Archived News

Number of natural World Heritage sites affected by climate change nearly doubles in three years – IUCN

13 November 2017
Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Photo: IUCN / Célia Zwahlen
Bonn, Germany, 13 November, 2017 (IUCN) – The number of natural World Heritage sites threatened by climate change has grown from 35 to 62 in just three years, with climate change being the fastest growing threat they face, according to a report released today by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, at the UN climate change conference in Bonn, Germany. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 2 – an update of the 2014 IUCN World Heritage Outlook report – assesses, for the first time, changes in... more

New study pinpoints birds of prey as hardest hit by wind farms

31 October 2017
The White-tailed Sea-eagle is one of the species most vulnerable to wind farms © www.volganet.ru
A new study has revealed which bird and bat species are most at risk of collision with wind turbines, with birds of prey and migratory birds coming top of the list. This research is the first to take a global view of the problem, and pinpoints some possible solutions to allow birds, bats and wind turbines to share the skies with less conflict. In this uncertain age of climate change, countries across the world are on the search for greener options for energy production. Many are increasingly turning to wind power, and as numbers of turbines soar it is vital that their full impact on birds an... more

Gran Paradiso, the hunting reserve that saved the Ibex

30 October 2017
Ibex in the Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy. Photo: Luciano Ramires
Awarded IUCN Green List status since 2014, the Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy’s first national park extends over five valleys around the Gran Paradiso massif. The Gran Paradiso National Park was established in 1922, when King Victor Emanuel III donated his hunting reserve to the Italian State. The Park covers over 71,000 hectares between the Piedmont and the Aosta Valleys in the north-west of Italy. The park has broadleaf woods in the valleys, conifer woods at higher altitudes, and alpine glaciers culminating to the 4,061 meter-high Gran Paradiso peak. The establishment of the G... more

Ancient ferns highly threatened in Europe – IUCN Red List

26 October 2017
Botrychium simplex (Dwarf Moonwort) - assessed as EN ©Karsten Horn
Brussels, 27 October 2017 (IUCN) – A fifth of European fern and lycopod species, a group of vascular plants that underpins healthy ecosystems, are threatened with extinction and declining, as a result of urbanisation and expanding infrastructure, according to a new report published today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The new IUCN report – European Red List of Lycopods and Ferns - assesses, for the first time, the extinction risk of all 194 European lycopod and fern species, 53 of which only exist in Europe. It shows that a fifth of these ancient sp... more

Engaging Energy Company in Biodiversity Protection: A Case from Bangladesh

17 October 2017
Ganges River Dolphin at the confluence of the Bhairab-Atai-Rupsha river system in Khulna, Bangladesh. Photo: © IUCN / Kazi Zenifar Azmiri
North-West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have come together to work with IUCN on an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a proposed power plant project at the confluence of the Bhairab-Atai-Rupsha river system at Khulna, in the south-west of Bangladesh. The proposed 800MW combined-cycle plant is being financed by the ADB to help Bangladesh achieve its goal of providing power to the remaining 20 percent of its population that currently is without. The preliminary findings of the EIA confirm the presence of globally endangered Ganges Riv... more

Hippos, crocodiles and other freshwater megafauna threatened and ignored

16 October 2017
Large Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibious). Photo: Jean-Christophe Vié.
A recent study by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) reveals nearly 60 percent of iconic freshwater species such as crocodiles, hippos, sturgeons and river dolphins are classified as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and lacking adequate protection.  The study Freshwater Megafauna: Flagships for Freshwater Biodiversity under Threat publish... more

Climate change a real threat to the Top 50 Mediterranean Island Plants - UPDATE 2017

06 October 2017
Photo: iucn-mpsg
In 2005, the Mediterranean Islands Plant Specialist Group (IUCN/SSC) published The Top 50 Mediterranean Island Plants - Wild plants at the brink of extinction and what is needed to save them. A decade later, the publication has been updated to assess any changes that may have occurred in the conservation status of these 50 plant species and to see what measures have been taken to improve their conservation status. Almost half of the plants (22) have a modified level of threat compared to the 2005 assessment. 21 plants species have a lower threat level and only one has a higher one. This is t... more

Our Red List Species Assessors: Understanding and protecting fern and lycopod diversity, an interview with Henry Väre

29 September 2017
Photo: Heidi Kaipiainen-Väre
Pteridophytes, which include ferns and lycopods, are spore-producing plants usually found in humid environments. They provide shelter and habitat for many small animals and play essential roles in soil erosion prevention, stream bank stabilisation, removal of pollutants from the environment and soil creation on barren habitats. In this interview with Dr Henry Väre, a fern expert based in Helsinki, Finland, he talks about his work and involvement This is the fifth of a series of interviews with our Red List Species Assessors currently involved in IUCN’s European Red Lists LIFE pro... more

Paris Agreement only chance for coral reef survival – IUCN

22 September 2017
Soft corals in the Beqa Lagoon, Vitu Levu, Fiji.Photo: IUCN Photo Library / © Klaus Jost
Limiting global warming to below 2°C in line with the Paris Agreement provides the only chance for the survival of coral reefs, warns David Obura, Chair of the International Union for Conservation of  Nature (IUCN)’s Coral Reef Specialist Group, writing today in the journal Science. Latest data show that globally reefs have a chance of long-term survival if warming is limited to under 2oC, though even this may be too little too late for many reef systems. “We are on the doorstep of a world without coral reefs and the only way to avoid this is through the full implemen... more

Severe threats to biodiversity from neonicotinoid pesticides revealed in latest scientific review

