Sexy beasts: animals with ‘charisma’ get lion’s share of EU conservation funds

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Analysis shows invertebrates are overlooked in favour of mammals and birds despite vital role in healthy ecosystems

Money made available for wildlife conservation by the EU is based on a popularity contest, with vertebrates getting nearly 500 times more funding for each species than invertebrates, according to a new report.

Brown bears, wolves, bitterns and Eurasian lynxes are the Hollywood stars of European conservation and receive almost the same amount as all invertebrates put together, according to analysis of funding under the EU’s Habitats Directive. This leaves little for less charismatic creatures such as spiders and crustaceans, many of which are crucial to ecosystem health and at greater risk of extinction, the study found.

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