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UK drought hits garden wildlife hard

There is currently a drought occurring in the south and east of the UK and some experts fear that if conditions do not improve before the spring than many plants and animals are going to be hard hit.

John Wilkinson from the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust has commented, “This time of year is when the weather starts getting a bit better and this means animals such as frogs start breeding. The lack of rain however has meant that there are no reports coming in about frogs breeding yet.”

Frogs are not the only animals that experts fear will have their breeding habits affected. The groundwater levels in this part of the country have fallen to their lowest levels since the summer of 1976, which was infamously dry.

The crested newt is an endangered species and experts fear that ponds drying out will mean it has nowhere to nest. Peter Brotherton, from the biodiversity group, Natural England has commented, “In nature it is a normal part of the life cycle to see drought. However, the amount of water that is currently available is worryingly low. At this time of year it is normally seen that soil is very saturated but this is not the case at all right now.”

Near Cambridgeshire is the wetland and grassland area of Nene Washes and the site manager for the RSPB is Charlie Kitchin. He has stated, “Last winter was quite dry as well and there has been no flooding. We are expecting that the black tailed godwit, of which there are only 100 in the country, is going to suffer particularly badly.

“At this time of year normally everything is very wet, but this year it is just bone dry. When the area is too dry the godwit is unable to feed and therefore they do not raise young. What we must remember though is that one bad season is not the end of the world, the animal will recover when there is more rain.”

Mr Brotherton went on to say, “Some animals are more affected by drought, such as butterflies, after the drought in 1974, the number of butterflies significantly decreased but since that time the numbers have improved. Trees are also going to be affected and we may see very ancient trees start to die. This can have an impact on the area for decades and can affect many other animals and plants in the area.”



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