20 September 2017
Neonicotinoids are linked to the steep decline in bees. Photo: © dasWebweib CC BY 2.0.
Neonicotinoid pesticides pose severe threats to ecosystems worldwide, according to an update to the world’s most comprehensive scientific review of the ecological impacts of systemic pesticides released by IUCN's Task Force on Systemic Pesticides (TFSP) this week. The second edition of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Effects of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems synthesises more than 500 studies since 2014, including some industry-sponsored studies. It was released by the ... more

Once-abundant ash tree and antelope species face extinction – IUCN Red List

14 September 2017
Fraxinus americana. Kris Bachtell/The Morton Arbore
Gland, Switzerland, 14 September 2017 (IUCN) – North America’s most widespread and valuable ash tree species are on the brink of extinction due to an invasive beetle decimating their populations, while the loss of wilderness areas and poaching are contributing to the declining numbers of five African antelope species, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Today’s IUCN Red List update also reveals a dramatic decline of grasshoppers and millipedes endemic to Madagascar, and the extinction of the Christmas Island Pipistrelle bat.... more

Blue carbon climate mitigation potential still largely ignored

07 September 2017
Mangroves in Térraba Sierpe, Costa Rica.Photo: IUCN / Enrique Lahmann
The climate mitigation potential of coastal carbon-rich ecosystems such as mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrasses – often referred to as coastal ‘blue carbon ecosystems’ – is often overlooked in national climate change policies, according to an article published in the journal Aquatic Conservation by IUCN experts. Blue carbon ecosystems are unique in that they sequester and store carbon dioxide (CO2) at much higher rates per unit area than terrestrial forests – up to six times more than undisturbed tropical rainforests. This means that when these ecosystems are d... more

Supporting Mediterranean ecosystems helps buffer against climate change

30 August 2017
Mediterranean high mountain Quercus forests at Sierra Nevada National Park provide a wide variety of ecosystem services currently impacted by climate change. Photo: José Miguel Barea.
Natural protected areas like forests, beaches, mountains, scrublands and river ecosystems provide a wide variety of benefits to both people and nature. Many of these ecosystem services are deteriorating due to temperature increases, unpredictable rainfall, the arrival of invasive species and other climate change phenomena. Supporting the healthy functioning of these ecosystems is key. Disruption to natural ecosystem services such as water provision, soil formation and retention, regulation of climate, carbon storage, oxygen production, and the provision of wood, honey, etc. is being felt in... more

Nature Lovers return mangroves to Pulau Dua

28 August 2017
KPAPPD builds semi permeable barriers in Pulau Dua. Photo: © IUCN Indonesia.
Each year, between March and August, migratory birds from three continents descend on an island in Indonesia in the tens of thousands, joining over 100 species of bird – among them kingfishers, terns, sandpipers, sunbirds, curlews and sea eagles – that nest permanently on the island. Well-known for its importance as a breeding site for water birds, Pulau Dua was established as a nature reserve in 1937.  Mangroves act as a natural barrier between land and sea and prevent coastal erosion. They also provide shelter for marine wildlife. Unfortunately,  in recent decades,... more

Blog: First Ever Gharial Exchange in Bangladesh: Facilitating Captive Breeding of a Critically Endangered Species

23 August 2017
Male gharial from Dhaka Zoo is being released in Rajshahi Zoo, 13 August 2017.Photo: ©Zenifar Azmiri/ IUCN.
Gharials are a unique crocodilian threatened with extinction and with wild populations that have decreased precipitously due to habitat destruction and accidental killings by fishermen when caught in nets. The Bangladesh Forest Department and IUCN Bangladesh, in collaboration with Bangladesh zoo authorities, have piloted a gharial exchange programme to initiate captive breeding in the country. This will create new scope for the conservation of gharials and possible reintroduction into the wild. In this blog post, Sakib Ahmed and Haseeb Md. Irfanullah of IUCN Bangladesh writes about this histori... more

Critically Endangered macaws are learning to trust artificial nest boxes

21 August 2017
Blue-throated Macaw chicks in one of the nest boxes. ©Aidan MacCormick
This year, nine Blue-throated Macaw chicks have successfully hatched from nest boxes erected by Armonía (BirdLife in Bolivia) - including the first-ever second-generation nest box fledging. Found only in the Llanos de Moxos - a tropical savanna in northern Bolivia - the striking Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis)<... more

Pakistan’s Billion Tree Tsunami restores 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land to surpass Bonn Challenge commitment

11 August 2017
Working together to reach and surpass their goals. Photo: Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project website
The Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project in Pakistan’s northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province has surpassed its target by restoring and planting trees in 350,000 hectares of degraded forest landscapes. Launched in 2015 by Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party, the Billion Tree Tsunami aims to turn the tide on land degradation and loss in the mountainous, formerly forested KPK province in the Hindu Kush mountain range. The campaign simultaneously helped KPK province fulfil its ... more

The last dance? Critically Endangered grebe’s mesmerising display filmed for first time

10 August 2017
http://www.birdlife.org/americas/news/last-dance-critically-endangered-grebe%E2%80%99s-mesmerising-display-filmed-first-time
Firstly, let us begin with the footage you all came to see: the mesmerising, headbanging, courtship display of the Hooded Grebe Podiceps gallardoi (Courtesy of Living Wild in South America), to view this footage please click here. Since the Hooded Grebe is found in the isolated, and largely ina... more

