Quantcast
Animals
Scottish wildcats are among the most threatened mammals in the UK, according to a new study. Peter Trimming / CC BY 2.0

One-Fifth of Britain’s Mammals Could Be Extinct in 10 Years

One-fifth of UK mammals could go extinct within a decade, according to the most comprehensive report in 20 years released Wednesday by The Mammal Society and Natural England.

The report found that the Scottish wildcat, black rat and greater mouse-eared bat were the most endangered species left, The Guardian reported.


Next came the red squirrel, water vole, beaver and grey long-eared bat, according to BBC News. The hedgehog, hazel dormouse, Orkney vole, barbastelle bat and serotine bat were all listed as vulnerable, BBC News further reported.

"We have almost been sleepwalking," The Mammal Society Chair and University of Sussex Environmental Biology Professor Fiona Mathews told The Guardian. "This is happening on our own doorstep, so it falls upon all of us to try and do what we can to ensure that our threatened species do not go the way of the lynx, wolf and elk and disappear from our shores forever," she said.

The largest threats faced by mammal species were habitat destruction due to development and agriculture, as well as diseases and invasive species, Mathews told The Guardian. According to Mathews, the UK is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe and one of the most wildlife poor countries in the world.

The report assessed the more than 1.5 million individual records for animals belonging to the UK's 58 terrestrial mammal species and considered their range, population size, trends and future prospects.

Not all mammals were suffering. Populations of otter, pine marten, polecat, badger, beaver, wild boar, greater and lesser horseshoe bat and red and roe deer had all increased since the last survey in 1995, BBC News reported.

Otters are no longer killed by pesticides and deer have no natural predator in the UK, The Guardian pointed out. Mathews further told BBC News the success of carnivores was likely due to the fact that they were not targeted as in the past.

Today, she said, the greatest threat was shrinking habitat.

"On the other hand we have species that tend to need quite specialised habitat like the grey long-eared bat or the dormouse where population numbers are really going down," she said.

Another bat, the greater mouse-eared bat, is down to one male living in West Sussex.

"Unless we can find some lady friends for him soon [from continental Europe], he is going to be extinct," Mathews told The Guardian. "He's 16 now, so he's getting on a bit. They can live up to the mid-20s."

Luckily, the report gives conservationists a useful starting point to get to work protecting the vulnerable mammals of the British Isles.

"This project has significantly improved our understanding of the current status of terrestrial mammals known to breed in Great Britain, which is essential to underpin our efforts to protect them and their habitats," Natural England Senior Specialist for Mammals Katherine Walsh said in The Mammal Society press release.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
Miami is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to raise roads in response to rising sea levels. Matthew Hurst / CC BY-SA 2.0

What Is Climate-Ready Infrastructure? Some Cities Are Starting to Adapt

By Mikhail Chester, Braden Allenby and Samuel Markolf

The most recent international report on climate change paints a picture of disruption to society unless there are drastic and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Although it's early days, some cities and municipalities are starting to recognize that past conditions can no longer serve as reasonable proxies for the future.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle on October 10, as a category 4 storm causing massive damage and claiming about 30 lives. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Climate Deniers on the Ballot in 2018

By Justin Mikulka

As the midterm elections approach, DeSmog is taking this opportunity to highlight some of the top climate science deniers currently running for office in the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
If you have to pay for free speech then it isn't free. Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

Our Constitutional Right to Protest Is Under Assault

By Lauren Reid

A new proposed rule from the National Park Service is aiming to restrict peaceful protest in parks and even sidewalks within the District of Columbia—just one effort on a long list of anti-protest laws popping up all around the country.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Pexels

A New Language for Grappling With Climate Change

By Phil Newell

This month, a major UN report on climate change declared that humanity has just a few short years to make the drastic changes needed to stave off an environmental catastrophe. While news outlets reacted with shock and alarm, those who regularly write, research or advocate on climate change were more resigned. For them, the report—which synthesized existing research—merely aggravated the psychic wound formed by continually reckoning with the end of the world.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Microplastics. MPCA Photos / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Microplastics Detected in Human Stool Samples for First Time

Humanity has created more than 9 billion tons of plastic since the 1950s, when large-scale production of the material first took off. Of that total, a staggering 76 percent has gone to waste. These days, plastics are found in most table salt, marine life and the deepest parts of the ocean. So is it any surprise that they have made it into our bodies, too?

A small study has detected microplastics in human excrement for the first time, raising larger questions about how the tiny particles can affect our health.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Pexels

Massive Study Finds Eating Organic Slashes Cancer Risks

Eating organic foods free from pesticides is strongly correlated with a dramatic reduction in the risk of cancer, according to a groundbreaking study published today in an American Medical Association journal.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Pexels

Does Climate Change Affect Real Estate Prices? Only if You Believe In It

By Constantine Yannelis, Lorenzo Garlappi and Markus Baldauf

In the wake of two powerful hurricanes in the U.S. this fall, the scientific evidence that climate change will raise the risk of severe weather events continues to grow.

Keep reading... Show less
Health

Dewayne Johnson reacts after the verdict to his case at the Superior Court Of California in San Francisco on Aug. 10. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

Judge Upholds Historic Monsanto Verdict But Lowers Damages

A San Francisco judge made a surprise ruling Monday and upheld a jury's verdict that Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller gave a California groundskeeper cancer, and that the company failed to warn him of the danger, CNN reported.

Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos had issued a tentative ruling Oct. 10 ordering a new trial over the punitive damages awarded to plaintiff Dewayne "Lee" Johnson, saying he had failed to prove that Monsanto acted with "malice or oppression." After reviewing arguments from both sides, however, Bolanos instead upheld the verdict, but lowered the punitive damages from $250 million to $39 million. A new trial will only take place if Johnson's lawyers don't accept the reduced award.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!