Bringing back threatened species
Nearly 60% of native British species have declined over the last 50 years. Of the 8,000 species assessed against Red List criteria, 15% are now extinct or on the brink of extinction in Britain. However, there is enormous potential to help our wildlife recover.
The area covered by the Stroud landscape project includes nationally threatened species like the Duke of Burgundy butterfly, greater and lesser horseshoe bats, adders, juniper and pasque flowers to name but a few.
Large Blue butterfly
As our ambitions grow and we improve the grassland habitat on the Commons, there is the potential for us to bring back some of the extinct species. The large blue butterfly sadly disappeared from the Commons about 70 years ago. When we have the conditions right we're looking into a possible reintroduction.
The Commons have the largest recorded number of juniper plants on one site in the Cotswolds. Untouched by development and intensive farming, the plants thrive. However, they're under constant threat from scrub and climate climate. We'll be sustaining this strong population by creating new seedling areas on new scrapes.
Beetles and bats
Over the past 20 years we've been removing conifers at Woodchester Park and returning the areas back to grassland. The areas are now grazed by cattle which provide the resident greater horseshoe bats with vital feeding grounds. The bats feed off insects and beetles found in the dung. Numbers of bats have doubled since we've been carrying out this habitat restoration work.
With the help from the Back from the Brink Project, we've been out surveying Rodborough Common for the rare Rugged Oil Beetle. Previous surveys have found them on other suitable habitats in the Cotswolds but as yet, there's no sign of them at Rodborough.
Even rarer is the Rock Rose Pot Beetle. It was last seen on Rodborough Common in the 1940s. We're hoping that the conservation work we're doing as part of the project will encourage them back.