Compilation - Wildlife Winners and Losers

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Duration: 1 hour

Ellie Harrison explores the plight of some of our most endangered animals. From water voles to wildcats, Ellie finds out what is being done to bring them back from the brink. She looks at plans to reintroduce big cats like the lynx, and finds out more about the beavers and wild boar already at large in the British countryside.

Ellie spends the day at a wildlife sanctuary in Kent, where she helps get the water voles ready for their winter health check. She ventures into the lair of a wild wolf pack, and she gets up close to a wildcat kitten that has already had a fight for life.

During her time at the sanctuary, Ellie looks back at some of the wildlife winners and losers that have featured on the programme in the past. These include Julia Bradbury's visit to the Yorkshire Dales to take perfect pictures of red squirrels in the snow, and Matt Baker's journey underground to see how old man-made caves are providing the perfect habitat for horseshoe bats.

There is also another look at John Craven's visit to the Lakes to see for himself the final chapter in the 20-year reintroduction of red kites.

  • Ellie visits Wildwood

    Ellie and wildcat

    Ellie Harrison visits the native animal park Wildwood, in Kent, to find out more about the UK’s home-grown animals both past and present and how they could feature in our plans for the future. Ellie meets head of the park Peter Smith to learn why beavers are the perfect habitat managers for waterways and helps to survey the park’s 250-strong water vole population. She then helps to feed wild boars in the woods and watches a lynx pounce on its dinner. Next, Ellie enters the wolf enclosure to try to get a feeling of what life could be like if they were allowed to roam free in Britain again. Then she meets a much less scary predator – a wildcat kitten, hand raised and crazy for the Countryfile soundman’s fluffy microphone!


    Find out more about Wildwood

  • Julia and the red squirrels

    Julia Bradbury

    Widdale is one of 17 red squirrel conservation reserves in the north of England. These squirrels are threatened by the American grey variety which has taken over their habitats in many parts of the UK. So, great efforts are being made by local people to help the red squirrels thrive and flourish. Julia Bradbury joins the newest group as it sees what can be done to make the reds feel at home. She also gets a lesson from a wildlife photographer. But can she snap more than a blurred tail as the bouncy creatures play in the snow?


    How can you help conserve red squirrels?

  • Releasing Red Kites

    Releasing Red Kites

    Over the past twenty years Countryfile has followed the Red Kites release project, one of the most ambitious species reintroduction programmes ever undertaken. Grizedale Forest is the setting for the birds’ final release in England. Red Kites were once a rare sight in the countryside but thanks to the hard work of organisations and volunteers the UK population is now at a level that should sustain itself for centuries to come. John Craven meets David Lowe and Iain Yoxall who are preparing the birds for their first taste of freedom.


    Get updates on the Grizedale Red Kites

  • Matt heads to the bat cave

    Matt Baker

    Matt Baker explores the vast quarry tunnel system under the coastal village of Beer in Dorset. He meets some of the caves’ current residents – hundreds of Horseshoe Bats – huddled together as they hibernate in the damp and dark spaces left empty when the quarry closed down.

  • James and the jewel of York

    James and the jewel of York

    James Wong visits York to find out why one of our native species of beetle is under threat. The Tansy Beetle, once widespread throughout the UK, is on the brink of extinction and now confined to just one small stretch of the River Ouse.  James learns about this precious beetle and meets a group of locals to see what they’re doing to preserve its remaining habitat.


    Find out more about the Tansy beetle

  • Matt and Julia’s butterfly search

    Matt and Julia's butterfly search

    Julia and Matt have got a challenge on their hands - to find an extremely rare butterfly called the Large Blue. They go searching in a part of the Cotswolds where there have been no reported sightings of this rare creature for around half a century. But there is hope thanks to the Large Blue Recovery Programme.  As usual with Matt and Julia it turns into a bit of competition. Both of them are determined to find the first one – but will either of them actually succeed?


    Find out more about the large blue on Radio 4’s Saving Species

  • Bring back the Lynx?

    Tom Heap

    The European Lynx used to be just as much a part of the British countryside as foxes or rabbits. They disappeared from our island more than a millennium ago, mainly because of hunting and deforestation. Now, as Tom Heap finds out, some conservationists are calling for these big cats to be reintroduced to Britain. They say it would help control deer numbers and restore the natural balance of the countryside.


    Find out more about the European Lynx

  • Durham little terns

    Once blackened by discarded and unworkable coal spoil, the beaches of Durham’s coast are now dramatic expanses of clean sand and pebbles perfect for a colony of little terns. Matt finds out how the voluntary warden team at Crimdon Dene nature reserve is helping this important population to prosper.


    Find out more about the little tern and places to see them around the UK


Ellie Harrison
Julia Bradbury
Matt Baker
John Craven
Series Producer
Teresa Bogan


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