Northern Ireland

Chris Packham on tour of north's habitats to highlight wildlife plight

Many young people have been getting involved in the UK Bioblitz tour
Many young people have been getting involved in the UK Bioblitz tour

TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham is on a tour of habitats in Northern Ireland to highlight how our wildlife is under threat.

The broadcaster has warned that habitats across the UK are "in big trouble" and has appealed for the public's help in reversing the decline.

Among the sites visited by Mr Packham yesterday were An Creagan in Co Tyrone and Murlough National Nature Reserve, near Newcastle, as part of a 10-day UK Bioblitz tour.

The project involves scientists, naturalists and members of the public working together to find as many species as possible within a set location and over a defined time period.

Mr Packham, best known for his role on the BBC2 Springwatch series, aims to investigate the extent to which wildlife species are under threat and to meet and raise money for the local projects working on the conservation of wildlife habitats.

At Murlough yesterday - the best and most extensive example of dune heath within Ireland with more than 720 species of butterflies and moths - crowds of people came together to help in the search, including many children.

Mr Packham said it is an opportunity for young people to become engaged with the natural world to inspire them to conserve and protect it as they grow up.

"I love learning and seeing new places and species but I fear that I will also bear witness to a landscape in huge trouble," he said.

"I want to spread an awareness of the successes and failures and to raise some money to help combat the latter.

"And to encourage people, particularly young people to come out and see the beauty for themselves - to touch it, smell it, feel it.

"If just one youngster learns to love life then it will all be worthwhile. This is not a 'last chance see' this is a big chance to make a difference before it’s too late."