One in 10 of British wildlife species could be wiped out: David Attenborough

Changes in farming methods and climate change are contributing factors to the decline, according to a new report

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 September, 2016, 11:03am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 September, 2016, 11:06am

More than one in 10 wildlife species in the UK are under threat of extinction, according to a new report.

The State of Nature Report 2016 – to which more than 50 wildlife organisations contributed – found that of 8,000 species assessed according to modern Red List criteria, over 10 per cent were under threat of vanishing from the UK altogether.

The report also found that between 1970 and 2013, 56 per cent of nearly 4,000 “terrestrial and freshwater species” researched were in decline.

Moreover, 165 species – including the bog hoverfly, freshwater pearl mussel and high brown fritillary butterfly – were considered to be “critically endangered.”

Contributing factors included changes in farming methods and climate change, the report said. The impact of climate change had been mixed, because it had benefited some species but harmed others.

“Escalating pressures, such as climate change and modern land management, mean that we continue to lose the precious wildlife that enriches our lives and is essential to the health and well-being of those who live in the UK, and also in its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories,” renowned broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough said in a foreword to the report.

“Our wonderful nature is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before,” he added.

It is not just species in the UK that are under threat from a changing environment and climate. A recent study from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and partners found that the American pika, a small plant-eating relative of the rabbit, was disappearing from parts of the western US as a result of climate change.

The American pika is a small herbivore that lives in rocky slopes in mountain ranges in the American West. The USGS study, published in The Journal of Mammalogy, found that there was evidence of “widespread reduction in pika range in three mountainous regions including the Great Basin, southern Utah and north-eastern California.”