Endangered Animals in Britain

Written by ray mcrobbie
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Endangered Animals in Britain
Red squirrel numbers have been devastated by the introduction from North America of the grey squirrel. (Red squirrel on ground image by Ibizarre from Fotolia.com)

In Great Britain there are 370 species listed as endangered by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as of June 2010. Half of those are thought to be declining in numbers. Well-known creatures such as the bumblebee, red squirrel and cuckoo are under threat of extinction in the near future. Since 1994 around 19 species have become extinct which include insects, lichens and sea anemone.

Large Blue Butterfly (Phengaris Arion)

Once inhabiting most of southern England, the large blue butterfly actually died out in the late 1970s. However, a project to re-establish them was successful and in 2000 they returned to areas near Glastonbury.

Shrill Carder Bumblebee (Bombus Sylvarum)

Bumblebees have faced huge problems in Britain in the last few decades due to a severe loss in flower-rich grassland. There are around 25 known types of bumblebee in the United Kingdom, and the most endangered is the shrill carder bee. The numbers of shrill carder declined by 75 per cent between 1970 and 1990.

Natterjack Toad (Epidalea Calamita)

Throughout the 20th century the natterjack toad had declined by 80 per cent due to pond acidification and the building of housing, golf courses and holiday parks. The natterjack is now protected by European and British law meaning it is currently illegal to capture or kill them or destroy their habitat.

Red Squirrel (Sciurus Vulgaris)

The red squirrel has been under threat ever since the grey squirrel arrived in Britain from North America at the end of the 19th century. The red squirrel can now mostly be found only in areas where there are no grey squirrels such as the Isle of Wight.

Skylark (Alauda Arvensis)

In 2010, skylark numbers were only 10 per cent of what they were 30 years previous according to the British Common Bird Census. In fact skylark numbers are declining all over Europe because of changes in farming practices. Cereals being grown in autumn instead of spring mean that skylarks find it much more difficult to source food in the winter fields.

White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes)

Despite several attempts to boost white-clawed crayfish numbers they have remained under threat due to the arrival of the signal crayfish. The American signal crayfish has been in Britain since the 1970s and carry toxins which kill off their British counterparts.

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