Nature in Wales is in crisis.
Wales is one of the most nature-depleted countries on the planet - we must stop pointing the finger at habitat loss around the world - and address our own impact.
Wales is ranked 224th out of 240 countries for biodiversity intactness - and it is time to act
The truth is, this statistic would come as a surprise to most people living in Wales. When we consider biodiversity loss around the world, our minds turn towards tropical deforestation in the Amazon, or expanding urbanisation. We don't like to consider our own impact - it is uncomfortable and poses difficult questions.
For too long in this country nature has been marginalised; contained within nature reserves. It has become an activity; to visit nature, as one would the cinema, or a museum. We observe our landscapes and expect nothing more - perhaps because we feel powerless, or feel that this is how things are meant to be.
Whereas many people & communities in Wales desperately try to do their bit, the reality is that broadly speaking we leave nature to the conservationists to look after. We expect so little from our landscapes, and this apathy has caused a rapid decline in native species in recent decades.
These declines have been brought to light by the State of Nature report in 2019. This report was complied by the 50 leading conservation organisations in the UK - and it did not paint a positive picture. Below are some of the key findings for Wales.
Curlew have declined by more than 68% since 1995 - in large part due to the draining of almost all of our wetland habitats which are the feeding ground of curlew.
Species like water vole and red squirrel that were once common in our landscapes, are now virtually extinct.
Birds like corn bunting and turtle doves have disappeared from Welsh skies - with the latter having already shown a remarkable recovery at a rewilding site in England.
Butterflies have declined by 52% since 1976.
Species that require specialist habitat like the High-Brown Fritillary have declined by over 75%.
More than 30% of land mammal species are at risk of disappearing altogether in Wales.
Photo credits in order - Otter (Scotland: The Big Picture), Pine Marten (Scotland: The Big Picture), Curlew (Scotland: The Big Picture), Water Vole (Scotland: The Big Picture), Turtle Dove (Shutterstock), Butterfly (Shutterstock), Hedgehog (Shutterstock)