Gender equity is key to mangrove restoration

27 July 2017
Photo: Courtesy Pixabay
Women and men in coastal communities are often closely connected to their coastal ecosystems and gender roles are often traditionally identified and clearly divided. Women and men differ in how they interact and depend upon mangroves – how they use the ecosystem, which mangrove products they choose, and the benefits they receive. Mangrove forests are particularly rich in directly harvestable seafood, timber, firewood and other plant products such as tea and roofing materials. They also provide vital protection against floods and storms and ... more

High hopes for the Mountain Tigers of Bhutan

27 July 2017
Photo: Tiger in the Bhutanese mountains - DoFPS Bhutan
Listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ since 1969 and despite over 4 decades of global conservation efforts, tigers continue to be threatened with extinction to this very day.  Human induced changes have reduced the tiger's historical range to about 7% in which a little more than 3800 tigers are estimated to be found. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that an extensive segment of the tigers' remaining habitat is situated in developing countries where these changes are happening at an extraordinary rate. Most of these individuals exist i... more

Habitat Connectivi-tea!

27 July 2017
Photo: WCS India surveys of tea plantations reveal presence of a number of species including Asian elephants © Varun Goswami & Divy
The conservation role of tea plantations in Northeast India: With over 3000 sq km of land under tea cultivation, Assam is India’s biggest tea-producer, generating a rich brew sought world-over. But Assam’s tea gardens also play another vital role. When managed within the context of important conservation landscapes, they serve as refuges and movement linkages for endangered species of global significance, such as tigers and elephants. Long-term conservation of endangered wildlife increasingly requires focus on connectivity, or functional linkages between wildlife populations and... more

Europe agrees to step up the fight against invasive alien species

12 July 2017
Chilean rhubarb (Gunnera tinctoria) can establish in moist habitats where it forms dense colonies that out-shade or suppress native species. Photo: Commander-pirx, CC BY-SA 3.0
Following the opinion of the Committee on Invasive Alien Species (IAS), the European Commission adopted yesterday 12 new species onto the EU’s list of IAS of Union concern. These species, which include the raccoon dog, muskrat and giant hogweed, all pose serious threats to Europe’s biodiversity and will now face a number of EU-wide restrictions. IAS are species that have been introduced or escaped into areas outside of their natural range through human intervention and have negative impacts on biodiversity, ecosystem services or human well-being. Most species that are introduced... more

Experts convene to save one of world’s most trafficked mammals

07 July 2017
The Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) lives in Southeast Asia, and is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
Saving the Sunda pangolin – one of the world’s most trafficked mammals – from extinction will require engaging local communities in their conservation and addressing the demand for pangolin products, according to international wildlife experts gathered in Singapore this week to create the first ever conservation strategy for the species. Pangolins are scaly insect-eating animals that live in Asia and Africa. The Sunda pangolin (Manis ... more

Liberia takes a major step forward in protecting its elephants

04 July 2017
Forest elephants captured via camera traps in Sapo National Park. Credit: FFI/FDA.
Fantastic news for Liberian forest elephants as the President gives her formal signature for the immediate implementation of a National Elephant Action Plan. In a pivotal turning point for elephant conservation, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has formally signed off on a National Elephant Action Plan – devised by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and partners and funded by Stop Ivory – to help tackle the growing threats to the country’s forest elephants. This is a significant achievement that will place Liberia in a strong position internationally to attrac... more

A first step towards sponges conservation in the Mediterranean

03 July 2017
Madrepore colonies and sponges in a Mediterranean seabed. Photo: © Zagor/ Dreamstime
More than 300 experts attended the 10th World Sponge Conference held in the National University of Ireland, Galway from June 25th-30th to discuss the main areas in which sponge biology is developing at present, as well as traditional research categories.   This Conference hosted every 3 to 4 years, brought together international scientists from all over the globe to present their latest research findings and to network with colleagues. Through this influential event and given the importance of sponges for the conservation of Mediterranean biodiversity, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean... more

Paradise saved: some of world’s rarest birds rebound on Pacific islands cleared of invasive predators

20 June 2017
Polynesian Ground-dove: population now set to recover from less than 200 birds © Marie-Helene Burle/Island Conservation
Five remote Pacific islands are once again safe havens for four of our world’s rarest bird species following the success of one of the most ambitious island restoration projects ever implemented. Just two years after ambitious efforts by a team of international conservation organisations to rid French Polynesia’s Acteon & Gambier island groups of invasive mammals began, five of six targeted islands are now confirmed as predator-free a ground-breaking one thousand hectares in total. Early signs already indicate that rare birds found nowhere else in the world (endemic) and ot... more

Blog: Mainstreaming Meloxicam − Top pharmaceutical companies engage in vulture conservation initiatives in Bangladesh

19 June 2017
White-rumped Vulture in Habiganj, Bangladesh. Photo: A B M Sarowar Alam / IUCN
The primary reason for the recent massive decline in vulture population is the use of harmful non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used as veterinary painkillers. Two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh have joined in the effort to conserve vultures in the country by producing vulture-friendly drugs containing Meloxicam. In this blog post, Sakib Ahmed and Haseeb Md. Irfanullah of IUCN Bangladesh writes about this engagement of private sector in biodiversity conservation. Over the last couple of years, Bangladesh has achieved some major milestones in its effort to... more

Overfishing, reef decline threaten greater Caribbean and Pacific island fisheries – IUCN reports

08 June 2017
Coral reef in Roatán, Honduras. Photo: Noel Wingers.
Gland, Switzerland, 8 June 2017 (IUCN) – Overfishing and the degradation of coral reefs across the Caribbean and Pacific islands are pushing many fish, including food sources like tunas and groupers, towards extinction, according to two regional Red List reports published today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Conservation status of marine biodiversity in the Pacific Islands of Oceania Red List report includes assessments of 2,800 marine species across the 22 island states and territories of Oceania, from Papua New Guinea to the Cook Islands &ndash... more

