Froglife have been given some exciting new funding from WREN, and we’re using the grant to launch a new urban pond project in Scotland. Similar schemes have already been a great success in Cambridgeshire and London through our Living Water projects. More than a third of the UK’s ponds have disappeared in the past 50 years, and 80 per cent of those that remain are in poor condition. But WREN’s funding for charity Froglife means ponds in urban areas in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire can now be introduced and rejuvenated.
Outnumbered star Daniel Roche has launched the latest round of WREN grants from a £10million biodiversity fund, with a little help from one of his favourite creatures – a toad.
The child actor, who plays mischievous Ben in the hit BBC show, got up close and personal with the amphibian after funding group WREN announced ten projects are to receive cash from its Biodiversity Action Fund (BAF). The money will protect vital habitats for Britain’s wildlife and includes £200,000 for Froglife to create and restore urban ponds.
10-year-old Daniel, who is about to start filming a new BBC series of Just William, said it was brilliant being eyeball to eyeball with an amphibian.
“I like frogs and toads. The best thing about them is the way they get huge when they puff up their chin. That really makes me laugh. Also it is amazing to watch a tadpole turn into a frog in front of your eyes, the way their legs appear and then all of a sudden they are fully grown almost overnight.”
Mum Judy said he shared a real love of animals with his character Ben. “He’s naturally inquisitive about wildlife and loves being outdoors. Daniel is animal mad. In a recent interview, he decided if he was Prime Minister for the day, he would ban animal cruelty.” she said.
The large-scale urban pond creation project north of the border in Glasgow will restore a stronghold environment for many nationally protected pond species. It will also give children living in urban areas the rare chance to get up close to creatures like frogs and toads – once common sights in our gardens and parks.
Kathy Wormald, chief executive of Froglife, said WREN’s funding will directly increase the amphibian population of Scotland by restoring and introducing priority habitats.
“The UK’s frog, toad and newt population is under threat as ponds decline at a dramatic rate,” she added.
“In the UK more than one third of ponds have disappeared in the latter half of the last century and most of those that remain are thought to be in ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ condition. We campaign to do everything possible to restore these habitats so that children, like Daniel, can continue to learn about these precious British creatures.”
Former environment minister and renowned conservation expert, Baroness Young, is chair of WREN’s BAF panel. Baroness Young added; “2010 is the official International Year of Biodiversity, an important time to highlight the serious biodiversity issues that the UK faces. Funding from WREN and the Landfill Communities Fund is playing a key role in hitting Biodiversity Action Plan targets and is restoring rich, vibrant, precious habitats throughout the UK, helping diverse species like water voles, bitterns, butterflies and of course frogs and toads, to survive and thrive.”
Find out more about Froglife's current work in Scotland at http://www.froglife.org/scotland/
Photo (c) Geoff Caddick/Press Association