by ANTONY CLAY
A TOP TV doctor is urging people to look after the health of the natural world – and build A&E facilities for insects!
Dr Amir Khan, who appears on Channel 5’s GPs Behind Closed Doors, is also a keen conservationist and has joined forces with two leading UK wildlife charities.
Together they are urging people to become ‘Nature Doctors’ in their own gardens by planting for pollinators this year.
They say that homes for butterflies, bumblebees and moths have disappeared since 97 per cent of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been eradicated since World War Two.
This has meant that the insects’ populations have plummeted.
In the UK at present, three quarters of butterfly and two thirds of moth species are in decline. Bumblebees are also under threat as in the last 80 years populations have crashed with two species becoming nationally extinct and several others declining dramatically.
Dr Khan is working alongside Butterfly Conservation and Bumblebee Conservation Trust to launch a new campaign asking people to set up their own Insect A&E areas in their gardens.
Butterflies, moths and bumblebees are an essential part of the ecosystem. They are an important element of the food chain and are prey for birds, bats and other insectivorous animals.
According to a recent survey, 84 per cent of UK adults are concerned about damage to the natural environment, and 56 per cent about local biodiversity loss. Many are keen to take action to tackle these problems but need advice on which plants to grow in their own gardens.
This advice is now freely available and easily accessible in a handy, downloadable plant guide with information about how best to help butterflies, moths and bumblebees across the UK. It can be found at http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/insectae.
Dr Khan said: “As a nature lover I am delighted to join with these brilliant organisations in asking people to act now for wildlife.
“Simply by choosing some of these plants, people’s gardens can become a haven for pollinators, or even a hospital they can recover in.
“Anyone can build an Insect A&E and help these amazing and precious creatures.
“Plus being in nature has many tangible beneficial physical and mental effects so why not get out there, relax and reconnect with nature by planting your own Insect A&E? It’s so easy and it helps so much.”
Julie Williams, CEO of Butterfly Conservation, said: “We are very excited to join forces with Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Dr Khan not only to raise awareness of the threats to our amazing insects but also to offer workable options for people keen to attract pollinators into their gardens.
“It is wonderful when we can live alongside the beauty of nature and enjoy its many physical and mental benefits.
“We hope that people across the UK will set up Insect A&Es to help sustain and support our very important and beautiful insects.”
Gill Perkins, CEO of Bumblebee Conservation Trust, added: “Any initiative to help provide food for bumblebees and other pollinators is welcome. We know that every little helps when it comes to providing food sources for bees.
“It’s important for people to grow the right type of bee-friendly flowers and the information available through Insect A&E helps people make the right choices for the planet’s health.”