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This Week in Biodiversity News – 6th October 2021

Hana Ketley
Hana Ketley

The UK commits an additional £7.2 million to support projects that tackle the illegal wildlife trade. The UK government has awarded funding to 17 projects around the world that protect vulnerable species, including pangolins, Bengal tigers and rosewood trees.

The US declares 23 species, including the ivory-billed woodpecker, extinct. The US Fish and Wildlife Services have announced that the species declared extinct include 11 birds, eight freshwater mussels, two fish, one bat and one plant. A 60-day public comment period is taking place, allowing scientists and members of the public to provide any relevant information to the Fish and Wildlife Services before the final ruling.

An endangered beetle may benefit from new habitat creation in Norfolk. The tansy beetle exists in only three sites in the UK, one of which is in the Welney Wetland Centre in Norfolk. It is hoped that changes to the reserve will provide more suitable habitat to help increase the population of this endangered beetle.

The UK may not be on track to meet its emissions targets. The UK government has a target to cut emissions by 78% by 2035, compared with 1990 levels, to reach net-zero by 2050. A group of experts have advised that the government policies in place may only deliver about a fifth of this cut.

Several of Australia’s native bees meet IUCN criteria to be listed as threatened. A team of scientists have assessed the impact of the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020 on 553 native bee species. They found at least 9 species met the IUCN Red List category criteria for Vulnerable and two that are eligible for the Endangered category.

Climate change academics from some of the regions worst hit by warming are struggling to be published. According to a study looking at around 1,300 authors involved in 100 of the most highly cited climate research papers over the past five years, 90% were affiliated with academic institutions from North America, Europe or Australia. Less than 1% of these authors were based in Africa and only 12 of the papers had a female lead researcher. This suggests that key perspectives are being ignored.