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'The natural world is in trouble:' 15 percent of UK wildlife on verge of extinction

Fifteen percent of wildlife species in the U.K. are on the verge of becoming extinct, according to the State of Nature report the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) released on Wednesday.

The report is a combined effort of more than 50 organizations to evaluate wildlife in the United Kingdom, including Britain's overseas territories and crown dependencies. Researchers have been gathering data since the 1970s.


"The natural world is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before," Sir David Attenborough, who wrote the foreword of the report, told The Guardian.

"We continue to lose the precious wildlife that enriches our lives and is essential to the health and well-being of those who live in the U.K."

Decades of data led the researchers to stunning discoveries about the health of the environment and wildlife. Here are the five biggest take aways from the report:

1. Wildlife in Britain has taken a serious hit.

Of the 8,000 species evaluated, 165 of them are either extinct or threatened. While many species haven't reached that point yet, 56 percent are already in decline.

2. Climate change is a prime factor.

As temperatures rise in Britain, northern areas are becoming suitable for southern species to spread out. While this allows for some species to thrive, others that require lower temperatures in the northern regions have nowhere to go.

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3. Agriculture is also key.

The report said that 20 percent of the negative impact on nature comes from "intensive management of agriculture land." With 75 percent of land in the U.K. used for agriculture, this is not entirely surprising.

4. Some species are doing well.

Not every species is faring poorly. Otters, certain types of butterflies, birds of prey and a handful of plants are doing just fine.

5. There are ways to help.

More than seven million volunteer hours went in to the report. The RSPB encourages those who want to help to volunteer and campaign, but most of all, they encourage people to go out and enjoy nature.