Hedgehogs now endangered

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The Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), a document compiled by more than 500 wildlife experts and one of the most highly respected reference sources on UK endangered wildlife, has included hedgehogs and house sparrows among species requiring protection. The number of endangered species has doubled since the first BAP was launched in 1997.

Hedgehogs are now threatened by urbanisation

However, the latest figures show that certain species have benefited from their inclusion on the original BAP list. Numbers of ladybird spiders and lady’s slipper orchids have increased. Biodiversity Minister Joan Ruddock said the updated list and action plan would help shape the government’s conservation policy: “The new list will help us target our resources and efforts where they are needed, and demonstrates our commitment to publish new priorities, targets and plans for halting biodiversity loss by 2010.”

Mark Avery, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)’s conservation director, said that the results of the study were worrying: “The fact that the bird list now includes more than a fifth of all the UK’s regularly occurring birds is a cause for alarm.” Both starlings and sparrows, which used to be very common in the UK, now require additional protection due to decreasing populations.

A University of London study, also published on Tuesday, highlighted the decline in the UK’s hedgehog population, and listed tidier gardens and urbanisation as key factors affecting them.

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