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BBC Blame Climate Change For Mammal Extinctions–Official Report Says Otherwise

June 14, 2018
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood



h/t QV


The BBC have not let up on Project Climate Fear while I’ve been away!

But this news report, from what they laughingly call the Science and Environment section, must one of their worst distortions of an official report for a long while:



The red squirrel, the wildcat, and the grey long-eared bat are all facing severe threats to their survival, according to new research.

They are among 12 species that have been put on the first “red list” for wild mammals in Britain.

The Mammal Society and Natural England study said almost one in five British mammals was at risk of extinction.

Factors such as climate change, loss of habitat, use of pesticides and disease are to blame, the report said.

It said the hedgehog and water vole have seen their populations decline by almost 70% over the past 20 years.

However, it is good news for the otter, pine marten, polecat and badger, which have all seen their populations and geographical range spread.

The report is described as the first comprehensive review of the population of British mammals for 20 years.

Researchers examined more than 1.5m individual biological records of 58 species of terrestrial mammal.

They looked at whether their numbers were going up or down, the extent of their range, if there were any trends, and what their future prospects were.

The species have been ranked using the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria, which is used to compile the global list of threatened species.

A species that makes it on to the “red list” means it is called “threatened” and it faces becoming extinct within the next decade.

The highest threat category is “critically endangered.” Three species were given this status: the wildcat, the greater mouse-eared bat, and the black rat.

The next highest threat level is “endangered”. Listed here is the red squirrel, along with the beaver, water vole and grey long-eared bat.

The third-highest threat category is “vulnerable”. The hedgehog, the hazel dormouse, Orkney vole, serotine bat and barbastelle bat are included in this list.

Prof Fiona Mathews, chairwoman of the Mammal Society said: “This is the first time anyone has looked across all species for about 20 years.

“Now obviously we’re living in a country that’s changing enormously – we’re building new homes, new roads, new railways, agriculture’s changing – so it’s really important we have up to date information so we can plan how we’re going to conserve British wildlife.”

John Gurnell, emeritus professor of ecology at Queen Mary University of London said the study was important.

“It’s the first time since the 90s that we’ve assessed the status of all 58 species of terrestrial mammal in Great Britain,” he said.

“I think it provides us a launching pad for going forward in working out what to do in trying to conserve species in the country where necessary.”

The species reported as increasing in number were the otter, pine marten, polecat and badger along with red and roe deer, the greater and lesser horseshoe bat, and beaver and wild boar.

Prof Mathews called it a “mixed picture”.

“Some species are doing well, so carnivores, for example, like polecats and pine martens, they seem to be bouncing back,” she said.

“Probably because they’re not being persecuted in the way that they were in the past.

“On the other hand we have species that tend to need quite specialised habitat like the grey long-eared bat or the dormouse where population numbers are really going down.

“So what we need to do is find ways in which we can make sure that all British wildlife is prospering.”


So, climate change is one of the main factors putting British mammals at risk, indeed maybe the major factor, given that the BBC put it first on the list.

But what does the report actually say?

Of course, we won’t actually see a 20% reduction in mammal populations, simply 20% less species.

According to the report, there are 58 species of British mammals, of which 12 have been listed as at risk. Many of these have been on the list for a long while, such as the red squirrel and the poor greater mouse-eared bat, of which there is apparently only one little bugger left.

But where does climate change fit in?

In the three-page Executive Summary, there is literally just one mention of “climate”:




Hardly a ringing endorsement of the BBC’s wild claim.

The twelve listed species at risk are:

Critically Endangered


Greater mouse-eared bat

Black rat


Red squirrel


Water vole

Grey long-eared bat




Hazel dormouse

Orkney vole

Serotine bat

Barbastelle bat


Each species has its own status page. Of the above twelve, the only mentions of “climate” are:






So, to sum up:

1) Hazel dormouse – they are not clear whether climate change will make things better or worse.

2) Greater mouse-eared bat – if somehow the last devil finds a mate, climate conditions should improve, as for all bats.

