Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

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 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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Lit candles, flowers and signs are seen in front of the U.S. embassy in Warsaw, Poland on May 31, 2020. Aleksander Kalka / NurPhoto / Getty Images

As protests are taking place across our nation in response to the killing of George Floyd, we want to acknowledge the importance of this protest and the Black Lives Matter movement. Over the years, we've aimed to be sensitive and prioritize stories that highlight the intersection between racial and environmental injustice. From our years of covering the environment, we know that too often marginalized communities around the world are disproportionately affected by environmental crises.

Read More Show Less
Sockeye salmon are seen swimming at a fish farm. Natalie Fobes / Getty Images

By Peter Beech

Using waste food to farm insects as fish food and high-tech real-time water quality monitoring: innovations that could help change global aquaculture, were showcased at the World Economic Forum's Virtual Ocean Dialogues 2020.

Read More Show Less
Shanika Reaux walks through the devastated Lower Ninth Ward on May 10, 2006 in New Orleans, Louisiana, after her home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Mario Tama / Getty Images

The big three broadcast channels failed to cover the disproportionate impacts of extreme weather on low-income communities or communities of color during their primetime coverage of seven hurricanes and one tropical storm over three years, a Media Matters for America analysis revealed.

Read More Show Less
Several drugmakers and research institutions are working on vaccines, antivirals and other treatments to help people infected with COVID-19. krisanapong detraphiphat / Moment / Getty Images

Researchers at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly announced yesterday that it will start a trial on a new drug designed specifically for COVID-19, a milestone in the race to stop the infectious disease, according to STAT News.

Read More Show Less
The Sumatran rhino is one of 515 endangered species of land animals on the brink of extinction. Mark Carwardine / Photolibrary / Getty Images

The sixth mass extinction is here, and it's speeding up.

Read More Show Less
People are having a hard time trying to understand what information is reliable and what information they can trust. Aekkarak Thongjiew / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Cathy Cassata

With more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 100,000 deaths from the virus, physicians face unprecedented challenges in their efforts to keep Americans safe.

They also encounter what some call an "infodemic," an outbreak of misinformation that's making it more difficult to treat patients.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Workers clean up a crude oil leak from a pipeline in Minnesota in 2002. JOEY MCLEISTER / Star Tribune via Getty Images

The Trump administration has finalized a rule making it harder for states and tribal communities to block pipelines and other infrastructure projects that threaten waterways.

Read More Show Less