By Paul Homewood
The BBC have not let up on Project Climate Fear while I’ve been away!
But this news report, from what they laughingly call the Science and Environment section, must one of their worst distortions of an official report for a long while:
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 Britain.
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 comprehensive review of the population of British mammals for 20 years.
Researchers examined more than 1.5m individual biological records of 58 species of terrestrial mammal.
They looked at whether their numbers were going up or down, the extent of their range, if there were any trends, and what their future prospects were.
The species have been ranked using the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria, which is used to compile the global list of threatened species.
A species that makes it on to the “red list” means it is called “threatened” and it faces becoming extinct within the next decade.
The highest threat category is “critically endangered.” Three species were given this status: the wildcat, the greater mouse-eared bat, and the black rat.
The next highest threat level is “endangered”. Listed here is the red squirrel, along with the beaver, water vole and grey long-eared bat.
The third-highest threat category is “vulnerable”. The hedgehog, the hazel dormouse, Orkney vole, serotine bat and barbastelle bat are included in this list.
Prof Fiona Mathews, chairwoman of the Mammal Society said: “This is the first time anyone has looked across all species for about 20 years.
“Now obviously we’re living in a country that’s changing enormously – we’re building new homes, new roads, new railways, agriculture’s changing – so it’s really important we have up to date information so we can plan how we’re going to conserve British wildlife.”
John Gurnell, emeritus professor of ecology at Queen Mary University of London said the study was important.
“It’s the first time since the 90s that we’ve assessed the status of all 58 species of terrestrial mammal in Great Britain,” he said.
“I think it provides us a launching pad for going forward in working out what to do in trying to conserve species in the country where necessary.”
The species reported as increasing in number were the otter, pine marten, polecat and badger along with red and roe deer, the greater and lesser horseshoe bat, and beaver and wild boar.
Prof Mathews called it a “mixed picture”.
“Some species are doing well, so carnivores, for example, like polecats and pine martens, they seem to be bouncing back,” she said.
“Probably because they’re not being persecuted in the way that they were in the past.
“On the other hand we have species that tend to need quite specialised habitat like the grey long-eared bat or the dormouse where population numbers are really going down.
“So what we need to do is find ways in which we can make sure that all British wildlife is prospering.”
So, climate change is one of the main factors putting British mammals at risk, indeed maybe the major factor, given that the BBC put it first on the list.
But what does the report actually say?
Of course, we won’t actually see a 20% reduction in mammal populations, simply 20% less species.
According to the report, there are 58 species of British mammals, of which 12 have been listed as at risk. Many of these have been on the list for a long while, such as the red squirrel and the poor greater mouse-eared bat, of which there is apparently only one little bugger left.
But where does climate change fit in?
In the three-page Executive Summary, there is literally just one mention of “climate”:
Hardly a ringing endorsement of the BBC’s wild claim.
The twelve listed species at risk are:
Greater mouse-eared bat
Grey long-eared bat
Each species has its own status page. Of the above twelve, the only mentions of “climate” are:
So, to sum up:
1) Hazel dormouse – they are not clear whether climate change will make things better or worse.
2) Greater mouse-eared bat – if somehow the last devil finds a mate, climate conditions should improve, as for all bats.
3) Serotine bat – potentially vulnerable to “poor summer weather” (which obviously we’ve never had before!). However, the report’s claim is a strange one, because elsewhere they note that warmer summers will help by providing greater food availability, for instance for the yellow-necked mouse:
How the BBC can interpret this as meaning that climate change is one of the main factors behind one in five British mammals being at risk of extinction is beyond my comprehension.
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
June 14, 2018 at 12:59PM