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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 May, 2004, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
BBC launches UK wildlife campaign
Bill Oddie and robin   BBC
The show will broadcast live from locations around the UK
The BBC is launching an ambitious televised natural history event in a bid to inspire the public to help save some of the UK's threatened species.

Bill Oddie will host three weeks of live broadcasts on the state of British wildlife as part of the BBC's Make Space For Nature Campaign.

The event will ask the public to make one pledge to safeguard some of Britain's most important species.

Programme makers hope this could lead to a "virtual nature reserve".

The campaign will be hosted on the programme Britain Goes Wild With Bill Oddie, which will broadcast live from a variety of different locations around the UK.

Wildlife in gardens and in accessible places is something that enhances our whole quality of life in exactly the same way that football does, or enjoying music
Stephen Moss, BBC Natural History Unit
Oddie and co-presenter Kate Humble will be based at an organic farm in Devon which is equipped with over 100 hidden cameras in nest boxes, trees, bushes and badger setts.

Animals they are hoping to see include the badgers, blue-tits, flycatchers, jackdaws, woodpeckers and perhaps even a barn owl.

The show's roving presenter Simon King will broadcast live from Bass Rock in Scotland, one of the world's largest gannet colonies; a secret peregrine falcon nest in the heart of England; and the London Wetlands Centre, where he will catch up with some urban foxes.

The programmes will feature a series of short segments on the status of iconic UK animal species such as otters, nightingales, dormice and parakeets.

Animal soap

"There will be a big soap opera element," said Stephen Moss, wildlife expert at the BBC's Natural History Unit in Bristol. "It is important that viewers get the sense that they can follow individual animals from day to day.

"We will see changes, we will see dramas. Hopefully we will see some of our birds fledging and badgers becoming more independent.

"We want the public to have a greater understanding of British wildlife because there are some very serious issues there."

Simon King and an urban fox
Simon King visits a site in London to catch up with some urban foxes
Mr Moss explained that the Make Space For Nature campaign was important because gardens were arguably Britain's biggest nature reserve, in terms of their combined area.

He added, however, that it was always difficult to assess the success of such campaigns. Nonetheless, numbers of pledges logged by callers, TV viewing figures and website users would give an idea of how much the public had taken the campaign to heart, he said.

"I think in the wider scheme of things, people are beginning to realise that wildlife is part of our whole quality of life," said Mr Moss.

"Wildlife in gardens and in accessible places is something that enhances our whole quality of life in exactly the same way that football does, or enjoying music. They're a reason to live."

One or more follow-up programmes will be screened in the autumn to revisit the animals featured in the series.

Britain Goes Wild With Bill Oddie starts on Monday 31 May at 2000 BST on BBC One.




SEE ALSO:
Camera infiltrates animal world
11 Feb 04  |  Science/Nature
Conservation honour for Oddie
13 Jun 03  |  Manchester
'I stalk animals - with a camera'
03 Oct 02  |  UK News


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