Wednesday, 21 May 2014

UK overseas wildlife 'needs protection'

By Alasdair CrossProducer, Costing the Earth

If you want to see the Giant Earwig of St Helena you may already be too late.

Fancy sniffing a pretty yellow Arlihau flower in the wild? You'll have to hurry down to Pitcairn Island as there are only six plants left.

The common thread linking these endangered species is that they are residents of UK Overseas Territories.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has reported that 94% of unique British species live outside the UK - and some urgently need protection.

The RSPB report concerns 14 territories - relics of empire scattered from the South Pacific to the Mediterranean.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the Overseas Territories provide, "an important opportunity to set world standards in our stewardship of the extraordinary natural environments we have inherited".

With the report showing that 85% of our critically endangered species live in these territories, the RSPB is asking for increased spending to meet the Prime Minister's ambitions.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, 250km (150 miles) to the east of Cuba, are home to unique species such as the Barking Gecko, the Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana and the Pygmy Boa Constrictor.

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