Page last updated at 23:01 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 00:01 UK

Walkers wanted for wildlife count

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Counting species on the riverbank

Walkers on Britain's canals are being asked to note the wildlife they see, from dragonflies to frogs, in order to map where nature needs additional help.

With thousands of miles to cover, British Waterways is asking people to help them understand where species are thriving and where they need support.

It is particularly looking for bumblebee sightings, after populations were decimated by a year of disease.

Many crops, including most fruits, depend on bumblebees for pollination.

Ben Darvill, director of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said three of Britain's 25 native species of bumblebee are now extinct, and a further six species were at "crisis point".

'Rapid destruction'

"With the rapid destruction of bee-friendly habitats, canals and river banks have become an important home to a variety of wild flowers and native plants that bumblebees rely on to survive," he said.

British Waterways, which manages 2,200 miles of canals and rivers, has produced a guide to wildlife found near the country's canals and rivers, including information on bumblebees and tips for how to help them.

Mark Robinson, national ecology manager at British Waterways, said: "A wealth of water-loving birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and insects thrive on the UK's canals, rivers and reservoirs, which act as green corridors and safe havens for many species."

Flooding in recent years has also damaged natural habitats alongside canals, which has led to a decline in the Kingfisher population.



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