3) Serotine bat – potentially vulnerable to “poor summer weather” (which obviously we’ve never had before!). However, the report’s claim is a strange one, because elsewhere they note that warmer summers will help by providing greater food availability, for instance for the yellow-necked mouse:



How the BBC can interpret this as meaning that climate change is one of the main factors behind one in five British mammals being at risk of extinction is beyond my comprehension.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    June 14, 2018 6:10 pm

    This is more scary stuff. When one looks at the number of mammals or other species that have actually gone extinct in the last 100 years it is very few, less than 150. The majority of those were caused by a few humans as hunters and not by the CO2 that they added. Using species that are considered “endangered” is sleight-of-hand” science. And drawing conclusions from climate model projections adds to the absurdity.

  2. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 14, 2018 6:30 pm

    There are lies, damned lies and the BBC.

    • June 14, 2018 6:46 pm

      Is that true, or did you hear it on the BBC?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 15, 2018 1:03 pm

        Russia Today? More trustworthy? Pravda?

  3. quaesoveritas permalink
    June 14, 2018 6:37 pm

    To be fair to the BBC, I think it is the Mammal Society themselves who are exaggerating the “climate change” aspect of this. While the report itself hardy mentions it, and at least once suggesting that it may be of benefit, the societies website puts it first in the list of problems.
    I have asked the society to provide evidence but as yet I have had no reply.
    I can only assume that including “climate change”, rather than merely “bad weather”, will get them more donations from the public.
    Personally I would not donate to a society that falsifies the situation in this manner.

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      June 14, 2018 6:38 pm

      And of course, including “climate change”, guaranties publicity from the BBC.

  4. Mike Jackson permalink
    June 14, 2018 6:37 pm

    Does nobody have the wit to look at the obvious?

    As someone has been a regular canaller since the mid-70s I have watched the decline of the water vole alongside the increase in feral mink and the proliferation along the waterways of metal campshedding.

    I suspect the otter doesn’t need to submit a plea of ‘not guilty’ either.

    As for badgers v hedgehogs, I’m appalled, I really am. Appalled at the level of ignorance that cannot see the certain correlation and almost certain causation between the rise and fall of those two.

    And will some eminent zoologist who still has his marbles come forward to explain that a temperature variation of a fraction of a degree over a century or more (especially upwards!) is not going to cause any British mammal to go extinct.

    Talk about fake news! How about outright lying?!

    • June 14, 2018 7:00 pm

      The Telegraph today has a piece speculating about the link between badgers and hedgehogs, but also my road has changed drastically over the last decade, from one with small houses and big gardens, to one with blocks of flats and no gardens.

      I wonder what the rapidly expanding red kite population feeds on.

      My local nature reserve lost a mother owl recently, probably to one of the large birds of prey that it encourages.

      • bobn permalink
        June 15, 2018 12:44 am

        The principle food of red kites is earth worms. They are a weak, scavenger bird and dont kill anything but the smallest of prey. crows kill bigger animals. kites are doing well eating road kill (and becoming it), discarded human refuse (a la seagulls do) and worms. We now shave the grass nice and short so the worms cant hide – perfect for kites – kites dont like long grass. Kites are also now adept at following tractors ploughing and mowing (as are seagulls and buzzards)

      • John Palmer permalink
        June 15, 2018 7:10 am

        Where we live in South Oxfordshire is ‘Red Kite Central’. It is commonplace to see up to ten in the sky at a time. We see them predating rookeries for the unfledged young and taking baby ducks, coots, moorhens etc off the water. They are cited as main reason for the decline here of hares by taking the youngsters from the (above ground) nests. They chase the young pheasant, partridge and lapwing too. I’ve seen one successfully fighting a barn owl for its prey.
        True, they aren’t in the buzzard/crow/fox league as predators, but believe me, they’re working on it.
        Whilst not for one minute advocating any control of kites, I and many others wish that the RSPB and their chums would acknowledge that kites are not just harmless carrion-eaters. There is a darker side to them especially when -as around here the population is in high double figures. We have two nests within 500 metres and apart from an occasional squirrel the only road-kill is badger or muntjac. They must be able to survive on fresh air when no ploughing is going on!
        Just sayin’.

