All around the UK, our councils, nature conservation organizations and local wildlife groups try to ensure that we protect our green spaces to provide a habitat to mammals, reptiles and birds and perhaps, less obviously, to the insects and invertebrates that are vital for our environment and our own existence.
Speaking today Alex Easton MLA said:
“There is a lot more wildlife living in Bangor than people realize with foxes, hedgehogs and even Badgers being an example all seen first hand by myself. These are something that we should cherish and indeed the Council should help to encourage
There are many ways in which animals have adapted to the urban lifestyle. Resilient and generalist species tend to do best in our urban jungles and their adaptations often make them different from their countryside counterparts.
Trees and other vegetation also provide a range of beneficial effects. They are natural temperature coolers which can help to reduce the spike in summertime city temperatures caused by the urban heat island effect. Trees cool the air around them by shading and evapotranspiration, whilst at the same time providing food and shelter for other wildlife. Planting trees and vegetation to act as a natural barrier is also a great way to reduce noise pollution in areas where heavy traffic and residential housing meet. They can also help to remove pollution from the atmosphere.
Ultimately, wildlife is good for our well-being. Studies have increasingly shown the benefits that nature brings. Nature has been proven to reduce hypertension, respiratory illnesses, improve vitality and mood, benefit issues of mental well-being such as anxiety and restore attention capacity and mental fatigue.
To attract wildlife into urban spaces we need to design the space to adequately meet the animal’s needs. For example, planting a range of flowers to attract bees and butterflies (cotoneaster and buddleia are good urban growing examples), night-scented plants for bats, shrubs that flower throughout the year and evergreen trees to attract a diverse range of wildlife and provide shelter and nesting options for mammals, birds and insects.
Joining up green areas is key to sustaining wildlife. Having green spaces in an urban area is great, but wildlife is more likely to flourish if there is a connected network of habitats rather than isolated patches. Every little bit of green helps, so embrace our urban wildlife as it may be the only chance we have to protect these animals for the future.”