Call for bonfire wildlife checks
The UK’s leading gardening charity and the Cheshire Wildlife Trust are asking bonfire night revellers to look out for wildlife before they light the blue touch paper this year.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have joined forces with the Wildlife Trust to highlight the fact that a guy may not be the only thing at risk on bonfires this 5 November.
Whilst many gardeners are aware of that well-known prickly resident the hedgehog making a home in the traditional pile of wood and leaves, its believed many gardeners are less familiar with creatures such as toads, newts and frogs taking up residence before the Guy Fawkes festivities.
Tom Marshall from Cheshire Wildlife Trust said “Most of us know that hedgehogs like to roll up for a winter siesta in our bonfires, but we’re not as thoughtful about other creatures that also have a crucial role to play in our gardens.
“Toads, frogs and newts are perfect predators for those garden visitors we’re less keen to have around, so we should all make sure they’re not joining the party unannounced and becoming unsuspecting victims”.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust advises that wherever possible, bonfires should be constructed on the day of lighting or gathered materials regularly moved in the days leading up to bonfire night so wildlife cannot take up residence.
By providing permanent ‘wild’ areas of log piles, leaves and even purpose-built hedgehog houses, the chance of wildlife heading into temporary bonfire structures is also reduced.
Tom Marshall added: “By following a few simple tips and having a last minute check with a torch for any wildlife gate-crashers, we can all have a fun and safe bonfire night.”
The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS are jointly running the Big Wildlife Garden competition. How gardeners help protect wildlife in their gardens will be one of the considerations taken into account by the judges. Gardeners interested in entering can do so by visiting www.bigwildlifegarden.org.uk
You can also see the latest tips on keeping wildlife safe this bonfire night at Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s new Facebook page.