Third of Britain’’s mammals face extinction

December 28th, 2008 - 7:07 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 28 (ANI): The hedgehog, water vole and hazel dormouse are among a number of British mammals that face extinction, according to a new research.

The study commissioned by the People’’s Trust for Endangered Species has concluded that climate change and habitat loss are to be blamed for the dramatic increase in the number of mammals that face becoming seriously endangered.

The research found that unpredictable and extreme weather conditions, combined with hotter, drier summers and wetter winters, were causing changes in the distribution and behaviour of some species, such as the hazel dormouse.

The report, the seventh annual assessment of the state of land mammals in Britain, revealed that the Bechstein’’s bat, one of the country’’s rarest mammals, has shown a marked decline while the number of soprano pipistrelle bats has fallen by 46 percent in six years.

According to the report, more effort is needed to help the endangered species, which now number 18 - more than 30 percent of Britain’’s mammal species - up from 10 last year.

Only two species on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan list, the otter and the lesser horseshoe bat, have increased their numbers.

“Next year, the focus of biodiversity conservation in England will shift from individual species to a more integrated eco-system approach, incorporating climate change adaptation principles and establishing complementary species and habitat conservation,” the Guardian quoted Professor David Macdonald, conservation biologist in the wildlife conservation unit at Oxford University and co-author of the report, as saying.

The report also said that although modern agricultural practices and the disappearance of hedgerows have had a significant impact on mammals such as the hedgehog, “conflict” between mammal species, particularly involving the invasive American mink, is also posing problems for conservationists.

Mink-free zones on a large scale need to be established to stop the “catastrophic decline” of water voles that has been seen over the last 20 years. (ANI)

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