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Wildlife in the UK: Farming and protecting native species (how any farmer can have a positive impact)

Wildlife in the UK: Farming and protecting native species (how any farmer can have a positive impact)

Our United Kingdom is blessed with a rich variety of native wildlife, from iconic mammals like the red squirrel, red deer and hedgehog to iconic birds like the red kite and puffin. The preservation of these native species can be challenging with our rapidly changing environment. As we strive to protect and restore our natural heritage, it's essential to understand both the unique biodiversity of the UK and how agriculture can exist side by side. 

Modern developments and threats 

Our nature and wildlife has been historically closely connected to farming, and it has been shaping our country side over thousands of years. Feeding families and providing sustainable economic growth over many generations. However the expansion of agricultural lands can lead to the conversion of natural habitats such as forests, meadows, and wetlands into crop fields or pastureland. This reduces the available habitat for wildlife, leading to declines in biodiversity. A big factor which causes challenges for wildlife is fragmentation due to urbanisation and infrastructure, making it difficult for wildlife to find suitable areas for feeding, breeding, and shelter. 

Additionally invasive species can cause many problems over time. For instance non-native species like the grey squirrel, American mink, and Japanese knotweed outcompete native wildlife for resources, disrupt ecosystems, and spread diseases, posing a significant threat to biodiversity. Control measures targeting invasive species, such as trapping, culling, and biosecurity protocols, aim to reduce their impact on native biodiversity and restore ecological balance.

How we can contribute

We like to think we can contribute our part towards building a strong and resilient environment for both farmers as well as wildlife. We aim to assist our partners in achieving their sustainability objectives. But you may be wondering how this all relates to what we do. Electric fencing can be an effective tool for wildlife protection in several ways. Electric fences are often used to keep wild animals out of areas where they could hurt themselves or cause damage or pose risks to human safety, such as agricultural fields, livestock areas, or residential properties. By creating a physical barrier that gives a mild electric shock upon contact, these fences deter animals such as foxes or deer without causing serious harm, thereby reducing conflicts between wildlife and humans. 

Electric fencing is also used to control the movement of invasive species. For example, it can be used to contain wild boar, which are not native to the UK and can cause significant damage to the environment and native species habitats. Fencing off areas for wild boar makes them less of a threat for native wildlife. 

Some of our partners are organisations for the protection of wildlife reserves and conservation areas. And we ourselves are big proponents of habitat restoration in certain areas. There are great initiatives to restore degraded habitats, create wildlife corridors, and establish protected areas help conserve native species and enhance ecosystem resilience against environmental threats. For instance the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which is a charitable organisation in the UK that works for the conservation of birds and their habitats, focusing on various environmental and conservation efforts even beyond just birds.This organisation collaborates with farmers and organisations to develop landscapes abundant in wildlife friendly nature. These partnerships across various business sectors are crucial, as they significantly benefit wildlife and enhance people's wellbeing. 

Our electric fences are utilised to manage the areas more effectively. They help in keeping certain wildlife within protected boundaries and safeguarding them from external threats like poachers or domestic animals that might disturb the habitat. Although technically not poaching, illegal activities like badger baiting and aspects of fox hunting continue to be issues in the UK. Foxes more often enter populated areas where they causes damage and mess when they open bin bags. Read more on how to deter foxes from your property. 

Barbed wire and conventional wire fencing can be detrimental to wildlife due to their potential to cause physical injuries and impede natural movements. Animals can become entangled or injured by the sharp barbs of barbed wire, leading to severe wounds or even death. Electric fencing, in contrast, offers a less harmful alternative by deterring animals with shocks that do not cause physical harm, and it can be adjusted or removed as necessary to minimise ecological impact. Additionally, traditional fencing often blocks entire areas, preventing non threatening animals like hedgehogs to be blocked in their way.

Our fencing is also used to protect endangered species within conservation areas or sanctuaries. For example, they can enclose a habitat to keep poachers out and protect species at risk from illegal hunting. Similarly, electric fences can be used to contain species within a conservation area to prevent them from wandering into unsafe territories. In some cases, electric fences are used to manage and control the movement of wildlife within larger ecosystems. This can help in maintaining the balance of natural habitats by preventing certain species from overgrazing or dominating an area, thus promoting biodiversity. Electric fences can be installed along roadways to prevent wildlife from entering onto roads, reducing the risk of accidents involving vehicles. This not only saves animal lives but also enhances road safety for drivers. 

Monitoring your pasture, fields or forrests

Wildlife cameras, or trail cameras, are extensively utilised in the UK for conservation and research purposes. These cameras offer a non-invasive way to monitor and study elusive and nocturnal species, allowing researchers to observe animal behaviours without human interference. 

Need assistance with wildlife fencing? Please get in touch with our customer service team, we are happy to help.