      • paul weldon permalink
        June 15, 2018 8:27 am

        Greetings, John Palmer. Now an ex-pat, I grew up in Wallingford in the 1950s/60s and remember as a young ornithologist the area well. Kites did not exist in the area then, and Magpies and Jays were also uncommon. Most larger farms had a game-keeper, and such scavenging birds were shot or trapped to prevent their predation on young pheasant/partridge. Together with changes in agricultural practices, this has brought about a significant change in the wildlife of the area. On my occasional trips back ”home” it is noticeable how sterile the countryside has become, compared to 50 years ago. It is therefore no wonder that many species are in decline. Certainly the Kites are a beauty to behold, but have often wondered of their impact on other species, How you consider their re-introduction is very subjective, but I wonder, now that their numbers have increased whether it was wise without considering that they have no natural predators and are protected.

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      June 14, 2018 7:23 pm

      I don’t know why there isn’t a campaign to eradicate the mink in Britain.

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        June 14, 2018 9:02 pm

        I think there is. I believe it is classified as a pest, but I’m not sure.

      • bobn permalink
        June 15, 2018 12:47 am

        yes mink classified as pest but no effort put into trapping it. Bigger predator of waterfowl is otters and foxes – hence decline in swans as otters (protected pest) now wipeout their young, and fox control has been outlawed.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      June 14, 2018 7:45 pm

      Hedgehogs are slaughtered en-mass on our roads.
      As for eradicating Mink? My word, the ALF would be up in arms, they’re the silly buggers, who released Mink from fur farms, of course!

      • John Palmer permalink
        June 15, 2018 7:44 am

        In polite response to some other comments… yes, mink are classified as vermin, but as with grey squirrels there’s just too many of them to make eradication a realistic proposition. Mink are by far the major reason for the drastic fall of the water vole population.
        No, fox control is not outlawed at all. Hunting them with dogs is. All other legal and humane control methods are still available to landowners/users wishing or needing to do so. It’s debatable whether fox hunting was really about control per se. There are many more effective measures.
        Otters (like kites).are another double-edged sword but the situation will probably settle down as the indigenous wildlife adapts to their return (after all, otters were until fairly recently, indigenous). Owners of enclosed fisheries can protect them albeit at considerable cost. Don’t know enough about their effects on waterfowl but we have a resident dog otter here and the local wildfowl are breeding successfully.
        There is a very large badger population around here – and very small populations of hedgehogs and ground nesting bees, particularly bumblebees. Coincidence?
        Added to all that the impact that we have on our countryside with industrial scale agriculture, water abstraction/pollution and development makes a fraction of a degree change in our climate is pretty-well insignificant.

    • Mack permalink
      June 14, 2018 9:36 pm

      In my home village in Eastern England, a decade ago, we had one badger sett and an abundance of hedgehogs. There have been no habitat changes over the same time frame. Except, we now have approx 15 badger setts and no hedgehogs. Just a coincidence, obviously. If any of our green tinged friends have actually heard or witnessed the night time ordeal of hedgehogs being eaten alive by badgers from the belly up, they might just change their minds as to how cuddly and lovely they are. Not something we are likely to see on BBC nature programmes anytime soon methinks. And that’s just the hedgehogs. Ground nesting birds fair equally dismally with a preponderance of badgers in the locality. Mink, as Mike Jackson rightly pointed out, have decimated water vole populations alongside hard engineering impacts on many waterways, and the indiscriminate re-introduction of otters has not only destroyed fish populations in rivers and lakes, but laid waste to juvenile populations of wildfowl. ‘Climate Change’ has bugger all to do with mammal extinctions in the norther hemisphere. Man fiddling with Mother Nature is a much more likely and believable suspect.

      • George Lawson permalink
        June 15, 2018 8:26 am

        Once again, all these ‘extinction’ problems seem to come about through man interfering with our wild life balance through introducing or re introducing species. The Red Kite has rapidly become a pest in the South Oxfordshire area in addition to their predation of wildlife in the area. The re introduction of the otter, mink, and other extinct species all have their downside in the way they affect the rest of the wildlife balance. Wolves, if they are reintroduced to Scotland will also have a hidden negative imposition on the rest of wildlife in the country.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      June 15, 2018 8:02 am

      The BBC has shown several items over the last couple of years showing polecats and Martens catching grey Squirrels but being unable to catch Reds which are smaller and quicker.
      As for beaver, a species reintroduced illegally less than 10 years ago, the population is showing a massive increase.
      Mink are a problem but I’ve read that returning Otters tend to replace them and watervoles return in those circumstances. You could say that canals have only become their habitat in the last 200 or so years as have drainage channels. Not that that is a reason to deprive them of it now.

