002, there was a 61% decline in Snipe and 29% for Redshank on lowland wet grasslands across England and Wales, attributed to changes in land use and drainage practices which severely inhibited the feeding and nesting opportunities for these two most distinctive wading birds. In Somerset their diminishing populations are currently restricted to just eight sites in the whole of the Somerset Levels and Moors – an area of 600 square kilometres. If we don’t maintain water levels within our wetland habitats and reserves and continue to create ‘muddy edge’ features to support feeding chicks, these very special Somerset residents could disappear completely -  or be restricted just to one or two nature reserves, making them incredibly vulnerable to climate change. Click here to help us manage water levels on our wetland reserves so we can provide the best breeding conditions for Somerset’s Snipe and Redshank.

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Dormice

Once a familiar sight throughout much of England and Wales, Britain’s native population of Hazel Dormice has fallen by a third since 2000, and have entirely disappeared from seventeen English counties.  The loss and fragmentation of our woodland and hedgerow habitats, and changes to farming and woodland management practices, alongside the Dormouse’s intense vulnerability to climate change – particularly warmer winters, - mean that this shy and wonderfully endearing little mammal,  is now increasingly  vulnerable to local extinctions in the UK. Our work across the Mendip Living Landscape and our reserves to monitor and record Dormice populations and restore and enrich woodland and hedgerow habitats to enable successful foraging and hibernation is critical. Click here to keep Somerset’s Dormice safe.
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Lesser Horseshoe Bats

Modern intensive agriculture and farming practices introduced to support our nation’s growing food consumption, have had an enormous impact on our rural landscapes and the wildlife populations that call them home.  Alongside a continuing lack of public awareness when it comes to food provenance means that this trend looks set to continue.  Historic trends for hedgerow removal on farms in the last century  has no doubt negatively affected ,  a number of bat species who rely on them, including one species in particular. Lesser Horseshoe Bats use rich, healthy hedgerows as superhighways to move across the landscape, also relying heavily on the wealth of invertebrates found in these hedges.. Recent conservation efforts to work with landowners to replant many of these hegderows is likely to be tied to a change in the fortunes of the Lesser horseshoe, though they aren’t out of the woods yet. It is important that we can continue to provide support to farmers  to help replant and manage hedgerows, introducing cutting programmes and land management techniques that support species such as Lesser Horseshoe Bats. Click here to help keep Somerset’s hedgerows healthy.

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