20 May 2009

“Sobering discovery” for Europe’s amphibians and reptiles

More than half of all European amphibians and two-fifths of all reptiles are disappearing, according to new studies commissioned by the European Commission and carried out by IUCN.

Announced today, the results are the first of their kind in Europe. They highlight alarming declines for a range of frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards. The study shows that of Europe’s 85 species of amphibian, 23% now feature on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Of 151 reptile species, 22% are on the Red List.

Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for the Environment, called it “a sobering discovery”.

“This reflects the enormous pressure we are placing on Europe’s plants and animals, and underlines the need to rethink our relation to the natural world,” he said. “These trends cannot continue.”

Dr Helen Temple, co-author of the study said: “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.”

The results will be presented on World Biodiversity Day, Friday 22nd May 2009.

For more details: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/redlist/