Saturday, 30 June 2012

Rare mussels almost 'wiped out'

The largest population in English waters of an endangered species of mollusc has almost been destroyed.
Insect charity Buglife has called for an inquiry after the death of up to 90% of the freshwater pearl mussels at the Ennerdale Water Reservoir in Cumbria.
It is thought that water levels in the outflow of the reservoir fell, causing the temperature to go up and oxygen levels to go down.
"This is devastating news," said Buglife chief executive Matt Shardlow.
About 80,000 freshwater mussels were lost in this single instance, out of an estimated total population in England and Scotland of about 12m, according to Buglife.
Mr Shardlow compared the loss to wiping out a medium-sized city in the UK, in human terms.
The species is protected under UK and international legislation.
"The UK supports a large proportion of the world population for this species and we have an international responsibility to protect these animals," said Matt Shardlow.
The freshwater pearl mussel recently joined giant pandas and Javan rhinos in a list of the world's 365 "most endangered species", assembled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last year.

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