Today is Earth Day which provides us with an opportunity to think about what we can do to lessen the impact of climate change and protect nature.
Biodiversity is the planet’s life support system. Restoring nature underpins the health and wellbeing of people and wildlife and is vital for our long-term survival.
One of the local species in our area which is in sharp decline is the adder. They are one of only three native snake species in the UK, which most people recognise due to the striking zig-zag pattern on their skin. This helps these private creatures camouflage in the grassy edges of the chalk downs.
Local conservation groups and our countryside team work hard to protect species like these but there is now deep concern locally and nationally that adder populations are on the brink of extinction. This is mainly due to habitat loss, and agricultural practices, and sometimes by just being killed.
Our rangers recently found a healthy male adder that had been deliberately killed with injuries consistent with being crushed or hit. It has been reported to the Sussex Wildlife and Crime Officer.
Help protect species in decline
Thankfully most people support local nature conservation and appreciate the nature and wildlife in and around Brighton & Hove. There are lots of ways to get involved. Check out our new biodiversity web pages to find out more.
Councillor Amy Heley, co-chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, said: “It’s truly shocking that adders are being killed deliberately like this and upsetting for people who care about our local wildlife.
“We’re very aware of the need to restore and create new habitats and make sure land management practices enable nature and wildlife to thrive. We’re taking this forward through our own policies, strategies and developments. For example, we’re looking to manage verges and grassland in a more wildlife-friendly way and creating opportunities for rewilding.”
City Nature Challenge
You can help protect and celebrate the city’s wildlife by taking part in this year’s City Nature Challenge, from 29 April to 2 May, by spotting and sharing your wildlife sightings from your doorsteps - windows, gardens, streets, or local parks.
You don’t have to be an expert or even know the name of the species you’ve seen. Just download the free iNaturalist app, take a picture of the nature you find, upload and share.
Your observations will support efforts to look after nature, parks, and green spaces where you live, and inform plans for tackling the ecological emergency in the UK.
To take part, visit The Living Coast City Nature Challenge web page.
More about adders
According to the UK Amphibian and Reptile Groups, adders are extremely sensitive to disturbance and their disappearance is often the first indication of environmental degradation. Conversely, if they remain present in good numbers, then we know that the ecosystem is in a healthy state.
Adders are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, making it a prosecutable offence to deliberately or intentionally kill or injure animals.
Find out more from the Sussex Amphibian and Reptile Group.