Threats to species survival

What are the biggest threats to Durrell’s target species today? How are these threats likely to change?

climate-dynamic urban development pollution natural disaster agriculture fires logging and hunting disturbance invasive species urban development urban development pollution pollution natural disaster natural disaster disturbance disturbance agriculture agriculture fires fires logging and hunting logging and hunting climate-dynamic climate-dynamic invasive species invasive species

The most important threats

This indicator identifies the most important threats to Durrell’s 50+ target species today, the relative impact of these threats and how they are likely to change in the future.

Durrell’s field staff assess every threat to their target species and, for each, score its timing (past, continuing, future), scope (proportion of the population affected) and severity (size of declines caused by the threat) on a scale of 0-3. The sum of scores across the range of threats gives the overall ‘threat score’ for each species, allowing us to rank them in order of threat level.

Currently the mountain chicken, Montserrat galliwasp and Bojer’s skink face the highest threat levels.

The biggest threat by some distance comes from invasive species – animals or plants that have

been introduced by humans and spread rapidly, having negative and sometimes catastrophic impacts on the native species.

Not only is the score for this threat greater than all the other categories put together, with more than 90% of our target species affected, worryingly it is predicted to increase in the future.

Loss of the forest and wetland homes of our target animals through agriculture and logging, and direct hunting of some species are the next biggest threats.

This indicator helps Durrell to identify the actions, knowledge and skills required to conserve target species and make long-term decisions on where conservation needs to be stepped up to deal with a changing world.

invasive species agriculture climate-dynamic fires natural disaster disturbance pollution logging and hunting urban development

Top 10 threatened species

The mountain chicken is a giant frog found only in Dominica and Montserrat in the Caribbean. It faces a jaw-dropping number of threats, many of which have had a severe impact on its population. Forest loss, over-hunting, predation by invasive rats, volcanic eruptions, pollution and now a catastrophic disease called chytridiomycosis, responsible for wiping out tens of amphibian species over the past couple of decades, have taken their toll. The mountain chicken’s future is very uncertain and it needs all the help we can muster.