Our Red List Species Assessors: giving a voice to trees and shrubs, an interview with Dr Malin Rivers

07 June 2017
Photo: BGCI
Plants are the cornerstone of life, providing oxygen, shelter, food and medicine for humans and animals alike. In this interview with Dr Malin Rivers, a tree expert and Red List Manager based at Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), she talks about her work and involvement in trees and shrubs research and conservation. This is the fourth of a series of interviews with our Red List Species Assessors currently involved in IUCN’s LIFE European Red Lists project. In this edition, our interviewee is a tree expert but past and future interviews have and will profile saproxylic... more

Nepal destroys wildlife stockpiles

24 May 2017
Photo: Destroy of Wildlife Stockpiles
Nepal marked the International Day for Biodiversity by destroying a huge amount of wildlife stockpiles in the Chitwan National Park (CNP), which was stored for about two decades after being seized from poachers. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation and in the presence of conservation partner organisations and other stakeholders, more than 4000 animal parts and wildlife stockpiles of 48 species were smoked. It includes 67 skins of tiger, 357 horns of rhinoceros, 354 tails elephant, 418 skins of leopard etc. The last such event in Nepal was held in 1997. The... more

Tapping into sustainable tourism to safeguard biodiversity

22 May 2017
Potential site survey in Stung Sen Core area, Cambodia. Photo: © Wild Cambodia Organisation
As the sun rises and the flooded forests of Cambodia’s Stung Seng wildlife sanctuary come alive with the chattering and whooping of endangered monkeys with their elegant silvery-grey fur, fishermen from the Phat Sanday commune make their way towards the lake to set their nets for the day. Located in the Tonle Sap biosphere reserve, the unique wetlands ecosystem of Stung Seng provides food and shelter for a number of species and acts as an important fish nursery. Surrounding floating village communities are also dependent on the wetland’s lakes and trees for clean water, fish, woo... more

Fijian Crested Iguana Reintroduction

15 May 2017
Released Crested Iguana taking in his new surroundings. Photo: Nick Felstead.
Mataqali Vunaivi of Yanuya Village in the Mamanuca Island group, are welcoming some new residents to their island of Monuriki, about 10 km from Nadi – 32 young Fijian Crested Iguanas, a Critically Endangered species found only in Fiji.
 
With the agreement of the Mataqali, the National Trust of Fiji and colleagues from the non-government organisation BirdLife International, have been restoring the habitat on Monuriki since 2011. They have painstakingly removed all rats and goats. These “invaders” were eating the eggs and hatchlings of the Fijian Crested Igua... more

Report launched on the urgent need to protect parts of the Arctic including four in EU Overseas sites

14 May 2017
Photo: Florian Ledoux
New report on recommended Arctic Marine World Heritage sites includes four off the coast of Greenland. The Arctic Ocean urgently needs protection as melting sea ice is opening up previously inaccessible areas to activities such as shipping, bottom trawl fishing and oil exploration, according to a scientific report launched recently by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), in partnership with the US-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre. ... more

Anantara Peace Haven -Tangalle Resort and IUCN to support sea turtle conservation

09 May 2017
Dr Ananda Mallawatantri, Country Representative of IUCN and Mr Ross Sanders General Manager of Anantara Peace Haven - Tangalle Resort signing the agreement to mark a new beginning. Photo: Norman Zweyer
Anantara Peace Haven – Tangalle Resort,  Sri Lanka’s top-ranked luxury resort and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) joined hands to support sea turtle conservation in Sri Lanka. The project; Conservation of Sea Turtles and Coastal Habitats around Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort aims to replicate the success of Anantara’s sustainability initiatives in other countries such as Thailand by enhancing the conservation of marine turtles that visit the beaches surrounding the hotel as well as enriching the coastal habitats that are located in the h... more

IUCN rings alarm bells for corals in the Mediterranean

04 May 2017
Photo: © Jure Gasparic | Dreamstime.com
Over 13% of anthozoan species in the Mediterranean Sea – which include corals and related species –  are threatened with extinction, according to the Red List of Anthozoans report published recently by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The report proposes urgent conservation measures, including restrictions on unsustainable fishing practices, to protect these species and the rich biodiversity they harbour. Anthozoans, meaning “flower-animals”, include around 212 species of hard and soft coral, black coral, sea anemone and gorgonians &ndas... more

Towards Deep-Sea Conservation in Lebanon

26 April 2017
Photo: © OCEANA
Following the first analysis of the deep sea expedition in unexplored areas of the Lebanese coast,  the Deep-Sea Lebanon project has held on April 27th, 2017, the first workshop to discuss with relevant national stakeholders the feasibility of creating deep sea MPAs in Lebanon. The first results from the first deep sea expedition ever in the sea canyons of Lebanon (Cheka & Batroun, Bay of Jounieh, Northern St. George, Beirut Escarpment and Gulf of Beirut and Saida) conducted by Oceana last year are coming out.  More than ... more

IUCN expedition to explore life on undersea mountains

21 April 2017
The Stoloteuthis squid was among the creatures found on a previous seamounts expedition in 2009. Photo: © IUCN / Sarah Gotheil.
A scientific expedition to explore life on undersea mountains – or seamounts – in the high seas south of Madagascar is setting out from Reunion Island on April 23rd. The three-week-long expedition aboard the French Polar Institute’s research vessel Marion Dufresne will explore the fauna of the Walters Shoal seamount and its role in the surrounding ecosystem. “Seamounts are islands of marine life with an important role in maintaining the health of the ocean. They contribute to food security by supporting fish stocks, and the unique species they harbour could provide ge... more

