Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Digging Up the Facts on Garden Wildlife

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Digging Up the Facts on Garden Wildlife

Article excerpt

Byline: PETER GRUNER

ONE of the biggest and most comprehensive surveys into the capital's domestic garden wildlife is being launched today.

City and suburban gardens in the Greater London area, which combined are said to represent an area the size of the Isle of Wight, will be assessed to see how many of the most important creatures and plants are flourishing.

They include sparrows, robins, hedgehogs, frogs and stag beetles, some of which have recorded worrying declines in recent years.

Now, the London Wildlife Trust wants to find out why.

Among the latest casualty figures are sparrows, down 53 per cent in five years, and blackbirds, down 30 per cent, according to one study. The capital is said to have lost 90 per cent of its large ponds since the turn of the century through neglect, destruction and infill developments.

This has put common or garden frogs, toads and newts on a list of threatened creatures.

Stag beetles, once common, are in serious decline due to the loss of their natural habitats, mainly rotting wood stumps.

Ralph Gaines, the trust's head of conservation, said the survey would ask people to record frogs, hedgehogs, stag beetles, trees and a host of birds. …

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