Almost one in five British mammals faces a high risk of extinction according to a new report by the Mammal Society and Natural England.
Among the species at risk are the Red Squirrel, Water Vole and Hedgehog. The population declines in many of these species have already been well publicised, but this review also highlights a downward trend in the Rabbit population, and a lack of knowledge of the current status of species such as the House Mouse and Brown Rat. There is some good news however; five species have increased in numbers in the last 20 years, including the Otter, which is now present along all main rivers in Essex.
The causes of these population declines will vary according to species, but climate change, loss of habitat, the use of pesticides and road deaths are all putting pressure on native mammal populations. The Mammal Society is now calling for more research to be carried out urgently, particularly into more common species such as rabbits and moles, to get a clearer picture of population trends.
More information about the review can be found on the Mammal Society website.