Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One In Six European Mammals Threatened With Extinction

Date:
May 23, 2007
Source:
World Conservation Union
Summary:
The first assessment of all European mammals, commissioned by the European Commission and carried out by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), shows that nearly one in every six mammal species is now threatened with extinction. The population trends are equally alarming: a quarter (27%) of all mammals has declining populations and a further 33% had an unknown population trend. Only 8% were identified as increasing, including the European bison, thanks to successful conservation measures.

The Iberian Lynx, the world's most threatened cat species.
Credit: J.M. P้rez de Ayala/CENEAM-MMA

The first assessment of all European mammals, commissioned by the European Commission and carried out by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), shows that nearly one in every six mammal species is now threatened with extinction. The population trends are equally alarming: a quarter (27%) of all mammals has declining populations and a further 33% had an unknown population trend. Only 8% were identified as increasing, including the European bison, thanks to successful conservation measures.

Related Articles


Europe is now home to the world’s most threatened cat species, the Iberian Lynx, and the world’s most threatened seal, the Mediterranean Monk Seal, both classified as Critically Endangered.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “The results of the report highlight the challenge we currently face to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010, as European governments have promised. It is clear that the full implementation of the Habitats Directive, which covers nearly all mammals found threatened in this assessment, is of utmost importance to protect Europe's species".

World Conservation Union (IUCN) Director-General Julia Marton-Lef่vre said: “This new assessment proves that many European mammals are declining at an alarming rate. However, we still have the power to reverse that trend, as the case of the European bison which was brought back from extinction clearly shows.”

Europe contains a rich diversity of mammals ranging from the small and rarely seen nocturnal shrews and voles to the elusive brown bear. But the results of the European Mammal Assessment are clear: while some 15%, or almost one sixth, of mammals are threatened in Europe, the situation of marine mammals is even bleaker: some 22% are classified as threatened with extinction. The true number is likely to be even higher, as almost 44% were classified as Data Deficient due to missing information. By comparison, 13% of European birds are threatened.

The main threats to European mammals are habitat degradation and loss such as deforestation or wetland drainage, followed by pollution and over-harvesting. For marine species, pollution and accidental mortality from fisheries by-catch or ship collisions are the main risks. These threats are most severe in the enclosed seas of the Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Within the European Union, six species have been classified as Critically Endangered. The most threatened category includes the Arctic fox and the European mink, which both have very small and declining populations. Only 150 Iberian Lynx survive today and the Mediterranean monk seal population has decreased to between 350-450 individuals.

Europe is one of the best studied regions of the world, but no overall view of the conservation status of mammals across the continent had been compiled.  To fill that gap, the European Union commissioned the World Conservation Union (IUCN) to assess all mammals of continental Europe against the IUCN Red List criteria in order to identify Europe’s most threatened mammals and help set conservation priorities.

The assessment shows that Europe’s mountains and the Balkan Peninsula are home to the greatest diversity of species. This wealth of biodiversity forms an arc which extends from the Pyrenees through the Alps towards the Carpathians and Rhodopes in southeastern Europe. The greatest concentration of threatened species was found in Bulgaria.

The European bison and Alpine Ibex – back from the brink

The European bison was brought to the brink of extinction during the early 20th century when the last individuals were saved in zoos. As a result of reintroductions and introductions, there are now some 1,800 individuals occurring in free-ranging and semi-free herds in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Slovakia.

The Alpine Ibex, another European endemic, was brought close to extinction in the 19th century by intensive hunting and was found only in the Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy. This species is now classified as least concern due to extensive conservation efforts and re-introductions.

To reverse the decline of Europe’s mammals, the study recommends urgent implementation of the EU’s nature conservation policies, to develop species action plans and integrate nature conservation into the EU’s land use policies.

“Today is World Biodiversity Day – a unique chance to celebrate the diversity of life on Earth and to remember humans’ fragile place within this complex web. As we celebrate this day we have to remember that our actions have brought many species to the brink of extinction, however we must also know that we have the power and opportunity to reverse this situation,” said Julia Marton-Lef่vre.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Conservation Union. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Conservation Union. "One In Six European Mammals Threatened With Extinction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522175213.htm>.
World Conservation Union. (2007, May 23). One In Six European Mammals Threatened With Extinction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522175213.htm
World Conservation Union. "One In Six European Mammals Threatened With Extinction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070522175213.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

AFP (Nov. 25, 2014) — Phnom Penh's only working elephant was blessed by a crowd of chanting Buddhist monks Tuesday as she prepared for a life of comfortable jungle retirement after three decades of giving rides to tourists. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) — A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins