Wildlife trust’s plea to save Yorkshire barn owls

Barn owls.
Barn owls.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has launched a campaign to save barn owls in Yorkshire.

A century ago, barn owls were a common sight, but a loss of feeding habitat and nesting sites has caused a long term decline and this has been accelerated by the severe winter weather in the last few years.

Dr Rob Stoneman, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Many farmers and landowners should be applauded for doing their bit to help protect barn owls and other wildlife as this is making a difference. “Nevertheless, 97% of lowland grasslands have been lost in the last 60 years so there is still much more to do”.

Now Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the other 46 local Wildlife Trusts in the UK are calling on Government to save our remaining wildlife-rich grasslands.

The Trusts want to see these vital habitats better protected, with farmers and landowners better supported and rewarded for managing wildlife-rich grasslands. They also call for greater restoration of existing grassland habitats across the UK.

Wildlife-rich grasslands not only support what few barn owls are left in the UK, but also provide great benefits to society. They are vital resources for bees and other pollinators which we rely on for food production. Grasslands also secure soils, enabling landscapes to hold and filter water which helps to prevent flooding and pollution.

Stephen Trotter, The Wildlife Trusts’ Director for England, says: “The Government is currently making decisions on how it will implement the greening measures of the Common Agricultural Policy and how it will target grants to farmers in the future. We are calling on Ministers to take full account of the value of our remaining wildlife-rich grasslands and the threats they face as they make these decisions.”

The Wildlife Trusts are calling for a full review of existing protection for environmentally important grasslands; to support this sign their online petition here: www.wildlifetrusts.org/dontfadeaway.

For more information about Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s campaign to save Yorkshire’s barn owls see their website: www.ywt.org.uk/barnowl.