What are mangroves worth? There’s no easy answer

12 April 2017
Photo: Bob Fisher/IUCN
Our existence depends on flows of goods and services delivered by a stock of natural resources – our ‘natural’ capital. But as we have degraded the planet’s ecosystems, we’ve lost huge stocks of this natural capital and we are starting to feel the pinch. People have long depended on natural systems for our survival and development, nowhere more visible than in our history of extracting minerals and fuel products. However, we have also started to see the importance of healthy ecosystems for providing essential goods and services, especially as these stocks of nat... more

Centuries of tree taxonomy informs today’s restoration

06 April 2017
BGCI was recently part of an expedition with University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum to collect seeds of Betula chichibuensis, a Critically Endangered tree from Japan. Photo: Kirsty Shaw BGCI.
Have you ever asked yourself, “what kind of tree is this?” Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has – 60,065 times.  BGCI just created a database called GlobalTreeSearch to help answer this question and to support global research, conservation, and botanically-based interventions including forest landscape restoration (FLR). Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), the organisation that represents the world’s botanic gardens, engaged scores of experts from botanical institutions across the world over two years, consulting more than 500 publ... more

New IUCN programme to help carnivores and humans coexist across Africa

06 April 2017
Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis), listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Photo: © Andrew Harrington.
Protecting lions, cheetahs and other iconic African species by helping local communities coexist with these predators is the goal of a new 12 million euro programme, funded by the European Commission, to be managed by IUCN’s SOS - Save Our Species initiative. The new programme aims primarily to halt the decline of lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs and ... more

IUCN World Heritage report stresses urgency of protecting the Arctic from ships and oil as ice melts

04 April 2017
The Arctic provides critical habitat for threatened species such as polar bears. Photo: © Ralph Lee Hopkins, National Geographic Creative
Monaco, 4 April 2017 (IUCN) – The Arctic Ocean urgently needs protection as melting sea ice is opening up previously inaccessible areas to activities such as shipping, bottom trawl fishing and oil exploration, according to a scientific report launched today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in partnership with the US-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre.  The report identifies seven globally significant marine sites in the Arctic Ocean that warrant protection and could potentially qualify for World Heri... more

Turning the tide for devil rays

30 March 2017
Manta ray. Photo: IUCN Photo Library / © Jean-Louis Ferretti.
Manta rays are graceful, iconic marine animals sought out by scuba divers around the globe. Far less well-recognised are the devil rays, a group of nine species that are closely related to manta rays and are indistinguishable to all except experts. While the popularity and name recognition of manta rays with tourists has led to heightened interest in conserving them, devil rays are getting far less attention, increasing the risk of further population declines – write Julia M Lawson and Nicholas K Dulvy of IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Shark Specialist Group (SSG). Both devil... more

Vulture Rescue Centre in Bangladesh: Rehabilitated Himalayan Griffon vultures released back to the wild

28 March 2017
Vulture being released. Photo: © Sakib Ahmad/IUCN
IUCN Bangladesh with the support of Bangladesh Forest Department established the country’s first-ever Vulture Rescue Centre in November 2016. The centre has successfully rescued and rehabilitated eight Himalayan Griffons and released the vultures back to the wild on 6 March 2017. After months of treatment and care, eight Himalayan Griffon vultures were released back into the wild by IUCN Bangladesh and Bangladesh Forest Department. The vultures were cared for in the temporary Vulture Rescue Centre that was esta... more

Call for applications: Marine turtle conservation volunteer programme 2017 in Hon Cau Marine Protected Areas, Binh Thuan Province

23 March 2017
Photo: A turtle on the beach of Hon Cau MPA © IUCN Viet Nam
IUCN Viet Nam and Hon Cau Marine Protected Area (MPA) are pleased to announce the call for marine turtle conservation volunteer programme 2017 in Hon Cau MPA, Tuy Phong, Binh Thuan Province, Viet Nam. The call is open for all Vietnamese citizens under the age 21 – 50 years old and interested in wildlife conservation. There are three-time options with 4-6 volunteers/time which are (i) 27– 31 May, (ii) 10 – 14 June, (iii) 1-5 July. Please see the ... more

Year of Ecology in Russia

21 March 2017
Photo: IUCN/B.Erg
The Russian President has declared 2017 the Year of Ecology. This decision will draw public attention towards environmental issues, support the protection of ecological and biological diversity and reinforce the ecological security of the country. The Action Plan for the Year of Ecology provides for more than 600 events across all regions of Russia. Planned projects are divided into clusters. The largest one, both in terms of volume and number of activities, is the implementation of the new waste management system and the best available technologies (BAT). Besides that, in accordance with th... more

Restoring the connection between forests and human health

17 March 2017
Children playing on a log. Photo: Shutterstock
Forests play a crucial role in supporting our mental and physical health, yet this is often overlooked within health strategies, education programmes, and in everyday human lifestyles. In the 2017 Spring Issue of REVOLVE Magazine, Chantal van Ham and Helen Klimmek from the IUCN European Regional Office explore the numerous benefits and services provided by forests, and the need to recognise these within health strategies and programmes. The European Union currently faces a number of health-care challenges. These include a changing demographic, limited financial resources, growing health ineq... more

IUCN welcomes first-ever UN report acknowledging healthy ecosystems as a human right

