The first official Red List for British Mammals highlights species most at risk of national extinction in the near future, with researchers calling for urgent action to prevent their loss.
The first official Red List for British Mammals, produced by the Mammal Society for Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage (NatureScot) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, shows that 11 of the 47 mammals native to Britain are classified as being at imminent risk of extinction. A further 5 species are classified as “near threatened” — meaning that there is a realistic possibility of them becoming threatened with extinction in the near future, and 4 are “data deficient” — meaning that their conservation status is unknown owing to a lack of information.
Crucially, the Red List for Great Britain has received authorisation on behalf of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at a regional level. This is significant as it means that the threatened British species have been identified using the same robust, internationally-agreed, system that is applied to classify threats to species such as elephants and tigers.
Fiona Mathews, Mammal Society Chair and Professor at the University of Sussex, led the report. She says: “The new Red List provides a very clear basis for prioritising funding and conservation efforts for the future. Twenty species — those classed as Threatened, Near Threatened, and Data Deficient — all need urgent attention. 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.”