The Most Threatened Creatures in the UK - and Why They Are Under Threat
Some creatures are more threatened than others. In the UK alone, approximately 130 species are considered to be under threat of becoming extinct. As a result, the government has introduced numerous schemes and initiatives to protect these threatened animal species. These endangered animals may not leave us with much time left to take action; that’s why it’s so important that you know about them and what can be done to help protect them from going extinct. So let’s dive in and look at the most threatened creatures in the UK and why they are under threat.
Endangered Creatures in the UK
An endangered species is any plant or animal species whose numbers have become reduced to the extent that they are in danger of becoming extinct. The species may be endangered due to excessive hunting, loss of habitat or climate change, or a combination of these factors.
There are a number of species in the UK that are considered to be endangered, and many of these are marine species. The main reasons for species loss and endangerment can be attributed to habitat loss, overexploitation, pollution, climate change, invasive species, and disease. The creatures listed below are all considered to be at risk of becoming extinct within the UK.
The European Otter
The European Otter is one of the most threatened mammals in the UK, with the population having declined by over 90% in the last 100 years. With only around 1000 otters left in the UK, this species is on the brink of extinction. The otter population has been decimated by hunting and the destruction of their habitats. These otters currently have limited access to suitable breeding habitats and are therefore unable to produce enough young to replace their numbers, which has led to a dramatic decline in the population.
The Great British Toad
The Great British Toad is a common species of toad that is endemic to the UK. The toad’s numbers have declined by more than 80% in the last 30 years due to an increase in parasites, a reduction in suitable breeding habitats, and increased mortality rates. The toad’s population has been hit particularly hard due to the arrival of the New Forest Parasite and the loss of breeding grounds due to human development. Toads typically breed in ponds, which are being lost due to urban development. Toads also rely on a certain type of soil to breed, and many of the UK’s ponds are being re-seeded with unsuitable soil.
The Brown Hare
The Brown Hare is a common species of hare that is found throughout the UK and Europe. Hare numbers have declined due to a loss of suitable habitat, increased use of pesticides, and more frequent and severe weather events. Hares are a species that depend on a certain type of habitat to survive, and the destruction and re-seeding of these habitats means that the hare population is struggling to survive. Also, hares have a very low breeding rate, which means that it takes a long time for populations to recover from losses and threats. The population of hares in the UK has declined by over 50% in the last 15 years, mainly because of changes in land use. Many of the farmers who used to breed hares for food have stopped, and they have been replaced by more urban developments.
The Lake Chub is a native species of fish that is found in the UK’s freshwater lakes and rivers. Lake chub numbers have declined by 90% in the last 40 years, mainly due to the introduction of non-native fish species, including the Carp and the Rainbow Trout. These non-native species, which are often bred for sport fishing, eat the chub’s eggs and eat the chub themselves. Carps also alter the water ecosystem by releasing large amounts of nitrogen, which can lead to algal blooms in the water and reduced oxygen levels, making it harder for chub to survive.
The Chub is a species that has been under threat since the 1970s, when the government introduced a scheme to encourage the fishing industry by introducing non-native species into lakes and rivers.
The Small Blue Butterfly
The Small Blue Butterfly is a species of blue butterfly that is found in England and Wales. This species of butterfly is now believed to be extinct in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The decline in the Small Blue Butterfly population has been a result of a reduction in the amount of wildflower habitats, due to both man-made changes and the effects of climate change. The disappearance of the butterfly’s favourite nectar sources, due to a mix of urban development and changing weather patterns, has led to drastic population losses.
The Small Blue Butterfly is a species at risk of extinction, and it is thought that the last remaining colonies that can be found in the UK are located in the coastal town of Clevedon.
The Turtle Dove and the Hen Harrier
The Turtle Dove is a species of bird that is found in the UK. The decline in the population of Turtle Doves has been largely attributed to habitat loss, particularly the removal of woodland areas used for breeding. The decline in woodland areas has been caused by a loss of suitable habitats for grazing, due to a reduction in the numbers of farmers breeding livestock, as well as an increase in the use of pesticides that kill off species that feed on the ground, like worms and insects.
The use of pesticides has also caused an increase in the amount of pests including rats, stoats, and moths, which have fed off the eggs of Turtle Doves and led to a dramatic decline in the population of this species.
The Hen Harrier is a species of bird that is found in the UK, with it being the rarest and most threatened species of harrier in the UK. This species of bird has been under threat due to the destruction of its habitats, particularly the heathlands it inhabits. The use of pesticides on a large scale has also been a contributing factor to the decline in the population of Hen Harriers.
Bats are an important component of ecosystems in the UK, consuming large amounts of insects. Unfortunately, they have been under threat from various factors, such as habitat loss, the use of pesticides, and the invasion of pathogens.
Bats feed on insects, including some agricultural pests, and therefore are very important in controlling the numbers of pests in the UK. Unfortunately, pesticides used on farms have been very harmful to bats, with an estimated 80% of UK bat species being affected by pesticides. Many of the threats faced by bats in the UK can be attributed to human activities, including alterations of land use and the destruction of habitats, as well as climate change. Bats are very sensitive to changes in weather patterns and temperatures, which can disrupt their feeding and breeding habits.
Bats and other species of wildlife are important not just to the ecosystem, but to us as well. Bats, in particular, are considered to be a species that is extremely beneficial to humans, as they consume large amounts of crop pests every night. Even though it is important to protect all these endangered species, it is also important to ensure that efforts are made to protect the ecosystems they inhabit. It is important to take care to ensure that the species is protected but that the habitats where they live are not destroyed in the process.