16 March 2017
Mangrove fishing. Photo: © Rod Waddington CC BY-SA 2.0
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, welcomed a recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Environment and Human Rights, Prof. John Knox, which highlights how biodiversity and ecosystems are essential to human rights. This is the first-ever UN report acknowledging that the loss of biodiversity undermines human rights, for example by reducing agricultural and fisheries outputs, negatively affecting health or removing filters from the water cycle. By conserving biodiversity, states therefore also contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)... more

Cambodia’s Bengal Floricans threatened by planned power line development

15 March 2017
Bengal Florican. Photo: © Jonathan Eames
With funds from a number of organisations, including the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), a grant-making mechanism led by IUCN in the Indo-Burma hotspot, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia is contributing towards conserving the Critically Endangered Bengal Florican.  A proposed power transmission line at the edge of the Tonle Sap Floodplain Protected Landscape (TSFPL), which might be constructed as early as next year, would pose a new threat to the Critically Endangered Bengal Florican.  The Bengal Florican (... more

Can you differentiate between antelopes of North Africa and the ones of the Arabian Peninsula?

08 March 2017
Gazella arabica. Photo: Tim Wacher/ZSL
New fact sheet to help conserve antelope species that occur naturally in North Africa and Arabia in order to preserve their genetic integrity and keep them apart. Throughout time, antelopes have adapted to the most extreme desert environments in the world and have always been of great cultural importance in both regions. Although well known, close similarity between the smaller species of North Africa and Arabia has led to confusion. This fact sheet provides a summary of the antelope species that occur naturally in both regions and is aimed to help conservation initiatives preserve their gen... more

Climate change is hitting species hard – we should keep an eye on the most vulnerable

08 March 2017
Photo: © Jennifer Cachola CC BY-ND 2.0
Climate change is already affecting many threatened birds and mammals, with some species much more vulnerable to rising temperatures than others, according to a recent study co-authored by IUCN SSC Climate Change Specialist Group (IUCN SSC CCSG) members. To prevent further extinctions we need to keep a closer eye on the most vulnerable species – such as those with highly specialised diets – writes David Bickford from the IUCN SSC CCSG. The study,... more

Future updates of The IUCN Red List

07 March 2017
Do you want to submit assessments for publication on The IUCN Red List but you don't know when the next update will happen? There is now a new page in the Resources section of the web site that tells you when the next updates will happen: see Planned IUCN Red List Updates. Along with a summary of the Red List updates planned for later this year, this page has some important information regarding submissions to The IUCN Red List and how maximise your chances of getting assessments published on the Red List. This... more

Canada protects unique glass sponge reefs

23 February 2017
Canada's new MPA protects the fragile Glass Sponge reef. Photo: Sally Leys
The conservation community is celebrating a new marine protected area (MPA) for Canada’s ancient and unique glass sponge reefs, which provide a vital habitat to a wide range of marine animals including endangered rockfish.  The designation came about through the tireless work of The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and other NGOs, scientists, and support from the local fishing industry. “The reefs are an international treasure, they are globally unique, incredibly important, and deserving of strong protection so that they can remain a source of awe and wonder fo... more

Invisible plastic particles from textiles and tyres a major source of ocean pollution – IUCN study

22 February 2017
Pollution. Photo: Race for Water/Christophe Launay
Tiny plastic particles washed off products such as synthetic clothes and car tyres could contribute up to 30% of the ‘plastic soup’ polluting the world’s oceans and – in many developed countries – are a bigger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste, according to a new IUCN report.   The report looked at primary microplastics – plastics that enter the oceans in the form of small particles, as opposed to larger plastic waste that degrades in the water – released from household and industrial products across seven geographical region... more

Cameroon to restore 12 million hectares of forest in species-rich Congo Basin

17 February 2017
Photo: © iStock/3000RISK
Cameroon has committed to restoring over 12 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2030 as part of the Bonn Challenge initiative. The pledge is the biggest made so far in the species-rich Congo Basin, home to the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest. The Bonn Challenge, launched in 2011 at an event hosted by Germany and IUCN, is a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. With Cameroon’s commitment, the Challenge has reached... more

Invasive alien species on the rise worldwide

17 February 2017
Asian common toad (Duttaphrynus melanostrictus), Viet Nam Photo: Peter Nijenhuls Flickr CC BY NC ND 2.0
Invasive alien species are on the rise worldwide and their numbers show no sign of slowing down despite global efforts to address the challenge, according to a study published in Nature Communications by an international team of researchers, including members of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Invasive Species Specialist Group.  The study found that during the last 200 years, the number of new invasive species introductions has continuously increased worldwide, with more than a third of all first introductions recorded between 1970 and 2014. It also found that more new invasi... more

intensive agriculture and wildfires threaten over a quarter of europe’s grasshoppers and crickets

09 February 2017
Prionotropis rhodanica (Crau Plain Grasshopper). Photo: Axel Hochkirch
Over a quarter of European grasshopper, cricket and bush cricket species are being driven to extinction by unsustainable agricultural practices and the growing frequency of wildfires in Europe, a new IUCN report has found.  The European Red List of Grasshoppers, Crickets and Bush crickets, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), assesses, for the first time, the conservation status of all of Europe’s 1,082 grasshopper, cricket and bush cricket species. It shows that over a quarter of these species are at risk of extinction, making them the most thre... more

