Families can join in the fun to become Junior Wetland Rangers at seven of our WWT Wetland Centres this summer holiday.
A fungus discovered in an old Victorian gunpowder store at WWT Castle Espie has been revealed as a completely new species – and named Gibellula Bangbangus by BBC Springwatch viewers. The parasitic fungus was found growing on a cave spider by WWT volunteer Jonathan Clark during filming for Winterwatch, which came from Castle Espie earlier in the year. Since then, a DNA test carried out on the fungus by Dr Harry Evans from CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International) has identified the species as completely new to science. This was revealed on Springwatch this week, with viewers being asked to help name the strange new species. Although many viewers suggested ‘Gibellula Clark’ after the volunteer who discovered the fungus, last night it was revealed that the fungus would be known as Gibellula Bangbangus, in honour of its discovery in a gunpowder store. The unusual fungus parasitizes the host cave spider controlling the spider’s central nervous system, guiding the spider to the top of the cave where the fungus then releases its spores. In addition to the fungi’s ability to control the spider’s brain it produces antibodies that weaken its immune system whilst protecting the host from infection. This may have significant use in medical research with samples now being stored in the same facility as the original penicillin culture. The closest genetic relatives to the fungus are found only in Asia raising questions as to how this fungus found its way to the old Victorian gunpowder store at Castle Espie to evolve into a species new to science. Manager of Castle Espie, Paul Stewart said “It’s a mystery how this new species got here to evolve in the microclimate of the gunpowder store at Castle Espie. “Perhaps it came here via gun powder or its packaging material in the 19th Century or perhaps it’s an example of convergent evolution and a remnant from our subtropical distant past. Either way it’s a world first here in Northern Ireland and I hope the discovery yields a positive benefit.”
WWT has joined forces with a new cross-party group of parliamentarians and Wildlife and Countryside Link on the toxic impact of lead ammunition pollution.
On 7th June 2022 the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Wetlands, chaired by Slimbridge MP Siobhan Baillie, held its first in-person meeting.
England’s second sNNR has been declared in Somerset by Natural England on the 70th anniversary of the creation of national nature reserves.
On Friday 6 May the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as part of the UK REACH process, has published its dossier or ‘report’ with recommendations on restricting the use of all lead ammunition over all types of landscape in England, Scotland and Wales.
WWT supporters can raise funds to protect and restore wetlands by joining a new, nationwide sponsored walk called the Big Green Hike.
A report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reinforced the importance of restoring and creating wetland habitats, such as saltmarsh, in order to combat climate change as well as deliver multiple other benefits.
The RSPB and WWT are advocating new legislation to end the use of lead shotgun ammunition for shooting game animals in the UK. The availability of effective and comparably priced non-lead ammunition for shotgun shooters means there should be no real prac
WWT has appointed Ollie Olanipekun and Nadeem Perera of Flock Together as the charity’s first ambassadors.
Prices for WWT membership are increasing from April 2022. This was not an easy decision, but after freezing prices during the global pandemic to support members, we need to make this change now to ensure the continuity of our conservation work.
The UK Government has today announced major new proposals to help meet its ambitions to halt the loss of nature and restore species by 2030. The announcements include proposed new targets to improve water quality and increase species abundance, and the publication of a new Nature Recovery Green Paper which proposes to overhaul how areas including some of our best wetlands are protected for nature. These proposals follow the passing of the landmark Environment Act in November 2021 and are designed to drive action by successive governments to protect and enhance our natural world. WWT broadly welcomes the proposals. Tom Fewins, Head of Policy & Advocacy, comments: “Wetlands are one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats, providing homes and places to rest for many endangered species. However, they are also under pressure and in the UK we have lost 90% of our wetlands. Small wonder we face a biodiversity crisis and are one of the most nature-depleted nations on Earth. “We welcome the UK Government’s ambition to halt and reverse the loss of our wildlife, however this must be matched by action. We rely upon many of the goods and services that wetlands provide, from drinking water to flood protection, and if we want to enjoy these in the future we need healthy, functioning wetlands. “This means affording our most precious wetland sites - many of which are Ramsar wetland sites of international importance - the very best level of protection, with a comprehensive set of legally-based designations. It means ensuring our wetlands are managed wisely so that their resources – be it water or wildlife - are used sustainably. And perhaps most crucially, it means restoring some of what we have lost. If the Government really wants to reverse the catastrophic loss of species there is no better way than to embrace WWT’s proposals for a ‘Blue Recovery’ and support our efforts to create and restore 100,000 hectares of wetlands.” In the coming months, WWT will be responding to the Government’s proposals, urging it to go further and faster in supporting efforts to create and restore wetlands. To help us campaign for 100,000 hectares of wetlands in the UK, you can sign our Wetlands Can! pledge. With your support, we will campaign for change and urge the UK government to prioritise and invest in more wetlands.
On 4th March, his Royal Highness The Prince of Wales met a group of leading organisations working with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).
On 4th March, WWT's Patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, visited Slimbridge to celebrate our charities 75th anniversary.
News on World Wildlife Day that 35 of the world’s rarest ducks have been successfully released into the wild has highlighted the pivotal role these birds play in our ambitious project to restore wetlands in Madagascar.