Volunteers help TV star Chris Packham keep count of wildlife in Borders

TV presenter Chris Packham with John Muir Trust land manager Karen Purvis at the Glenlude estate, near Traquair, in July 2018.
TV presenter Chris Packham with John Muir Trust land manager Karen Purvis at the Glenlude estate, near Traquair, in July 2018.

Television presenter Chris Packham has been helping keep count of the wildlife to be found on a Borders estate.

The 57-year-old, one of the presenters of the BBC One nature programme Springwatch since 2009, called in at the Glenlude estate, near Traquair, as part of his UK Bioblitz campaign, the first independent audit of its kind to identify the number of species at 50 sites across the UK. The aims of the campaign are to identify species under threat and to raise money for projects to conserve or restore their habitats.

Dozens of John Muir Trust volunteers helped Hampshire-born Packham and his team identify 388 species during a survey of the 150-hectare site.

Trust land manager Karen Purvis said: “We were delighted to welcome Chris and his team to Glenlude and to assist with this fantastic project to get a better understanding of the state of nature across the UK.

“We do our own regular monitoring work focusing on specific species, but we’ve found this comprehensive snapshot incredibly helpful, and we’ve already discovered several new species we were unaware existed here.”

“It also gives us a great benchmark to measure progress on the estate, where we have a long-term project to bring back native woodland and its associated wildlife.”

Packham said: “The UK is home to remarkable and beautiful wildlife and some wonderful habitats, but it’s also in big trouble, and, in the case of some species, this means we are fast approaching the last chance to make a difference.

“I want the 2018 UK Bioblitz campaign to be a detailed and complete wildlife audit, a 10-day snapshot of the state of our wild places and what lives there.

“It will celebrate some conservation successes but also reveal some of its failures.

“It will show that nature reserves are not enough and it will prove we need a healthier wider environment.”

The TV star also carried out a nature survey at St Abb’s Head in Berwickshire during his travels.

For details, go to www.chrispackham.co.uk/chris-packhams-uk-bioblitz-2018