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It’s no secret that UK wildlife is underrated.
In fact, despite running Finding Nature for the past few months and making it my aim to promote UK wildlife. Even I fail to give credit where credit’s due.
For example, when I turn on the TV and head over to the natural science documentaries, I’m greeted by things like: “Galapagos”, “Africa”, “Wild China”, “Wild Pacific” and “Frozen Planet”.
They’re just the tip of the iceberg.
But rarely, do we see ones like “Wild England” or “Wild Wales”.
It’s as though the UK is Leonardo DiCaprio and our lack of recognition is the same as Leo’s lack of an academy award (pre-2016).
So why is this, why does the rest of the planet’s wildlife get all the attention instead of the UK?
Well, there’re a bunch of reasons why. But for people like you and I, we know it’s just misunderstood.
We know it’s absolutely fantastic for wildlife.
Keep on reading to learn all the reasons of why UK wildlife is underrated.
Personally, I think our weather has a lot to do with it. But that’s just my opinion.
I mean, if you’re reading this and you’ve spent at least 1 hour in this country, I’m certain you’ll sympathise.
It can be hard to want to sit and spot Guillemots when it’s raining cats & dogs and you’ve ended up wetter than a dolphin.
But… If you were given the chance to travel to an exotic, sun-soaked destination where you’d be snorkelling with sea turtles, the effort of actually looking for them doesn’t seem quite so bad does it?
So yes, I think it’s to do with how you picture a place that makes all the difference.
Bare with me here for a second.
I’m not saying I want them to and I’m sure you don’t want them to either.
But you have to admit, the dangerous animals are often some of the most fascinating.
The most dangerous animal we have here in the UK is responsible for killing more than 74 people since 2000. However, I doubt that people like us will find this animal to be very interesting.
It is after all, a cow.
Yes! Britain’s deadliest animal is a cow.
Compare that to places like Australia where it seems every other animal is out for blood and you perhaps can see why we’re not spoken about too much.
In zoology, there’s a term called species richness. This simply means the number of species in a given area.
If I had a fish tank with two angelfish, a pufferfish and three crabs, the species richness would be three.
Now, this is only used when sampling small areas to evaluate the diversity of the animals living there. It isn’t really used across a whole nation.
But, it gives a basic idea of how healthy an ecosystem is.
And when we think of British animals, sure we may think of something really cool, like say a Basking Shark. But chances are, we’re not thinking of tons of different animals all co-existing on the same piece grass.
Whereas you may think of the exact opposite of somewhere like the Great Barrier Reef.
When I think of wildlife, one of the top destinations that springs to my mind is the Amazon Rainforest.
The beautiful array of colours is something I find very hard to not think about.
After all, how many animals in the UK have the sorts of colours that can compete with the likes of a Blue & Gold Macaw or a Toucan or a Poison Dart Frog?
The UK is a relatively small country when you compare it to places like China or the US.
What’s more is this small piece of land is highly developed.
There aren’t many locations in the country where you will truly feel “away” from civilisation.
And for some, this distance makes it hard to picture the UK as a wildlife hotspot.
Compare the UK as a whole to the US’s national parks and the maximum distance from civilisation can be really dramatic.
Perhaps this seclusion makes us feel that the area is wilder?
I would argue that this is a huge reason. After all, we’re a species that is very susceptible to influence.
Take for example films.
I for the life of me cannot think of a single feature-length title where a film centred around an animal or animal(s) is set in the UK. Can you?
Jaws, Finding Nemo, Jungle Book, The Lion King, Free Willy, Kung Fu Panda, need I go on?
Luckily, yours truly and the amazing team behind Finding Nature will fix this. But for the time being it is still a slight problem.
Think about it.
The UK is massively important for the Basking Shark’s migration. They visit the seas near the UK to feed on the huge blooms of plankton that pops up annually.
Despite this, many people probably don’t know that the second-largest fish can even be seen in our waters.
Luckily we do.
If you’re looking to get up close with Basking Sharks, check out our Wildlife Trips to go and look for them.
You and I both know that the animals we host here in the UK are really cool and diverse.
And, even though it may be a bit underrated, there’s a lot for us to see. Sure, it might not be deadly or overly-flamboyant and the weather can be a bit depressing.
But, none of that matters when we are able to come up close with our favourite wild animals.
Remember, we here at Finding Nature are here to help find your favourite wild animals.
Did we miss any other reasons UK wildlife is underrated?
I’d love to hear what you think below!