We are so lucky to live in a world with millions of different species of animals, birds and insects and I feel a deep sense of responsibility to do all I can do protect them. They share this land, sky and water with us, but humans are making it difficult for co-existence.
We are all aware of climate change, pollution, ecological disasters, but sometimes this can feel like it's not on our doorstep. Scotland has endless stretches of beautiful wild landscape, so there must be plenty of space for animals, surely? Sadly, this is not the case and native animals in Scotland are in decline. In fact, WWF Scotland say one in nine Scottish species are threatened with extinction, including the red squirrel, capercaillie, Scottish wildcat and the water vole. This has been caused by factors such as urbanisation, climate change and agriculture.
In my novel, The Golden Feather, I have highlighted many of the issues facing Scottish native species to help make children aware of the problems. For example,
"The Capercaillies were also falling in numbers, suffering from a loss of habitat and being hunted by foxes and crows. These peaceful ground dwelling birds lived in the pine forests around Perthshire and the Cairngorms, but the forests were being cut down to make room for sheep farming. Humans were also building deer fences to keep deer off their property and this created problems for the capercaillie too. They would injure themselves trying to get across and then die.
Tetro, the huge black capercaillie representing the species, had arrived that day for the Assembly and had already been telling Solas of their woes. That year had been the wettest June they could remember, meaning many of their fragile chicks did not survive.
“If it continues like this, Solas, I don’t know what is to become of us.” Tetro shook his glossy black head in dismay.
All these problems were out of Solas’ control. He could not change the weather or prevent humans from putting up fences or chopping down trees. He advised Tetro to keep moving deeper into the forests and to keep as far away as possible from the dangerous humans. It was always best to keep out of their way and he himself had learnt that the hard way. He tried not to think of the day when they might have nowhere left to go."
[extract from Chapter 8, The Animal Assembly]
I believe the power of words and education can help teach children that we CAN make this a better world for animals. Happy #WorldAnimalDay
"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."