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human activity and the destruction of the planet


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More lost and endangered species are being reported

A new statistical analysis by Bird Life International has been reported by Patrick Barkham in The Guardian. It has confirmed that eight bird species are known to have become extinct this decade. Five species are from South America and their extinction has been caused by deforestation.  They include:

  • the Brazilian Spix’s macaw;
  • the poo-uli (black-faced honey creeper);
  • the pernambuco pygmy owl;
  • the cryptic treehunter;
  • Alagoas foliage gleaner.

Other extinctions have been small island species, vulnerable to hunting or invasive species.  90% of bird extinctions have been small-island species but now some species from large continents are disappearing.  See:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/04/first-eight-bird-extinctions-of-the-21st-century-confirmed?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Green+Light+2016&utm_term=285147&subid=2617869&CMP=EMCENVEML1631

poo-uli

The Poo-uli, last seen in Hawaii in 2004


In another painstaking study, it has been found that hedgehog numbers in the UK have declined by 80% since the 1950s.  This is thought to be due to intensive farming methods and increasing badger populations (badgers eat hedgehogs but both species can co-exist in the same habitat).  The study has been published in Nature: Scientific Reports – 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-30130-4

A number of rural sites were surveyed across England and Wales and, in many of them, no hedgehogs were found at all.  the South West of England seemed to be paricularly devoid of hedgehogs.

hedgehog map

The green dots in the map above show where hedgehogs were detected and the black dots where none were found; the large black spots identify the locations of badger setts.  The study was carried out by Ben M. Williams, Philip J. Baker, Emily Thomas, Gavin Wilson, Johanna Judge and Richard W. Yarnell.  Scientific Reports 8, Article Number 12156 (2018).

Damian Carrington of The Guardian has given a summary of this report:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/06/most-of-countryside-now-devoid-of-hedgehogs-study-finds?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Green+Light+2016&utm_term=285147&subid=2617869&CMP=EMCENVEML1631

Helping-hedgehogs-prepare-for-hibernation-min (2)

The endangered hedgehog



An article in Nature has shown that all widlife species have declined by 58% in the past four decades and predicts that by 2020, populations will have declined by two-thirds from 1970.

https://www.nature.com/news/wildlife-in-decline-earth-s-vertebrates-fall-58-in-past-four-decades-1.20898

Activities such as deforestation, poaching and human-induced climate change are in large part to blame for the decline, with the main decline due to habitat loss.