Wildlife conservation

Wildlife cameraman goes on backyard safari in Deal
Stuck at home during lockdown, Richard Taylor-Jones swapped exotic creatures for garden wildlife.

Wildlife trust sees rise in fires and littering

One of the region's wildlife trusts says its reserves have experienced a larger number of fires, vandalism, an "unprecendented increase" in littering, and disturbance to habitats as a result of more people visiting as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Litter at Two Tree Island
Essex Wildlife Trust
Litter at Two Tree Island, between Canvey Island and Benfleet

Essex Wildlife Trust said some of its reserves "have taken a battering as the lifting of some lockdown rules coincides with warmer weather leading to a surge of people outdoors".

Among the desecration was a shot buzzard while a goose and a sheep were injured by an uncontrolled dog.

Wildflowers have also been trampled, including rare orchids and oxlips at Westwood and Shadwell Wood nature reserves.

Other incidents include:

  • Fires on open land at Langdon, Chafford, Woodham Fenn and Roding Valley
  • Suspected arson on a bird hide at Howlands Marsh
  • Windows were broken in at Chafford Gorges, gates ripped off their hinges at Langdon, fencing damaged at Oliver Road Lagoons and Two Tree Island

There has also been illegal fishing and camping at several reserves.

The Trust has issued a plea for visitors to respect reserves and follow its simple guidelines.

Fire-damaged grassland and Roding Valley Meadows
Essex Wildlife Trust
Fire-damaged grassland at Roding Valley Meadows, Chigwell