Encroaching development is the biggest threat to Europe’s wildlife

The first mammal in Europe to become extinct this millennium offers a stark reminder that the loss of habitat continues to threaten European wildlife, according to a WWF report.

The death of the last Pyrenian ibex, an antelope, in early January is highlighted in the World Wildlife Fund’s Species Alert! Natura 2000: a last chance for European biodiversity.

The NGO argues that the EC must enforce existing legislation to protect wildlife more stringently and that delays are resulting in species extinction. Currently, the EC is concerned that several EU member states have failed to designate enough land for species protection (see related story).

The report lists ten species that require immediate assistance if they are to survive. They are:

  • Iberian lynx
  • brown bear
  • harbour porpoise
  • monk seal
  • loggerhead sea turtle
  • Atlantic salmon
  • marsh fritillary butterfly
  • lady’s slipper orchid

“The constant erosion of the habitats upon which many animals and plants depend is one of the principal causes of the decline of key species found only in Europe,” says the WWF.

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