Online album of extinct flora and fauna

Salisbury Journal: Lanius collurio, the Red-backed Shrike: Picture by Roberto Zappaterra Lanius collurio, the Red-backed Shrike: Picture by Roberto Zappaterra

A PICTURE album of extinct British birds, insects and plants is being made available online by a Salisbury wildlife organisation.

The Species Recovery Trust is behind the Lost Life Project, which has been set up in the hope that publicity will help prevent more plants and creatures being wiped out.

It is believed to be the largest online portal about the 421 species which have disappeared from our country in the last 200 years. The images are accompanied by a video highlighting the losses of some of the most spectacular of the species.

Dominic Price, director of the Trust, which is based in Albany Road, Salisbury, said: “Year upon year we continue to lose species, at a rate which is far higher than would occur naturally.

“We hope the website will raise awareness and inspire people to become more involved in protecting their local biodiversity.”

He said the world is currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction event, with species disappearing as a result of habitat loss, intensification of agriculture and pollution, as well as other human activities.

England’s lost species include ants, bees, beetles, butterflies, dragonflies, fish, fleas, fungi, mammals, moths, shrimps, spiders and wasps.

Examples of lost species include the plant Davall’s Sedge which was once found at a site in Somerset but has never been seen since the 19th Century when the land was drained for development.

Spiranthes aestivalis, or Summer Lady’s Tresses, became extinct in 1955 because of drainage and plant-collecting.

More recently the Red-backed Shrike became extinct in 1988 due to more intensive farming and egg-collecting.

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