The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has described a new national report on the declining state of nature as “a serious wake-up call” for action to restore the county’s wildlife.

The 2019 State of Nature report, released today, shows that wildlife is continuing to decline across England, with 35% of species having seen their numbers decline since 1970 and as many as one in seven now facing extinction.

The report has been produced by experts from more than 70 wildlife organisations across the UK, working for the first time with government agencies to present the clearest picture to date of the current status of species across land and sea.

Butterflies have been hit particularly hard since 1970; despite a good summer this year, overall numbers are down by 23% and those of species that require more specialised habitats are down by more than 75%. England’s mammals are also under increasing threat, with more than 27% of species at risk of disappearing altogether.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Dr Gary Mantle MBE said:

"The shocking conclusions of this report mirror what we see here in Wiltshire on a daily basis. Our wonderful county is blessed with an incredible range of habitats and animal and plant species, but behind the scenes these are becoming more endangered by the day.

"The iconic curlew is a case in point: numbers have decreased by as much as 85% over recent decades, with just 10 breeding pairs now left in Wiltshire and maybe only one pair managing to raise chicks this year. There is a very real risk of breeding curlew disappearing across large areas of the UK in the near future. In the Braydon Forest, once a stronghold for breeding curlew, the Trust is working with local landowners in a new programme to survey the area, monitor and help protect breeding curlew on their land, but we face an uphill task to rescue this species.

Today’s report on the State of Nature is a serious wake-up call and shows the scale of effort needed to save nature in Wiltshire and across the UK. As the loss of wildlife is a continuous and continuing trend, it can be easy to overlook the sheer scale of loss; but this doesn’t reduce the seriousness of the situation.

Despite this, now is a time not for despair, but for action. It’s not too late to turn this situation around, and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust will, as ever, be unswerving in our efforts to help wildlife thrive once again across our beautiful county.

We urgently need government to legislate to create a Nature Recovery Network that would map the places where wildlife needs to be protected, highlight the spaces where more habitat could be created, and reveal the areas where biodiversity should be restored.

But as well as this, there’s a huge amount that we can all do in our daily lives to give nature the kiss of life that it desperately needs, from making our gardens more wildlife-friendly to reducing waste and leading more sustainable lives.

One of the projects mentioned in the report is Naturehood, an urban community wildlife project partly based in Swindon being delivered by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust in partnership with Earthwatch. The project focuses on reversing wildlife decline and enables those living in urban areas such as Penhill and Tadpole Garden Village to take positive action to help stop the decline of species and learn more about local ecosystems.

To find out more about the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s work, visit


Chris Noyce

Communications Manager, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Tel: 01380 736093

E-mail: [email protected]