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Surprising results in garden wildlife survey

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: April 25, 2014

  • Common toad

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MORE than half of people in Ashbourne see frogs in their gardens on a monthly basis – but other wildlife is in serious decline, according to the latest wildlife survey.

This year, for the first time in the 36-year history of the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch survey, participants were asked to tell the organisation about the other wildlife that visits their gardens throughout the year, including common frogs, red and grey squirrels, badgers and hedgehogs.

Almost half a million people across the country took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch and most of them supplied extra information on the other garden wildlife they have seen.

According to the results, grey squirrels were the most common garden visitors, with more than 72% of people in Derbyshire seeing them in their gardens at least once a month.

Hedgehogs were seen regularly in less than a third of gardens and their populations have declined by around 30%, since the millennium.

Low numbers of badgers were also reported – with fewer than 15% saying they see them on a monthly basis and 64% having never seen them.

When not hibernating, the common frog takes the lead as the most abundant garden amphibian, according to the results.

More than half of people in the area see a common frog in their gardens at least monthly and, when it comes to toads, 33% of people see them monthly.

Last year, 25 wildlife organisations, including the RSPB, released the groundbreaking State of Nature report revealing 60% of the wildlife species studied have declined over recent decades.

Many garden favourites were among the creatures shown by the survey to be in serious trouble – these included starlings and hedgehogs, as well as some butterflies and ladybirds.

All are in danger of further decline unless more is done to provide better habitats.

Daniel Hayhow, RSPB conservation scientist, said: "This massive survey shows how important our gardens are for the amazing variety of wildlife living there.

"This is the start of something big and very important.

"In a few years' time we'll be able to compare how the distribution of garden wildlife may have changed.

"Hopefully, the fact that more people are helping to give nature a home in their gardens will mean we see improvements rather than declines."

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