One fifth of Europe's reptiles and nearly a quarter of its amphibians are threatened, according to new studies carried out by IUCN for the European Commission.
The studies, released on International Biodiversity Day, are the first European Red Lists for amphibians and reptiles, and reveal alarming population trends. More than half of all European amphibians (59 percent) and 42 percent of reptiles are in decline, which means that amphibians and reptiles are even more at risk than European mammals and birds.
For 23 percent of amphibians and 21 percent of reptiles the situation is so severe that they are classified as threatened in the European Red List. Most of the pressure on these declining species comes from mankind's destruction of their natural habitats, combined with climate change, pollution and the presence of invasive species.
Note: The European Red List species assessments will be available on the IUCN Red List web site from May 22, 2009 via the European portal under 'Initiatives' (or see www.iucnredlist.org/europe).