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Chris Packham calls on people to petition government minister over plight of wildlife

PUBLISHED: 10:39 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:39 23 July 2018

Chris Packham at Lakenheath Fen. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

Chris Packham at Lakenheath Fen. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

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TV presenter Chris Packham called on people to get behind his campaign to improve the plight of wildlife by petitioning Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Chris Packham at Lakenheath Fen. Picture: RUSSELL COOKChris Packham at Lakenheath Fen. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

He pleaded with them to sign specially printed postcards to send to the minister and to also join the People’s Walk for Wildlife, to be held in London, on September 22.

He was at the RSPB Lakenheath Fen nature reserve yesterday to convey his message as part of his UK wide “bioblitz” campaign to assess wildlife found in 50 spots around the country.

At each location experts and members of the public have been carrying out a “bioblitz” and recording all the wildlife found in a short period of time to get a snapshot of how nature is doing.

And prior to his visit, where he had a waiting audience of up to 100 people, he warned that an “enormous volume of pesticides” used by farmers is also damaging wildlife.

Chris Packham at Lakenheath Fen. Picture: RUSSELL COOKChris Packham at Lakenheath Fen. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

He said farmland birds, butterflies and bees have all suffered significant declines in numbers due to pesticides, while wildflower meadows have largely vanished from the countryside.

He has called for urgent action to reverse the problems, including more incentives and practical schemes for farmers.

Mr Packham said farmers “are very good” at turning around declines in the countryside, but warned not a sufficient number of land managers were undertaking conservation efforts across a broad enough area.

He told people at Lakenheath: ““It’s time for us act, to stand up and be counted and to ask politely for things to be fixed. We know about the declines and in that time we’ve evolved an arsenal of techniques and abilities to repair and restore, conserve, rebuild these environments - we’re just not doing it. Therefore, we’ve got to make it happen.

Chris Packham at Lakenheath Fen. Picture: RUSSELL COOKChris Packham at Lakenheath Fen. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

“Its not a demonstration, it’s not a rally, it’s a polite, passive walk for wildlife. We certainly want lots of young people there - children, students, tomorrow’s generation who we want to enjoy the riches we enjoy.”

In the postcard to Mr Gove it says people have grave concerns about the health of the UK’s countryside where there is a decline in species and habitats reaching critical levels.

It now needs the introduction of new initiatives and ideas in conservation with a major rethink on farming policies.

He said it was lovely to visit Lakenheath to witness the massive changes made at the nature reserve.

“I am a fan of this place and remember coming here in 1986 and it was the one place to see golden orioles in the trees but they have been replaced over the years by marsh harriers, bearded tits and bitterns.

“Twenty years ago this was a field of carrots now it’s full of wildlife.

“It’s great to see so many young people here as they are the future but there are danger signs out there as most of our species are in danger of extinction.

“We are winning here but we are losing in other places.

“We have got to take action and I hope I see some of you in London in September,” he added.

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