Dispatches from the front line of the extinction crisis

Maybe the next extinction of a wild creature in England will take place here?

It’s easy to assume that extinction is happening somewhere else: in the tiger forests of Asia, the bamboo groves of central China, where a few hundred Giant Pandas still survive, or in the South American rainforests being cleared for burgers and biofuel.

But you don’t need to go so far afield to see biodiversity in peril.

For the special creature that lives in the pond shown above, this is its final frontier in England.

In fact, frontier makes things sound better than they really are because this little pond is the only place where – well, I’m not going to say exactly what the animal is – lives.

It’s a remarkable creature which has become rare all over its European range, which only survives where the landscape is lightly used and water is free from pollution. It is unlikely to survive outside of areas protected from the dirty water that typifies so much of the modern landscape, with its heavily fertilised farmland and grimy urban runoff.

This animals also requires ponds which many do not even recognise as ponds – those which dry out in summer.

But perhaps even more remarkable is that this animal hangs on here at all – in a pond that is only 3 metres from the edge of the nearest road. So although this place has all possible protections available (from Acts of Parliament to zoo bred captive populations of the animal in question), still one serious tanker spill, one overturned load of farmyard manure could easily spell the end.

It can only be a matter of time before something catestrophic happens to this pond

There are captive populations but, as yet, no one has succeeded in returning captive bred animals to the wild or creating new habitats for this creature.


One Response to “Dispatches from the front line of the extinction crisis”

  1. Jeremy Biggs Says:

    Hi Alison

    Great to hear from you – and glad to hear that you’re en route to getting a pond!

    You can get in touch on jbiggs@pondcionservation.org.uk


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