Save the Natural History Museum's wildlife garden
This petition had 38,422 supporters
One of London's top visitor attractions, the Natural History Museum, is planning to bulldoze its unique living exhibit - home to more than 3,000 species of plants and animals - as part of a multi-million pound revamp of the institution.
The wildlife garden, which occupies a compact one-acre site on the west side of the museum building, was set up by a team of scientists 20 years ago to recreate the dozen or so habitats of lowland Britain. Animals that make their home in the garden range from moorhens and great tits through to smooth newts and damselflies, while plants include bee and common spotted orchids.
The plans will see a metres-wide path built right through the middle of the garden, where visitors currently enjoy the iconic central pond, and surrounding wetland and grassland habitat, all teeming with wildlife. As a result more than 50% of the garden will be either lost or uprooted.
Scientists and other specialists at the museum, represented by the union Prospect, have firmly opposed the destruction of the garden and say that mature habitats can’t simply be dug up and successfully moved. They add that the plans go against ethos of sustainability on which the institution prides itself.
The path seems intended to efficiently channel large numbers of people from the front lawn and through the garden towards the Darwin Centre and other museum buildings. It will do nothing to encourage people to stop and enjoy the garden.
The garden hosts organised educational visits by thousands of school children annually and important research on the impact of climate change on native species takes place there. In recent years the garden has served as an ark for rare species of wildlife threatened by development elsewhere.
We call on director Sir Michael Dixon and his management team to halt these damaging plans and work with the museum's scientists to develop a sustainable alternative.
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