Moths and Bats under threat in the South East
October 2oth 2009
On Monday 19th October, Roger Gale Member of Parliament for North Thanet got up close and personal with some of Britain’s most threatened moths and bats. At an event held at the Houses of Parliament led by naturalist and broadcaster Nick Baker and leading conservationist Chris Baines, Mr. Gale heard that both moths and bats are in significant decline in the UK.
Since the late 1960s, in the southern regions of the country moths have declined by over 40 per cent. The south-east of England is one of the richest parts of Britain for moth diversity and supports a wide range of scarce and threatened species, such as the Marsh Mallow Moth on Romney Marsh and along the River Medway. Butterfly Conservation monitor all the sites for this species, in particular those on Romney Marsh and is currently working with land owners and site managers to ensure the long term survival of this scarce species and hope to create new stands of the species' foodplant, Marsh Mallow.
The fourth Moth and Bat Evening was hosted in conjunction with the Heritage Lottery Fund - one of the largest supporters of the UK’s natural heritage – along with Butterfly Conservation and the Bat Conservation Trust. The evening aimed to highlight the plight of these threatened creatures that are an essential part of the UK’s delicate eco-system. The futures of these two groups of species are entwined, with many bats relying on moths as part of their diet.
Roger Gale, Member of Parliament for North Thanet commented: “When thinking about sustainability and green issues, it is all too easy to focus on the global picture and forget that it is our local habitats and wildlife that are the building blocks to a healthy planet. It was wonderful to see these fascinating creatures, that we normally only watch from a distance, up close but it was saddening to learn how endangered, even in a rural county like Kent, they have become.
It is important that we act now and thanks to the hard work of local conservationists and volunteers and with the continued support of organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, Butterfly Conservation and the Bat Conservation Trust we can hopefully reverse the fortunes of local moth and bat populations for future generations to enjoy.”
Speaking on behalf of the HLF, leading environmentalist Chris Baines said: “Anyone who remembers the long lost summer ritual of scraping moths of car windscreens will realise how much their numbers have declined and what important environmental indicators they can be. Anyone concerned with the conservation of old buildings or veteran trees will know how often it is a threatened bat colony that provides the stay of execution. These are immensely important creatures and through their conservation the Heritage Lottery Fund is helping a great many people to participate in practical environmental action.”