Sir David warns of 'animal erosion'

The "escalating erosion of wildlife" from the planet is a direct threat to people's quality of life, naturalist Sir David Attenborough has warned.

Sir David Attenborough says there is 'escalating erosion of wildlife' from the planet
Sir David Attenborough says there is 'escalating erosion of wildlife' from the planet

But everyone from individual members of the public to business magnates and politicians has an opportunity to help save nature, he said ahead of a major conference on the crisis facing the natural world.

Organisers said the Conference for Nature in London will bring together politicians led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, industry figures and conservation and countryside groups to find "game-changing" solutions to the crisis.

Ahead of the event, Sir David said: "From the food we eat to the popular bedtime stories we read to our children, nature touches everyone's lives more deeply than we can possibly imagine.

"The escalating erosion of wildlife from our planet is a direct threat to many facets of our own quality of life.

"Because of the complex relationship society has with nature, it is obvious that our response to saving it must extend from every possible quarter too.

"From you and I in our own domains, from business magnates to politicians, and from farmers to faith leaders, everyone has an opportunity to save nature.

"With an increasing global footprint, mankind is intensifying the crisis for wildlife, but as individuals we can all be part of the solution for saving it too."

Last year, the UK's major conservation groups published the State of Nature report, which revealed that 60% of assessed native species were in decline and one in 10 were heading for extinction in the country.

Mike Clarke, RSPB chief executive, said: "Last year's State of Nature conference set out the context for the devastating declines in some of our best-loved species, such as the turtle dove, common toad and Atlantic salmon.

"However, saving these and other threatened species requires inventive solutions and creative partnerships with many sectors, underpinned by a meaningful commitment from government. This conference is the platform for all to come together and achieve just that."

National Trust director-general Helen Ghosh said: "The evidence that nature is in trouble is overwhelming. Our challenge is to find radical and practical solutions to restore the health of our natural environment, which we know is loved by people across the UK."

And Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts, said: "As a country, we are experiencing increasing levels of obesity and diabetes, and one in four of us will suffer with our mental health at some point in our lives.

"Active contact with nature can help prevent and cure these health problems so we need to help our natural environment to recover and get back in touch with it.

"That's a big change and society will only prosper when genuine political leadership is shown on this issue."

The conference, which will hear from Sir David and other delegates, has been organised by the State of Nature Partnership, a coalition of 26 organisations including the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife.