A Celebration of Wildlife on World Wildlife Day by Keeping it Wild Trainee Sharnee

Walthamstow Wetlands Coppermill stream view credit Ian Phillips

World Wildlife Day (WWD) is the perfect time for you to discover more about wildlife.

This is a day to shed light on the problems our wildlife is facing, how it benefits us and what we can do to help it.

As World Wildlife Day (WWD) falls a few weeks before spring, you are guaranteed to see eager bulbs blooming, witness longer and brighter days, hear more birdsong and the buzzing of bees than even just a week before. It’s a welcome relief to be able to finish work and still have time to have a walk before the sun sets.

During lockdown we have been spending so much time indoors, nature and wildlife have become a sanctuary for many people. With the lifting of restrictions announced, it’s a beacon of hope that this summer will be filled with fantastic wildlife adventures. So why not start to discover wildlife in your city?  

Young red fox amongst daffodils, urban park,

Young red fox amongst daffodils, urban park, credit Bertie Gregory/2020VISION

WWD can be celebrated in as many ways as you see fit, it can be as simple as creating a bird feeder and having the birds and squirrels come to you, or going out to a new park or nature reserve you may not have known was in your area. 

London supports roughly 13,000 different species and is made up of approximately 47% green and blue spaces. At London Wildlife Trust (LWT) sites across the city there are many unique and fascinating creatures you can encounter. From the albino squirrel in the Great North Wood to the black-tailed godwit at Walthamstow Wetlands.

Black-tailed godwit

Black-tailed godwit credit Don Sutherland

This WWD I want to share with you some of the success stories of London and the UK’s wildlife: 

The Brilliant Butterflies project is working with locals in Croydon to restore grass chalkland, which is a rare habitat of the UK, to increase the local populations of small blue, grizzled skipper and brown hairstreak butterflies. A 2015 report showed that butterflies had declined by a whopping 76% in the last 40 years. Brilliant Butterflies is an opportunity for us to reverse the decline of grass chalkland species of butterflies and other insects. 

close up of a small blue butterfly

Small Blue - Steve Bolton

Red kites had been on the decline for over 200 years. By the 1980s they were a globally threatened species. In 1990 they began the reintroduction of the red kites, fast forward 30 years and we have roughly 1800 breeding pairs (7% of the world’s population) that is an amazing population recovery. 

Finally, Wild European bison are being introduced as part of a controlled trial in the Wilder Blean project by Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust to act as 'ecosystem engineers'.  The project will take place over the next few years in Blean woods near Canterbury in Kent.

I hope this has inspired you to do something for your local wildlife or discover more of the brilliant efforts of people to make a more diverse and exciting natural world. 

So whatever you do to celebrate World Wildlife Day, we hope you share your efforts and adventures with us at the Trust using the hashtag #wildlondon and by tagging @wild.london

Ways to bring wildlife to your garden or balcony:   

  • sow wildflowers  

  • make an insect house 

  • set up a bird feeder 

  • Plant pollinator-friendly flowers  

  • Put out a shallow dish of water for insects and birds  

Check out our Wildlife from your Window page for plenty of guides. 

Places to go and visit:

School group at Centre for Wildlife Gardening

Centre for Wildlife Gardening credit Magnus Andersson