Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison is the face behind a new campaign to help reverse the fortunes of the South West’s struggling wildlife.

The campaign features a short film released by Devon Wildlife Trust and other Wildlife Trust’s in the South West and which showcases the work they do for people and nature. It includes images of Devon’s Wembury Bay and Dartmoor, along with wildlife favourites including otters, hedgehogs and barn owls.

In the film Ellie Harrison explains: “Growing up in the countryside meant the sounds and sights of the great outdoors filled my childhood with wonder.”

“Sadly today much of our wildlife is fighting for its existence.”

It’s a claim supported in a recent report. The State of Nature released on Wednesday, September 14, brought together expert research on how our wildlife is faring. The report’s conclusions were stark with 56 per cent of species surveyed found to be in decline since 1970 and a startling 15 per cent of all species surveyed facing the threat of extinction.

In Devon once familiar animals have become scarce with cuckoos declining by 80 per cent since 1977, and the sites at which lapwings are breeding having shrunk by 97 per cent to just two isolated spots.

However, against this bleak background the film provides a positive message for the future. Ellie explains how she was inspired by the work of The Wildlife Trusts restoring urban and rural landscapes for people and nature. The film also showcases the efforts of hundreds of Wildlife Trusts’ volunteers who work in the South West to protect wildlife for the future. It also depicts the charity’s many nature reserves and their role as vital havens for wildlife.

It was this inspiration which moved Ellie Harrison to speak out for nature: “When my local Wildlife Trust asked me if I’d lend my support I immediately said, yes! Yes to helping nature recover on land, in rivers and in the sea. I said yes to fighting for the things that I love and value.”

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Steve Hussey said: “We’re delighted that Ellie Harrison is backing our ‘Say Yes to Wildlife’ campaign. Her film shows how much nature means to her and how its present day predicament has moved her to back The Wildlife Trusts.”

“We’re hoping other people will follow Ellie’s example and ‘Say Yes to Wildlife’ and we think the best place to start is to watch her wonderful new film.”

You can watch Ellie’s video at the Devon Wildlife Trust’s website