The number of British species under threat has almost doubled in a decade, with hedgehogs, house sparrows and starlings making the endangered list for the first time, a study has revealed.
LONDON - The number of British species under threat has almost doubled in a decade, with hedgehogs, house sparrows and starlings making the endangered list for the first time, a study has revealed.
The latest UK Biodiversity Action Plan showed almost 1,150 native species in 65 habitats are in danger around the country and in urgent need of special protection.
The numbers have almost doubled since the first action plan in 1997 which identified 577 endangered species.
Conservation groups said the increases were caused by several factors; most notably the reduction in food such as insects for birds caused by perfectly manicured gardens.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) warned the list was "cause for alarm".
Spokesman Grahame Madge called on all households to join the fight to save dying species.
"The fact the list has doubled shows that conversation needs a lot of help," he said. "It shows it is not just the rare (species) that are declining and in order to save them it demands everybody to help rescue them."
He said there should be no reason for many of the species identified in the list to be in danger.
For the first time species under threat include the grass snake, the hedgehog, Atlantic salmon, the European eel and the garden tiger moth.
Species remaining on the conservation action list include the skylark, otter, bottlenose dolphin and black grouse.
But since the 1997 list, 123 species have been removed including the Adonis blue butterfly, the pipistrelle bat and the ladybird spider -- whose numbers are at a 50-year high.
The authoritative list, published by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Tuesday, involved more than 500 wildlife experts, took more than two years to compile and aims to halt species loss by 2010.
Biodiversity minister Joan Ruddock said in a statement that helping save important eco-systems was "essential if we are to pass on a healthy environment to the next generation".
"Our climate is changing and it is therefore more important than ever that our conservation efforts help our important wildlife habitats to adapt and increase their chances of survival," she added.
She said the list would help the government focus resources on endangered species