13:00 30 October 2015
A bird immortalised in one of the most famous Christmas tunes has been placed on the list of species considered to be facing extinction.
East Anglia is one of the last places in the UK where European turtle doves continue to breed but has now been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, which documents the conservation status of plants and animals worldwide.
Turtle doves were already a UK Red List species due to the loss of more than nine out of ten birds in this country over the last 50 years.
Previously they were in the ‘least concern’ category but have now been upgraded to ‘vulnerable’.
Now conservation organisations in the Operation Turtle Dove partnership are working hard to secure a future for them.
John Sharpe, the RSPB’s conservation manager in Eastern England, said: “The news of the increased threat of extinction to turtle doves is not wholly unexpected, but it does throw into sharp relief the dire situation these birds face and the urgency of joined-up conservation efforts across their range if we are to save them.