Yorkshire Water and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust are urging visitors to be mindful of wildlife as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Richard Hampshire, Yorkshire Water nature reserve warden, said: “In recent months the wildlife at our sites has been making use of the extra space. Many of these animals are now contending with increased human pressure as people return to the great outdoors.
“We have seen in recent weeks the impact lighting barbecues can have on the natural habitat and we would remind visitors to our reservoirs and land to respect safety signage and boundaries both for their sake and that of our wildlife.”
A Yorkshire Wildlife Trust spokesperson said: “If you are visiting a nature reserve in the coming weeks, please take extra care. Nature reserves are always primarily a place for wildlife and so we always advise care and attention when visiting one, but since the lockdown some wildlife has moved into spaces that have been temporarily vacated by people. For example, there may be ground-nesting birds nesting on or very near pathways. Please respect these wild spaces and the wildlife that lives there when visiting.
“This lockdown has given many of us the space and time to appreciate and notice nature more. Bird song seems louder because it is so quiet, the sea air smells clearer as the scent isn’t competing with as much traffic pollution.
“The sensory experience that wildlife is providing is being amplified, and this can be seen as wildlife ‘thriving’, when in reality much of our wildlife remains in crisis and needs our help now more than ever. We must make sure there is still room for wildlife to recover when we start our own recovery.”
Visitors should also ensure dogs stay on leads to protect local wildlife.