Northwest charity and conservationist Chester Zoo recently had reason to rejoice after it was awarded a £318,323 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help accelerate nature recovery and deliver a brighter future for Cheshire wildlife.
The important funding will now enable zoo conservationists to draw up detailed plans to restore and create crucial habitats for wildlife, and allow local communities to start connecting with the preservation of UK species experiencing severe decline.
Community Engagement Manager for Chester Zoo, Hannah Brooks, commented:
“We’re in midst of a global biodiversity crisis. The UN estimates that one million species are at risk of extinction, including many here in the UK, meaning there’s never been a more pressing time to stand together for nature.”
Threatened species highlighted include animals such as great crested newts and the water vole, the latter being Britain’s most swiftly declining animal due to water pollution and habitat destruction.
However, the funding will assist a new collaborative initiative called Networks for Nature. This project will also supply comprehensive skill training for conservation, establish an accessibility and wellbeing programme, create opportunities to volunteer and engage young people, with the aim of helping ensure wildlife thrives alongside people throughout the county.
The collaboration is being led by Chester Zoo, in direct partnership with a wide range of other organisations, like Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Cheshire West and Chester Local Authority, Sustrans, the Canal and River Trust, and Cheshire West Communities Together. Each of the entities involved has pledged to improving its land holdings to contribute to the improvement of the natural landscape of Cheshire.