News That Matters

Tag: extinction

One in five UK mammals at risk of extinction

One in five UK mammals at risk of extinction

Science
The red squirrel, the wildcat, and the grey long-eared bat are all facing severe threats to their survival, according to new research.They are among 12 species that have been put on the first "red list" for wild mammals in the UK.The Mammal Society and Natural England study said almost one in five British mammals was at risk of extinction.Factors such as climate change, loss of habitat, use of pesticides and disease are to blame, the report said.It said the hedgehog and water vole have seen their populations decline by almost 70% over the past 20 years.However, it is good news for the otter, pine marten, polecat and badger, which have all seen their populations and geographical range spread. The report is described as the first ...
Bird pulled from brink of extinction facing poisoning threat

Bird pulled from brink of extinction facing poisoning threat

Science
The red kite has become more common in the UK in the past 30 years, thanks to conservation schemes.But, while numbers of the birds of prey are on the rise, scientists say human factors threaten to derail progress.Post-mortem tests on wild red kites found many had been poisoned by lead shot, rat poison or pesticides.The study, published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research, suggests poisoning of red kites may be slowing their rate of recovery in England.Dr Jenny Jaffe of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), who worked on the study, said birds of prey, and especially scavengers, would eat animals that contained lead shot, leading to lead poisoning.''That can be changed by changing the shot gun cartridges to non lead, which a lot of countries do,'' she told BBC News. ''And, there i...
Size matters when it comes to extinction risk

Size matters when it comes to extinction risk

Science
The biggest and the smallest of the world's animals are most at risk of dying out, according to a new analysis.Size matters when it comes to extinction risk, with vertebrates in the so-called "Goldilocks zone" - not too big and not too small - winning out, say scientists.Action is needed to protect animals at both ends of the scale, they say.Heavyweights are threatened mainly by hunting, while featherweights are losing out to pollution and logging. "The largest vertebrates are mostly threatened by direct killing by humans," said a team led by Prof Bill Ripple of Oregon State University in Corvallis, US."Whereas the smallest species are more likely to have restricted geographic ranges - an important predictor of extinction risk - and be threatened by habitat degradation."The research adds t...
Scared to extinction: Fear is powerful enough to wipe out a species, study shows

Scared to extinction: Fear is powerful enough to wipe out a species, study shows

Science
July 24 (UPI) -- New research highlights the immense power of fear. The emotion was strong enough to curb eating and reproduction among groups of fruit flies, increasing the likelihood of extinction.Scientists at Canada's McGill University exposed fruit flies to a pheromone produced by praying mantises, one of the species main predators. The smell was enough to inspire fear. Fruit flies exposed to the pheromone were most cautious. The flies also spent less time eating and reproducing, yielding fewer offspring.In the lab, fruit fly populations affected by fear quickly declined and were unable to rebound. The presence of a praying mantis' scent boosted the chance of extinction by a factor of seven.As prey numbers decline, predators should theoretically move onto other species. But the latest...