Seeking freshwater pandas: the ‘flagship umbrella species’ approach

“Freshwater pandas”. Good idea but what about the “pandas” who have lived for over a century on the area now being proposed for three nuclear reactors!? Does anyone really think that the diverse habitats within this 1400 acres site can be “mitigated”? Creation of “alternative habitat” is being suggested by the financially torpedoing developers Toshiba, and to our shame those who are supposed to be looking out for wildlife in Cumbria are going along with this insanity. Where will the freshwater pearl mussels live if this goes ahead? Rivers, Sea and Coasts cannot be “created.” Where will we And the wildlife live, what will we drink?

The Freshwater Blog

european_sturgeon_x European sturgeon (Acipenser sturio), a potential ‘flagship’ species which is threatened by pollution and habitat fragmentation. Image © A. Hartl

Freshwaters are amongst the most heavily modified global ecosystems, and the rich biodiversity they support is at a disproportionate risk of extinction. Conservation and restoration efforts aimed at protecting and improving freshwater habitats are being carried out across the world, but aquatic plants and animals remain amongst the most threatened components of global biodiversity.

One reason for this shortfall may be the lack of visibility – both literally and metaphorically – for freshwater life. Freshwaters may be murky, fast-flowing, deep, cold, ice-covered or turbulent, and the biodiversity they support can often be camouflaged, elusive and difficult to spot. The rich webs of animal and plant life below the surface of freshwaters are not as immediately perceptible as a wildflower meadow or a woodland, say. And, as the ‘shifting…

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