Mediterrean wildlife in peril

The latest assessment of Mediterranean mammals by the IUCN has found that one in six are threatened with extinction at a regional level. The study, which assesses the status of 320 mammals in the region, except whales and dolphins, finds three percent are Critically Endangered, five percent are Endangered and eight percent are Vulnerable.

Agriculture affects 65 percent of threatened mammals, hunting and trapping 60 percent, and invasive species 50 percent. Overall, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of Mediterranean mammals have declining populations, 31 percent are stable, while for a further 40 percent the population trend is unknown. Only three percent of species populations are increasing, often due to conservation action, according to the study.

Mammal biodiversity is greatest in mountainous parts of the region, with particularly high concentrations of threatened species found in the mountains of Turkey, the Levant, and north-west Africa. Although the Sahara has relatively low species richness, a high proportion of Saharan species are threatened.

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