German resolution reaffirms IUCN’s position on the international stage

26 January 2017
Photo: © Matthias Zepper CC BY 2.0
The German government has officially recognised IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as an intergovernmental organisation, reaffirming the Union’s important role on the global environmental and development stage. On Wednesday, the German Cabinet passed a regulation defining the legal status of IUCN as an “organisation created by intergovernmental agreement”. This decision recognises the official functions IUCN carries out on behalf of its Member States and affords the Union a range of rights and benefits. The new legal status will allow IUCN to build on... more

World Wetlands Day: Bolstering resilience and collaboration to reduce disaster risk

26 January 2017
Photo: ©Ramsar Convention
On February 2nd the world celebrates it's wetlands – complex ecosystems that provide a wide variety of services and benefits for people and  nature.  Yet wetlands are in danger; threatened with drainage for agriculture, degradation, pollution, and destruction at an alarming pace. A key role of wetlands is in reducing the effects of disasters by absorbing excess water from floods and coastal storm surges, and in storing water during droughts. 'Wetlands and disaster risk reduction' is the theme of ... more

New Red List reveals European habitats under threat

24 January 2017
Photo: John Janssen
For the first time, a total of 490 habitats across 35 countries in Europe have been assessed to determine their risk of collapse. The European Red List of Habitats, initiated by the European Commission, benefited from the knowledge and expertise of over 300 experts who reviewed the current status of all European natural and semi-natural terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats. The assessment reveals that over a third of all land habitats are currently under threat, including more than three-quarters of bogs, over half of grasslands, and almost half of Europe's lakes, rivers and coast... more

First signs of seahorses and pipefishes decline in the Mediterranean

23 January 2017
Photo: ©Robert Patzner
For the first time,14 seahorses, pipefishes, and snipefishes native to the Mediterranean Sea were assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  Syngnathids are unique fish species that exhibit male pregnancy and give birth to live young. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ in the Mediterranean, almost 15% of seahorse assessed are listed as Near Threatened, which means that if current trends continue they will be soon threatened with extinction. More than half of these fish species lack enough information to estimate their risk of extinction in the region... more

Mangrove Restoration: Offering two-for-one solutions to climate change

20 January 2017
Mangroves. Photo: IUCN / James Oliver
Climate mitigation and adaptation are a country’s most pressing actions in the face of a looming global climate crisis –with catastrophic consequences already occurring in many coastal regions. Now, the restoration of mangrove forests and other coastal systems is emerging as a solution – serving both as a carbon sink as well as offering coastal protection and food security. With the adoption of the Paris Agreement, governments re-affirmed the importance of sustaining and restoring healthy ecosyst... more

Nature: the decisive solution for the climate change crisis

16 January 2017
Photo: © Enamul Mazid Khan Siddique/IUCN
This blog, published in Thomson Reuters Foundation News, highlights how MFF harnesses the natural functions of ecosystems and women’s strength in resource management to bring about better solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Near the Sundarbans, Bangladesh, home to the largest mangrove forest in the world, Promila makes her living by making mats out of a grass-like wetlands plant called ‘reed’. Depending on size, these mats are sold at US$1 to $7 through a community enterprise established by Promila and her friends. Thanks to the reed mat business, Prom... more

A look back at 2016: Biodiversity conservation in the Indo-Burma region

12 January 2017
Na Hang lake, Na Hang district, Tuyen Quang province in Vietnam a WARECOD project site. Photo: © James Tallant/IUCN
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) in the Indo-Burma region will enter the new year with renewed optimism after making significant progress towards biodiversity conservation in 2016. Active in the region since 2008, CEPF’s Indo-Burma portfolio now includes 125 grants (60 large and 65 small) worth over US$ 10.7million spread across the six countries of the hotspot: Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand, Viet Nam and parts of southern China. Currently 87 projects are active, while 38 have been completed. Completed projects include initiatives contributing to the long-term c... more

Mountain and markets - Ministry, experts at ethnobotanical seminar highlight need for sustainable harvesting of Pakistan’s biodiversity products

11 January 2017
Highlights of Ethnobotanical Seminar. Photo: IUCN Pakistan.
A national seminar on ethno-botany was organized by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in Islamabad on 29th December, 2016, where experts highlighted the importance of the rich flora found in Pakistan’s northern region, and underscored the need for ensuring a sustainable use of biodiversity products, including herbs and plants, used often for the benefit of humans. Representatives from the Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan, UNDP, IUCN as well as experts from the forestry and herbal sectors, and academia, participated in the event. The seminar... more

Queens of Bees

26 December 2016
Photo: © MFF Viet Nam
More than half the 155,000 population in Tien Lan District, Viet Nam are women who derive incomes mainly from agriculture and aquaculture. Past practices – especially the clearing of mangroves for shrimp farming – have lowered the resilience of coastal communities, and decreased the natural services provided by mangroves. Developing alternative livelihoods for communities in these areas of mangrove deforestation is seen as a crucial step to protecting valuable mangrove forests. Through an alternative livelihood project supported by MFF, the women of  Hai Phong City in Tie... more

IUCN-Toyota partnership delivers new knowledge for biodiversity and food security

19 December 2016
Serpentine sunflower (Helianthus exilis). Photo: © David A. Hofmann
The extinction threat to wild cereals, fruit-bearing plants and other ‘wild crop relative’ species was assessed for the first time for the latest IUCN Red List update, as part of a partnership between IUCN and Toyota Motor Corporation. The partnership, which was presented at the Convention on Biological Diversity 13th Conference of the Parties (CBD COP13) in Cancun, Mexico, aims to extend the Red List to species that are critical to global food security, supporting the delivery of biodiversity conservation targets central to the conference. The work also aims to further progress... more

