Extinction in the UK
Natural England's Lost Life report has identified nearly 500 animals and plants which have become extinct in England, mostly within the last two centuries. In addition, nearly 1,000 native species have been labeled a conservation priority because of severe threats to their existence. Before humans dominated the planet, the normal loss was about one extinction every 20 years. Natural England's Cheif Scientist Tom Tew notes that the high rate of loss is set to continue unless ambitious conservation is taken.
Conservation experts have already predicted that the world is witnessing the "sixth great extinction of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change." Simon Stuart, chair of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, says that for the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, the loss of diversity of life is outpacing the rate at which new species can evolve.
Image: "British Wildlife Centre Red Squirrel" by Martin Pettitt on Flickr, courtesy of Creative Commons.Tweet