Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner writes:

This week the Mammal Society published ‘A Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals’ which contained quite a lot of good news.

Otters are back in decent numbers, polecats and pine martens are increasing in range. Beavers and wild boar have been reintroduced.

There are losers as well, but interestingly most suffer from predation or competition from other mammal species. The red squirrel is threatened by the grey, water voles are predated by mink, wildcats are close to extinction because of illicit affairs and hybridisation with domestic cats, hedgehogs suffer at the claws of the burgeoning badger population, whilst the black rat has been out competed by its brown cousin and eradicated by man.

What was very notable in the coverage of this report, however, was the relentless negativity with which the research was reported. 

There are undoubtedly concerns about parts of the natural world. Many woodland and farmland bird species are in decline, insect numbers have dropped and many of our rivers are suffering from pollution. As this study shows, however, not all the news is bad and there are reasons for optimism.


Lapwing are breeding successfully with the right habitat and predator control. Black grouse thrive on the fringe of well managed grouse moors. These successful models, and many others, can be rolled out across the country. It is rational to be optimistic when there are such positive examples of conservation success.

Read the full article here

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