WATCH: New Wind in the Willows film trailer aims to inspire efforts to save our wildlife
The Wildlife Trusts
An animated update of the children's classic The Wind in the Willows carries an impassioned plea about the plight of nature - and the people of Norfolk have been urged to act on it.
The film trailer, released today, shows how the idyllic lives of Badger, Ratty, Mole and Toad have been disrupted by roads, river pollution and intensive agriculture, with many wildlife habitats destroyed or broken up.
And it draws attention to a new campaign by The Wildlife Trusts which aims to inspire a concerted effort to help nature’s recovery – a message which has been backed by the stars of the movie, including Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Fry, Catherine Tate, Alison Steadman and Asim Chaudhry.
In the 100 years since Kenneth Grahame first wrote about the riverside adventures of Badger, Ratty and Mole, many of the UK’s wild places and the plants and animals that depend on them have been lost.
During the trailer, Sir David says: “Since we first met Badger and friends, the UK has become one of the most nature-depleted places on the planet.
“It is not too late to save our wildlife, but we must act together.”
David North, head of people and wildlife at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, agreed that the modern world would be a challenging home for Kenneth Grahame’s treasured characters – in particular Ratty, the water vole, as the UK’s most rapidly-declining mammal has been lost from 94pc of places where it was once prevalent.
“Habitat change in Norfolk’s countryside since Kenneth Grahame wrote Wind in the Willows includes the loss of more than 95pc of our wildflower meadows and more than 50pc of our ponds, ancient woodlands and hedgerows,” he said.
“The countryside of today holds many new dangers for our wildlife. Toad on his journey to his breeding pond, assuming the pond still exists, will face the hazard of crossing busy roads. Ratty, the water vole, will find many of his beloved rivers have been straightened and polluted. Badger will find many of favourite ancient woods have vanished.
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“We know our natural world is in trouble but people do really care about the fate of our wildlife, especially in Norfolk, and this campaign encourages everyone to be part of creating a Wilder Future where such well-loved animals can thrive again.”
Norfolk-raised TV presenter and actor Stephen Fry, who is president of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, said: “I’ve acted in and narrated Wind in the Willows in the past but this version is different – it really, really matters.
“I adore what’s left of Britain’s wild and precious places and I’m a passionate supporter of my local Wildlife Trust which is restoring a huge part of the fens for nature. We all need to get behind The Wildlife Trusts, rise up and call for a wilder future – otherwise it’ll be too late to save Toad, Ratty and all the residents of the riverbank and beyond.”
The Wildlife Trusts hope the Wind in the Willows film trailer will inspire people to help nature recover by contacting politicians to call for strong environmental laws; taking action for wildlife in their own garden or local community; and by exploring events and volunteering opportunities with their local wildlife trusts.