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A new wildlife hero is born

Last modified: 11 July 2013

Calf at Pulborough

Image: The RSPB

The RSPB has been giving nature a home at their West Sussex nature reserve for 20 years and it has become an important refuge for threatened wildlife such as the nightingale, a famous evening songster, beautiful acrobatic lapwings, and strange but special nightjars.

But this work would not be possible without the help of a team of enthusiastic volunteers and the resident herd of highland cattle. And the ranks of this team of wildlife heroes have been swollen over the last couple of weeks by the birth of three highland calves, including an unusual white one.

The cattle at Pulborough Brooks play an important role in the habitat management on the reserve; grazing the wet meadows to create a mosaic of grassland that is ideal for breeding lapwings and the flocks of ducks like wigeon who arrive to enjoy our relatively balmy winters.

They also do a great job on the newer heathland area, keeping the bramble and birch under control, allowing the heather to regenerate and encouraging special heathland wildlife like nightjars and green tiger beetles.

Anna Allum, Visitor officer, says: “Visitors can see our new team members as they explore the nature trail, and not only are they incredibly useful, they are also incredibly cute! The calves will soon be joining the rest of the herd out on the meadows, so they’ll be working hard to help us save threatened wildlife straight away. But you don’t need a herd of highland cattle to help wildlife - you can help give nature a home too.”

Last month the RSPB launched their new campaign Giving Nature a Home, urging individuals and families from West Sussex and across the nation to act for nature in their own gardens.

The conservation charity’s campaign comes after 25 wildlife organisations, including the RSPB, released the groundbreaking State of Nature report, which revealed that 60 per cent of the wildlife species studied, including garden favourites like starlings, hedgehogs and some butterflies, has declined over recent decades. And they are in danger of further declines unless more is done to provide better habitats.

The Giving Nature a Home website will give everyone access to expert advice about helping nature in any outside space – whether it’s a huge garden or a small planting tub on a balcony – at rspb.org.uk/homes 

RSPB Pulborough Brooks Visitor Centre is open daily, with nature trails, gift shop, information area, toilets and café which serves lunch from 12 noon – 2.30 pm and cakes all day. For further information on the reserve, contact the visitor centre on 01798 875851, or email pulborough.brooks@rspb.org.uk. The reserve is located off the A283 between Pulborough and Storrington

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