WWT works across the UK and the world to save wetlands for wildlife and people
Wetlands, wildlife and people are interlinked. So if you want to save a beautiful wetland bird from extinction, you have to provide it with a wetland home. And to keep that wetland home, local people need to appreciate the value they get from the wetland so they don’t destroy it.
That’s why WWT is taking action to make wetlands places for people and wildlife.
Our work is rooted in high quality science and research, but we’ll use whatever’s to hand to get the job done. We’ve saved baby birds from extinction in cardboard boxes and ice cream tubs and scraped insects off our car windscreen to feed the baby chicks. It’s all in a day’s work at WWT.
Here’s just a few of the exciting projects made possible through the dedication of our supporters, volunteers and specialist staff.
Unforgettable Wetland Centre Experiences
Our Wetland Centres underpin our work. We create and maintain thousands of hectares of wetland habitat to support maximum biodiversity and protect struggling species like water voles and migratory geese. Being immersed in nature is good for us mentally and physically, as many studies have shown. So instead of fencing off our beautiful landscapes, we bring people and nature together through canoe safaris, electric boats, innovative hides and fascinating exhibits. We have resident collections of animals from wetlands around the world, you can even hand-feed the world’s rarest goose! A million visitors a year experience their own personal physical and spiritual connection with nature through simply enjoying a great day out.
Fewer than 100 pairs of this tiny bird remain in the wild, together weighing less than a single mute swan. WWT’s aviculturists, working in Far East Russia, have already boosted the number of fledglings by a quarter. We’re also working with partners to save the coastal wetlands on which the ‘spoonies’ rely, by showing people how important wetlands are for humans too. But saving wetlands takes time this tiny bird might not have. So we’re rearing a reserve flock in a biosecure facility at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre to ensure the species’ survival.
Steart Marshes Working Wetland
Britain’s iconic intertidal landscapes are slowly being lost to rising sea levels caused by climate change. To compensate for habitat loss, WWT has designed Britain’s biggest new wetland project at the Steart Peninsula at the mouth of the River Parrett. The 500 hectare reserve will support fish stocks and livestock grazing and protect local properties from flooding. We’ve carefully designed it to be a haven for a rich variety of wildlife. We’re also putting in paths and hides so people can enjoy the wildlife, and working with local schools and communities to share this vital part of their local landscape.
WWT is about bringing wetlands, wildlife and people together. More than 2.2 million school children have enjoyed a fun learning experience at our Wetland Centres across the UK. Thanks to the generous support of HSBC, we’re welcoming 60,000 pupils from disadvantaged areas to our Wetland Centres completely free of charge. As well as exploring our inspiring wetlands, pupils can take part in guided learning session outdoors: pond dipping, looking for birds, hunting for invertebrates, exploring wetland habitats and lots more.
This lovely little duck was thought to be extinct until a pocket of 22 survivors was discovered. WWT’s aviculturists have now increased the species’ numbers to more than 80. But we still need to fix the damage to wetlands that’s caused its catastrophic demise. Our wetland conservationists are working together with local communities to find ways of living that protect wetlands and the clean water, natural resources and flood protection they bring – for the benefit of Madagascar’s people as well as the pochard and other local wildlife.
SuDS for Schools
Many of the UK’s rivers flood because the wetlands around them have been built upon. Where the wetlands used to store rainwater, it now runs straight off tarmac and roofs and can overload our drains, streams and rivers. WWT’s wetland designers are working with schools and water companies to do something about this. We’re creating mini-wetland features in school grounds that solve the schools’ drainage needs and ease pressure on local streams. But most fun of all – the water goes into attractive features and ponds that brighten up the schools, benefit local wildlife and bring the children’s nature studies alive – literally!
Great Crane Project
Big, beautiful cranes died out in Britain 400 years ago due to loss of wetlands and, frankly, being a tasty dinner for our ancestors. Now WWT’s aviculturists, dressed in crane suits, are acting as parents and teaching survival skills to young cranes so this iconic species can be reintroduced into the west of Britain. Almost 100 youngsters have been released in Somerset, where partners are working with local landowners and communities to maintain wetland habitats to support a range of wildlife.
The Koshi Wetlands store floodwater running off Mount Everest before it reaches India. The amazing wildlife includes endemic fish, crocodiles and even a dolphin hundreds of miles from the sea! Thousands of people rely on the wetlands for drinking water, food and building their homes. But this is causing lots of damage and if the wetlands become polluted, or lost to development, everyone will lose the benefits. WWT and partner organisations have worked with the Koshi communities to find great solutions. For example local people are now removing damaging invasive plants and using them to make chemical-free compost and smokeless fuel for fires.