Sixty per cent of 3,148 UK species assessed have declined over the past 50 years and 31 per cent “declined strongly”, according to the State of Nature report, compiled by scientists and wildlife organisations, which was published last week.

The report assessed more than 6,000 species using modern Red List criteria, which revealed that more than one in 10 of these were under threat of extinction in the UK.

The report’s introduction states: “It is well accepted that there were considerable (albeit largely unquantified) declines in the UK’s wildlife prior to the past 50 years, linked to habitat loss.” It describes the threats as “many and varied, the most severe acting either to destroy valuable habitat or degrade the quality of what remains”.

Other threats listed include invasive non-native species, human disturbance and pollution.

But there were some species that bucked the trend, with dramatic increases in the tufted duck, collared dove, fulmars, common gulls, jackdaws and woodpigeon.

The rest of this article appears in the 29th May issue of Shooting Times.

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