Half of the UK’s butterflies are endangered or near threatened

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LONDON (AFP) – On Wednesday, an organization to protect these insects that suffer from the effects of climate change and pollution warned that half of the UK’s butterflies are on the verge of extinction.

Four of the 62 species assessed are already regionally extinct, the NGO Butterfly Conservation has denounced.

Of the remaining 58 species, 24 are listed as critically endangered, listed as critically endangered or likely to become extinct in the UK and another five are listed as near threatened.

The situation has worsened since the last assessment conducted in 2011, with five other species at risk of extinction, which represents an increase of 26%.

“It is shocking that half of the UK’s remaining butterfly species are listed as threatened or near threatened on the new Red List,” said Richard Fox, chief scientist at the Butterfly Conservation.

He stressed that “even before this reassessment, British butterflies were among the most endangered species of butterflies in Europe.”

Reasons for this decline include nitrogen pollution from agriculture and climate change.

On the plus side, some of the UK’s endangered species, such as the polka-dot anteater (Phengaris arion), which became extinct in the country in 1979 but was reintroduced, and the Middle Eastern pearl (Fabrisiana adip), are no longer present. Endangered thanks to the implementation of conservation programmes.

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