"The Most comprehensive report on the UK’s current biodiversity"
State of Nature uses the latest and best data from biological monitoring and recording schemes, collated by the incredible work of thousands of skilled people, most of whom are volunteers, to provide a benchmark for the status of our wildlife.
And there it is, in the summary - "2% (151 species) are extinct in Great Britain and a further 16% (almost 1,500 species) are now threatened with extinction here."
Bogus utter rubbish. This is a plain and simple lie. What they are providing is a count of the number of species which have disappeared from the United Kingdom. It is not extinctions, it is the loss of the species from the nation.
Extinct species have no remaining survivors, that's how you know they're extinct. That's what the word means. They have passed the point from which they can ever return. That is a worldwide phenomenon, it is not a local phenomenon.
I have no idea why an otherwise worthwhile and reputable organization should use weasel words like "here" or "extinct in Great Britain", and I am furious that they should muddy the waters in this way. The problem is immense, solutions are desperately needed and they pollute the discussion by abusing terminology which has a very exact meaning, has always had an exact meaning and has no replacement once it's diluted.
Here we are, I'll rewrite it. It's easy, it's clear, it's essential. "2% (151 species) have already disappeared from Great Britain and a further 16% (almost 1,500 species) are now threatened with disappearance here."
Very good. Just what we needed to be told. Accurate.
What's missing? How many of those species are now extinct, that's what's missing. It's missing because these fantasists destroyed the vocabulary relating to extinctions, and I have no idea what possessed them to do it.
The correct technical term for local disappearance is "extirpated", as in "Presumed Extirpated—Species or community is believed to be extirpated from the nation or state/province. Not located despite intensive searches of historical sites and other appropriate habitat, and virtually no likelihood that it will be rediscovered". I would settle for extirpated or the more colloquial disappeared, but I will not tolerate the deliberate wrecking of such a vital term as extinct by authoritative experts who should know better. To wantonly lose the full impact of the word "extinct" would be pointless and destructive vandalism.
Here we are - an encyclopedic distinction:
Extinction versus Extirpation
Extinction refers to the process through which organisms or a group of organisms (normally a species) cease to exist. Extirpation is the local extinction of an organism or species, where it/they cease to exist in a particular area but continue to exist elsewhere.
What does extirpation mean for species survival?
By removing local populations through human-mediated activities we impact – and limit – the genetic diversity of species. This means many species become less resilient to environmental, ecological and biological changes, making them more susceptible to extinction. In fact, irrespective of the number of organisms, it is thought that genetic diversity is a major key to ensuring the long-term survival of a species. Simply: the more genetic diversity in a population of organisms or species, the better.