  5. June 14, 2018 6:51 pm

    There are four species of bat on the list. The biggest killers of bats are wind turbines.

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      June 14, 2018 7:24 pm

      Have you any evidence to back that up?

      • June 14, 2018 7:42 pm

        “Many pressures on bat populations still remain, including roost and habitat loss, increased urbanisation, impacts of artificial lighting, and wind turbines, where they have been installed and managed inappropriately.”

        No mention of CC, from here:

      • Joe Public permalink
        June 14, 2018 8:14 pm

        Does this count as ‘evidence’:

        Hundreds of bat deaths at wind farms could be prevented, finds new research

        Hundreds of bat deaths at on-shore windfarms in the UK could be prevented by better risk assessments and simple changes to the operation of turbines, according to a study by academics at the University of Exeter.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        June 15, 2018 10:50 am

        Simple changes in operation = Turn them off at dusk just about the time solar goes off.
        That would be interesting.

  6. June 14, 2018 7:00 pm

    Species compete between themselves for food. When one adapts well to changes, another suffers.
    There is an artificial splitting of species and locations. I am sure that worldwide, squirrels as a group are not at risk.

  7. Michael permalink
    June 14, 2018 7:16 pm

    But I’ve seen bbc programs stating the reduction of red squirrels is due to competition from rufty tufty grey squirrels, hmm, which is right? I live in France, it’s warmer than britain and there’s loads of reds here, but no one was dumb enough (yet) to introduce greys. I think that suggests warmer temperatures are a non starter for those furry creatures. Can’t comment on the others.

    • mikewaite permalink
      June 14, 2018 8:02 pm

      BBC’s own nature programmes have ever commented that grey squirrels carry , and communicate, a disease to which they are immune , but red squirrels are not.

  8. quaesoveritas permalink
    June 14, 2018 7:17 pm

    The issue isn’t whether some species are at risk, (I am sure most would agree with that) but whether “climate change” is the major (or indeed a minor) factor.

  9. CheshireRed permalink
    June 14, 2018 7:54 pm

    Let’s take a closer look.

    * Hazel dormouse: Climate change MAY cause a change in food…..
    * Greater mouse-eared bat: However there is POTENTIAL for climate change to…..
    * Serotine bat: Climate change owing to POTENTIAL variability…..
    * Drivers of change: Climate change MAY permit range…..

    So absolutely nothing definitive, but lots and lots of ‘could’, may’, potential and the like. In plain English those subtle qualifiers actually mean they have NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER. Sadly no evidence doesn’t make for a good story nor grab the next pay cheque, so here we are, yet again, reading unadulterated tripe. Seriously, where’s our own Donald Trump?

    • paul weldon permalink
      June 15, 2018 7:59 am

      I noticed the same . but an even closer look reveals that for the first species, the text states that the net direction is UNCLEAR. For the second species it states: there is the potential for climate change to make conditions MORE SUITABLE (in other words CC has a positive effect). For the third species, it states that CC may have a negative effect through poor summers. This is the opposite to what the text states for the fourth species, where CC may help because of warmer summers. Well, you cant have both, and for the last species the effect of CC is positive. SO apart from the ifs and maybes, if anything CC has a potentially positive effect.
      I cant remember seeing a reference to climate change that was so obviously false. BBC, you should feel totally ashamed of this report, to the extent that heads must roll….

      • CheshireRed permalink
        June 15, 2018 12:35 pm

        Good spot. So basically CC is a magic thing that does everything for every type of weather and is bad even if it’s good. Quite remarkable.

  10. June 14, 2018 8:00 pm

    I suspect Dodgy Statistics 101 here, given how hard it is to count these critters. People on the radio today were calling for more volunteers, i.e. we don’t really know current populations, let alone those of 20 years ago. Studies like this have to find something alarming, its the conservationists business model, how easy it must be to highlight species with poor data.

  11. Ian Cunningham permalink
    June 14, 2018 8:23 pm

    The Orkney vole is now vulnerable because we unfortunately now have stoats on Orkney.

