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quarter of Europe's amphibians under threat

quarter of Europe's amphibians under threat

Almost a quarter of Europe's amphibians and one fifth of its reptiles are under threat, new research shows.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) European Red Lists for amphibians and reptiles were released today and reveal "alarming" statistics on current population trends.

The figures show more than half of all European amphibians (59 per cent) and 42 per cent of reptiles are in decline, meaning they are even more at risk within the continent than mammals and birds.

The IUCN claims the majority of pressure on the declining species comes from the destruction of their natural habitats by human, as well as climate change, pollution and the presence of invasive species.

Co-author of the study and programme officer for the IUCN Red List Unit, Dr Helen Temple, comments: "Southern Europe is particularly rich in amphibians but climate change and other threats are placing its freshwater habitats under severe stress.

"Natural habitats across Europe are being squeezed by growing human populations, agricultural intensification, urban sprawl and pollution. That is not good news for either amphibians or reptiles."

Stavros Dimas, European commissioner for the environment, said the figures revealed a need to rethink the current relationship between humans and the natural world.

Europe is home to 151 species of reptiles and 85 species of amphibians, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

At present, six reptile species have been classified as 'critically endangered', meaning that they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. Eleven more are classified as 'endangered', meaning they face a very high risk of extinction in the wild, and ten are seen as 'vulnerable', meaning they face a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Among amphibians, two species have been classified as 'critically endangered', five are endangered, and 11 vulnerable.

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