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1 in 4 children in the UK have never seen a hedgehog in the wild

Secondo l’associazione naturalista Wildlife Trust i bambini del Regno Unito stanno perdendo il contatto con la natura subendo un impoverimento spirituale.

The children of today, also known as digital natives, know how to use smartphones, tablets, and latest technologies down pat. However, they are losing knowledge of nature, the creatures living in it, ignoring names and features of animals and plants.

nativi digitali
Digital natives are a generation “born digital”. They grow up immersed in digital technologies

The warning comes from Sir David Attenborough, one of the world’s icons of popular science and pioneer of natural documentaries, after that a survey showed that in the UK four in ten children have never seen a hedgehog in the wild.

“Youngsters are becoming spiritually impoverished because they rarely experience the natural world,” said Attenborough, former President of the Wildlife Trusts, the UK’s most important association for nature protection.

Famous naturalist Sir David Attenborough holds 'Little Bee' a baby Asian Otter during an event by the river Thames near Windsor March 23. A scheme was announced today in an attempt to help return otters back to the river Thames where numbers have been dwindling for years. DJM/AS - RTRN7DU
Sir David Attenborough

Science has demonstrated over and over again the benefits of the contact with the environment, and over the past few years the nature-deficit disorder has been discovered, which means that children feel themselves disoriented when they are in a field or in a wood.

“There’s a gap between what society intuitively knows is best for children and what they’re actually getting,” Lucy McRobert of the Wildlife Trust.

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British countryside

According to a survey carried out by the Wildlife Trusts, 71 per cent of British children have never seen a lizard in the wild, whilst more than 50 per cent have never admired the spectacular mumuration of a flock of starlings in the sky. The most surprising figure is about hedgehogs: 37 per cent of children have never seen one of these funny mammals, which are very common in European contrysides.

“Contact with nature should not be the preserve of the privileged. It is critical to the personal development of our children,” said Attenborough. “It is moving to see the delight on the face of a six year old looking at a pond skater or caddis fly larva.”

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An individual of hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

The UK natural association encourages parents and schools to teach children the love for nature and the knowledge of wildlife. “We know that first-hand contact with nature is good for children,” concluded Lucy McRobert. “It makes them happier, healthier and more creative and for some it can have a life-changing impact”.

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