The first official endangered animal list includes mammals such as the wildcat, the red squirrel, the water vole and the hedgehog
A quarter of the native mammals to the United Kingdom are “at imminent risk of extinction”; this is according to the team of scientists who have compiled the nation’s first official Red List of endangered animal species.
The 11 mammals native to Britain include creatures of the woodlands, mountains and rivers, such as wildcats, red squirrels, water voles, hazel dormice and hedgehogs.
This new endangered animal list has been approved by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which uses the same internationally agreed upon rules behind the global Red Lists of threatened species which includes such animals as elephants and tigers.
The list has been produced for the official nature agencies of England, Scotland and Wales.
The destruction of natural habitats, alien invasive species, as well as historic persecution are the main causes in the United Kingdom for the decline of wildlife.
This comes after Heathrow Airport is proposing a coronavirus testing plan in a bid to reduce the 14-day quarantines and get people travelling by plane as the travel sector suffers under the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A further five mammal species including the mountain hare, have now been classified as “near threatened”, which means they face becoming threatened with possible extinction within the near future.
There is not enough data on four more mammals, which includes the wild boar, as well as the whiskered bat, to make an assessment.
“All 20 species need urgent attention,” said Prof Fiona Mathews, at the University of Sussex and chair of the Mammal Society, who led the report.
“While we bemoan the demise of wildlife in other parts of the world, here in Britain we are managing to send even rodents towards extinction.
Things have to change rapidly if we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the wildlife we take for granted.”
“The three categories of threat – critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable – tell you about the probability of the animal becoming extinct within this imminent timeframe,” Mathews said.
Tony Juniper, the chair of Natural England, said: “This is a wake-up call, but it is not too late to act. We are working with our partners to recover our threatened and widely loved mammals, including licensing the reintroduction of beavers into England, and supporting the recovery of dormice and the grey long-eared bat, but there is so much more to do.”
“Central to the recovery of these and other creatures will be the protection and restoration of large areas of suitable habitat.”
This comes after the origins of the giant sarsen stones at the Stonehenge site have finally been discovered after a missing piece of the structure was returned to the historical location after 60 years.
A report on all British wildlife in October has found that populations of the most important species in the UK have plummeted by an average of 60% since 1970 and that Britain was “among the most nature-depleted countries in the world”.
The losses in the UK mirror the global wildlife crisis, which many scientists say is the beginning of the sixth mass extinction on Earth and they say that it is severely damaging the natural life-support systems that are relied upon by humanity.