Thursday, May 30, 2024

Threatened rare animal gets helping hand from government funding

The rare and endangered Crystal Moss-animal, living in just one place in Lincolnshire, is set to benefit from efforts to boost its recovery as part of a new nationwide project.

The Lincolnshire project is one of 63 across England to be awarded a share of £14.5m by Natural England to help recover 150 species nationwide.

The Crystal Moss-animal, commonly known as the bellflower animal, is a rare bryozoan (an aquatic invertebrate animal); one of just eleven such species of bryozoa in Britain.

The recovery project on Greater Lincolnshire’s Blow Wells will be delivered by Lincolnshire County Council’s Lincolnshire Chalk Stream Project, and aims to identify the ecological requirements of this species to help establish new populations.

This project will contribute towards this species population recovery through increased knowledge, monitoring and engagement; helping to establish a more resilient population of Crystal Moss-animal in Greater Lincolnshire.

The Species Recovery Programme Grant Scheme supports targeted action to recover our most endangered species. The funding will support efforts to fine tune habitat conditions for our rarest species, and actions such as propagation, captive rearing, translocations, research and solution-trialling to find the best approaches to enable endangered wildlife to survive and thrive.

David Amuzu, of Natural England in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, said: Our rare and endangered species are facing extreme pressures and it is important we work together to take action to prevent further decline.

“Little is known as to why the Crystal Moss-animal is only found in one of Greater Lincolnshire’s Blow well sites. We are delighted to support this project to gain understanding and boost the long term prospects of this internationally important species.”

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said: “Nature is in drastic decline all around us, with England now one of the most nature depleted countries in Earth. Many once common animals and plants are much reduced with some 15 percent of species at risk of becoming extinct here.

“It’s a dire situation, but can still be turned around. We know this because we’ve seen the population of the once endangered Bittern rise dramatically, the recovery of the Fen Raft Spider and Water Voles successfully reintroduced to areas from where they had previously been lost. The partnership projects we are highlighting today demonstrate the power of collaborative action to reverse species decline and we look forward to seeing positive practical progress as a result of the investments being made”.

The money has been awarded following a competitive application round, and will be used by environmental charities, wildlife organisations, local authorities and charities in projects across the country.

The projects will help deliver the Nature Recovery Network, creating, improving and connecting more wildlife-rich areas benefitting people and helping species to thrive.

The projects will also provide new opportunities for people to experience the wellbeing benefits of accessing the natural world, and help build resilience to climate change, while sustaining the vital ecosystems that provide us with healthy soil, clean air and water.

Improving strongholds for wildlife and investing in long-term species recovery will help achieve the government’s pledge to reduce the species extinction by 2042 compared to 2022 levels, restore more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat, and increase species abundance as set out in the Environmental Improvement Plan.


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