Look Don’t Touch: Why It’s Important To Protect Our Wildlife7 May 2022
If you’re holidaying along the beautiful Dorset coast this year, there’s an abundance of unique and remarkable wildlife for eagle-eyed nature enthusiasts to spot. From the rock pools at Kimmeridge Bay that teem with aquatic critters, to the rare plant and butterfly species that can be found on the Isle of Portland, you won’t have to venture far for wild encounters.
But while it’s undoubtedly a thrill to come across wildlife in its natural habitat, it’s also essential that we respect (and help to protect) the flora and fauna we discover along our walking routes and hiking trails. We shouldn’t take its presence for granted; the way we act and interact with wildlife is key to ensuring future generations can enjoy it just as much as we do.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways for us to safely enjoy all the wonderful wildlife this stunning part of the world has to offer, whilst ensuring we keep our impact on the environment to a minimum.
How You Can Help To Protect Wildlife:
Stick to the path
Though it may be tempting to veer off the beaten track occasionally to explore some slightly more uncharted spaces, paths are there for a reason: not only are they designed to keep us safe (away from sheer cliff edges and unsteady terrains, for example), but they also help to maintain a healthy separation between us and the vital habitats of local species.
Every time you step off the path, you could be damaging the flora and fauna around you, from the plants and grasses underfoot to the wildlife you might unwittingly encounter. Keeping your dog on a lead is often best advised, too, especially since cows tend to roam freely among the grassy plains between Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.
Keep your distance
Whether you’re strolling atop the Jurassic Coast’s commanding cliffs or getting lost among local woodland, wildlife is always best admired from afar. Remember, it’s their territory as much as ours, so keep a respectful distance and don’t be tempted to approach or touch a wild animal. Hushed voices and delicate footsteps are advised, too; if an animal gets spooked, it may become distressed, and could even abandon its group or its nest.
A perfect way to enjoy wildlife from afar is by trying to spot the array of coastal and migratory birds that frequent the Dorset shoreline. Take along a pair of birdwatching binoculars (like one of these high-performance sets from the RSPB) and you might get an up-close look at an Arctic tern, a Northern gannet or even a puffin.
Don’t feed the animals
You may think that offering up a tasty snack from your backpack is a smart way of enticing wildlife, but think again: animals often have very specific and complex diets, and those diets rarely include sandwiches or sausage rolls! Most human foods are not nearly nutritious enough for animals, and they could even be harmful to certain species.
What’s more, if animals become accustomed to accepting snacks from humans, they could become a nuisance to future visitors, which puts their safety and ours at risk. For the benefit of everyone, it’s best to keep your picnic to yourself and leave the local wildlife to decide on its own meal options.
Leave no trace
Whenever you leave a natural spot, be sure to leave nothing behind. Sadly, the RSPCA receives over 3,500 calls a year about animals harmed by litter left behind by humans. Plastic bags, empty bottles and cans are not only harmful to the natural environment, but they can also cause animals to become entangled, trapped and often seriously injured.
The advice here is simple: if you brought it with you, take it with you. The natural landscape should look just as it did when you arrived! Oh, and if you’re a keen angler, be sure to take your tackle home with you at the end of a fishing trip. Discarded lines and hooks can cause serious harm to inquisitive birds and mammals.
Support local projects
If you’re really passionate about supporting the wildlife around Durdle Door and the wider Dorset area, there are plenty of local conservation projects and initiatives to get involved in. For example, the Jurassic Coast Trust is dedicated to protecting the natural beauty of this unique World Heritage Site for future generations.
And while chimpanzees and orangutans are certainly not native to Dorset, a visit to the nearby Monkey World provides an ape-tastic family day out, with the added bonus of helping to support the rescue and rehabilitation of primate species all over the world. If you’re feeling extra supportive, you can even adopt your very own primate!
So remember, if you’ve booked a summer staycation in one of our holiday homes, cabins or camping spots this year, there are plenty of opportunities to get in touch with nature and spot an array of local wildlife. But don’t forget, it’s also vitally important to respect (and protect) this area of outstanding natural beauty and the varied wildlife that inhabits it.