  12. Gamecock permalink
    June 14, 2018 8:37 pm

    The UK is a Köppen Cfb climate zone. Period. It has had no climate change. Suggestions to the contrary are delusion or intentional fabrication. BBC prays on the ignorance of the public. The public gets information from the BBC. Funny how that works.

  13. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 14, 2018 9:27 pm

    How can the Beaver be listed as endangered, it’s only recently been recklessly reintroduced by ‘re-wilding’ fools hasn’t it?

    Some creatures we are honestly better off without, or at least a very low managed population, like beavers, otters, badgers, foxes, grey squirrels, wood pigeons, magpies…….

    With most of these at risk animals it takes a mere amateur a few seconds to asses the main risks.

    e.g. Wildcat – domestic/feral cats interbreeding and disease and human killing.

    e.g. Red Squirrel – Grey Squirrel plague (in both senses) and isolated population overcrowded causing inbreeding and disease transmission.

    And it takes only seconds to confirm with non-political sources not obsessed with climate change that these are correct.

    And surely the Black Rat is a pest and not native anyway?

  14. June 14, 2018 10:06 pm

    Media rule
    : If a report says CC is “ONE of the causes” of something you should report as “is THE cause”
    Today : Moths
    \\ Climate change brings new species of moth to Scotland
    All media report something similar
    Its CC & trade and probably not the former really, but see how the headline is easily abbreviated.
    “30 new species of moths”
    ..probably cos they looking more and can more easily distinguish, whereas before just assumed it was the old species.

    • martinbrumby permalink
      June 14, 2018 10:18 pm

      Hard to say, once twatted with my shoe.

  15. martinbrumby permalink
    June 14, 2018 10:16 pm

    Never mind these furry critters.
    What about the poor old Smallpox virus?
    Exterminated! Will no-one shed a tear?
    No doubt Climater Change dun it.

    • June 15, 2018 11:12 am

      I thought the very same thing. When will some loon bemoan the deliberate demise of the Smallpox virus? How about polio virus also? It must be on the endangered list.

  16. Europeanonion permalink
    June 15, 2018 8:01 am

    Errant nonsense. It’s a case of choose your favourite evil. I choose housing development and Green Belt destruction, the loss of habitat is the cause of animal extinction. When there are so many specialised creatures formed by evolution to fill gaps and to take advantage, what do we poor ignorant souls that we are, know about what we are currently destroying? The issue may come down to something as simple as the loss of a particular food source.

    One of the chief methods by which nature can be destroyed is to set aside land in a land bank, have all sorts of creatures, plants start to colonise that area, it will be a magnet left to its own devices and soon bring in all those things straining to survive elsewhere, the loss of surface water or the increase in atmospheric temperature brought about by such heat storage facilities as tarmac, bricks and mortar. Then, one day, the developer, moves and destroys it all at one go taking with it next year’s seeds, eggs, chrysalis pupa. What was a dependency and a future removed in one go. Yes, I choose human expansion and land development.

  17. June 15, 2018 11:24 am

    And now a word about the British furry mammalian critters from your West Virginia botanist.

    Allow me to use the example of the polar bear, which I admit is not found within your confines. As a species, the polar bear is estimated to be about 4 million years old. Therefore, the polar bear has survived a number of glacial-interglacial episodes during the past million years, not to mention the 3 prior.

    Logic and the little phrase we botanists–at least those of us who have not succumbed to man-caused global climate change–use is that the species are “genetically predisposed”. Or to say it another way: “if you survived it once, you have the genetic materials to survive it again.”

    I will go out on a limb and pronounce that all of these little fur-balls have survived one or more advances of glacial ice sheets FOLLOWED by WARMING. And that warming was sometimes rapid. We hear of the mega-fauna demise. Where are the fossil examples of all the little fur-balls which succumbed during those episodes?

  18. David Bishop permalink
    June 20, 2018 7:26 am

    A connected piece of realism from the ever-excellent Donna Laframboise:

  19. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 22, 2018 9:38 pm

    Windfarm expansion threatening crucial wildcat habitat.

    The circle of madness is complete. The solution to ‘extinction’ will cause the ‘extinction’!

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