The U.K. lags far behind many nations in the proportion of its land set aside for wildlife protection, according to a new report by Friends of the Earth U.K. Using World Conservation Union (IUCN) standards for protected nature areas, FoE compared the percentage of land set aside in the G8 industrialized nations and in certain developing nations, including Brazil, Ecuador, and Kenya. Ecuador came out at the top of the list with 8.5 percent of its land protected, while densely populated Japan has 3.6 percent, and the U.K. bottomed out the list, with no land at all that meets the IUCN criteria. Britain’s Environment Minister Beverly Hughes claims the standard of comparison is not fair because the nation is small and has long been heavily populated and farmed. FoE is pressing British Prime Minister Tony Blair to introduce a new wildlife protection bill.

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