Among the indigenous trees in Britain are the oak, holly, hawthorn, and pine. The mild climate and the ready availability of water support a wide variety of flowers and other plants.
The large wildlife of the islands has been killed off over the years, but many small animals remain: foxes, squirrels, rabbits, hares, badgers. In some areas such as Richmond Park and the New Forest there are herds of deer; wild ponies are found in the New Forest and on Dartmoor. Seals are found off the coast particularly in the North Sea. Trout and salmon flourish in some of the less polluted rivers, where they have been encouraged for the sake of sport fishing.
Birdlife includes owls, blackbirds, sparrows, starlings, thrushes, pigeons, crows, grouse, seagulls, kingfishers, ducks, swans and puffins. The kestrel is the most common bird of prey, found even in central London; the golden eagle and the osprey are found only in the wildest areas of Scotland. Bird watching is a popular hobby in the UK.
There are many types of butterflies including the common blue, the large white, the red admiral, the tortoise shell and the swallowtail.
All the UK's wildlife has suffered from human intervention: habitat destruction, pollution from industry, from vehicles and from sewage disposal, pesticide residues and, in some cases such as rabbits, foxes or birds of prey, from deliberate attempts at extermination. However, bodies such as the National Trust (founded in 1895 and the UK's oldest conservation organisation) have led the way in habitat protection. The first Nature Reserve was established in 1895. In recent years successes have included the reintroduction of the osprey.