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One-sixth of Europe’s mammals face extinction

May 29, 2007
Quote: But there are some success stories. The Alpine ibex, which was hunted almost to extinction during the nineteenth century, has now rebounded to number more than 30,000. And the European bison, which for much of the past century was only found in zoos, now roams in herds across much of eastern Europe.
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The arctic fox is now classed as ‘critically endangered’.

One-sixth of Europe’s mammal species are threatened with extinction, according to a comprehensive survey by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Unless the trend is reversed, conservationists fear that the European Union will not be able to meet its self-imposed target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010.
Of the roughly 250 mammal species that live in Europe and western Russia, some 15% are classed as ‘vulnerable’ or worse, according to the IUCN’s criteria. This means that they face a “high risk of extinction in the wild” if action is not taken.
Worst affected is the handful of European mammals classed as ‘critically endangered’, the most serious category. The Iberian lynx, for example, is the world’s most endangered big cat — only an estimated 150 are thought to remain. The Arctic fox and European mink face similar plights.
“The situation in the tropics is even worse.”
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