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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 05:45 GMT 06:45 UK
Bird threatened by climate change
Black grouse

A rare game bird which recently made a comeback in Wales could be wiped out by climate change in just 20 years, according to a new report.

Black grouse numbers dropped to 131 active males in 1997, but rose to 247 by 2005.

But the species faces extinction in Wales if global warming continues at the current rate, research suggests.

However, some wildlife, including the marsh fritillary butterfly, could benefit from a warmer climate.

The common scoter and song thrush are other bird species which could be "significantly worse off" in Wales from climate change.

Climate change is already a reality, and action must be taken now
Dr Clive Walmsley, CCW

Meanwhile, the greater horseshoe bat is expected to spread northwards, becoming more widely distributed across the country.

The report, which is a result of seven years of research, has been compiled by UK government agencies working with non-government agencies as part of the Monarch project (Modelling Natural Resource Responses to Climate Change).

It highlights areas in the UK where the climate is likely to become favourable or unfavourable for rare and threatened species and states that urgent action is needed to prevent the loss of some species.

Dr Clive Walmsley, from the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) said: "Climate change is already a reality, and action must be taken now if we are not to see a deeper decline in global biodiversity.

"We need new approaches to nature conservation which will not only help wildlife move around to a climate that suits them, but will also address the causes of climate change."

Greater Horse Shoe Bat, courtesy JJ Kaczanow/ Bat Conservation Trust
The greater horseshoe bat could become more widely distributed

Dr Walmsley said that protecting natural habitats would help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by retaining carbon.

"By helping wildlife, we will also be helping ourselves to live in a changing climate," he added.

Launching the report, the biodiversity minister for the UK Government, Barry Gardiner, said climate change was expected to be the most serious threat to biodiversity during the 21st Century.

"Without intervention, we risk losing the unique value and beauty of our plants and wildlife," he warned.

"Every person in this country can join in the effort to conserve the UK's biodiversity by reducing their carbon emissions.

"This could be as simple as not leaving TVs on standby or turning off lights when they are not being used.

"If we don't take action now, we risk losing vital resources that our natural environment provides which, in turn, can help us to combat the impacts of climate change."




SEE ALSO
Appeal to map 'rare' butterflies
14 May 07 |  Mid Wales
Hide reveals grouse mating habits
20 Apr 04 |  North East Wales
Move to protect rare bird
05 Dec 02 |  Wales

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