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species accurately assesses extinction risk using the latest technology

18 December 2016
Helmeted Hornbill (photo © Michaela Koschova)
A response to Ocampo-Peñuela et al. (2016); Science Advances The IUCN Red List reflects threats to birds and other species accurately based on the latest available science, while continually working to incorporate information from the latest monitoring techniques into its species assessments. A recent scientific study claimed that the Red List could be underestimating the number of species at risk. The study found a higher number of threatened species of birds when using an est... more

New bird species and giraffe under threat – IUCN Red List

08 December 2016
The conservation status of the Monserrat oriole (Icterus oberi) has improved from Critically Endangered to Vulnerable. Photo: © D. McCoy.
Cancun, Mexico, 8 December 2016 (IUCN) – Over 700 newly recognised bird species have been assessed for the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM, and 11% of them are threatened with extinction. The update also reveals a devastating decline for the giraffe, driven by habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting. The global giraffe population has plummeted by up to 40% over the last 30 years, and the species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Today’s IUCN Red List update also includes the first assessments of wild oats, ba... more

More than half of the sharks, rays and chimaeras native to the Mediterranean Sea are at risk of extinction

04 December 2016
Juvenile Angelfish. Photo: Tom Young.
The 2016 regional assessment of the Mediterranean Sea, which includes 73 species of sharks, rays and chimaeras, calls for urgent action to conserve their populations and habitats. Despite the measures adopted at regional level to reduce shark overexploitation in the last ten years, at least 53% of the sharks, rays and chimaeras native to the Mediterranean Sea are still at risk of extinction, and urgent action to conserve their populations and habitats is required, according to the new Red List of sharks, rays and chimaeras in the Mediterranean Sea. The IUCN 2016 regional assessment update... more

Brazil to restore 12 million hectares of forests under Bonn Challenge for biodiversity and climate benefits

03 December 2016
Brazil’s overall commitment to restoration totals 22 million hectares. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT).
Today, the government of Brazil committed to restoring 12 million hectares of deforested land under the Bonn Challenge, joining 38 other countries, associations and companies in the global restoration effort. The announcement was made by Brazil’s Minister of the Environment José Sarney Filho at the Thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Cancun, Mexico, where the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is highlighting the role of forest landscape restoration (FLR) in achieving international biodiv... more

Over 200 species found during Deep-Sea surveys of submarine canyons in Lebanon

28 November 2016
Photo: © OCEANA
After a one month deep sea expedition in unexplored areas of the Mediterranean, scientists have found over 200 species,  including new records that have only been previously reported in the Atlantic Ocean and in polar regions. This project was initiated following a request by the Ministry of Environment, in line with its Marine Protected Areas strategy. This project relies on scientific data flow modelling collected, compiled and analyzed by Oceana, IUCN and... more

Biodiversity assessment reports on pollination and on scenarios and modelling launched

25 November 2016
The extent of the decline of bees, butterflies and other pollinator species is highlighted by the IPBES report. Photo: © DasWebWeib CC BY 2.0
The extent of the decline of bees, butterflies and other pollinator species was highlighted by a report published in full yesterday by the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). More than 75% of the world’s food crops rely to some degree on animal pollination, according to the report. The report draws substantially from IUCN work and expertise. “We’re delighted with how effectively the IPBES pollination report was able to draw from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ to document the high extinction risk facing t... more

Dolphins fostering Thailand-Cambodia cooperation for Marine Protected Areas

16 November 2016
Irrawaddy dolphins in Thai-Cambodian transboundary water. Photo: © Petch Manopawitr.
Results of an 18-month transboundary dolphin conservation project along the coastline of Thailand and Cambodia have confirmed that the transboundary coastal areas along the Thai-Cambodian border are particularly important habitats for the globally threatened Irrawaddy dolphin, and the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. The project has made significant progress in using dolphins as ambassadors to promote the concept of transboundary Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) management. Based on surveys conducted from 2008 to 2014, the population of ... more

Climate change dramatically disrupting nature from genes to ecosystems – study

10 November 2016
Kelp Forest. Photo: NOAA (CC BY 2.0).
Gland, Switzerland, 10 November, 2016 (IUCN) – Global changes in temperature have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth from genes to entire ecosystems, with increasingly worrying consequences for humans – according to a new study co-authored by the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Climate Change Specialist Group (SSC CCSG), published today in the journal Science. The study found that more than 80% of ecological processes that form the foundation for healthy marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems – such as changes to genetic diversity or seasonal mig... more

Living Planet Report predicts global vertebrate population to drop by two-thirds by 2020

08 November 2016
Living Planet Report 2016. Photo: WWF
The latest Living Planet Report 2016, published by WWF in collaboration with Global Footprint Network and Zoological Society of London, shows that the overexploitation of natural resources due to human activities could cause wildlife worldwide to decline by 67% by 2020. The report monitored over 3,000 vertebrate species (mammals, birds, fishes, amphibians, reptiles) from more than 14,000 different populations from around the world and found that 58% have already declined between 1970 and 2012. The data shows that this decline is occurring at an annual rate of 2%, with no indication of this r... more

Antarctic Ocean breakthrough: Ross Sea to become world's largest marine protection area

07 November 2016
Photo: © John Weller john@lastocean.com
Home to vitally important populations of Emperor and Adélie penguins, Weddell, Crabeater and Leopard seals as well as significant numbers of ... more

Major donation boosts efforts to save Madagascar’s lemur species from extinction

28 October 2016
Lemurs in tree. Photo: © Russell A. Mittermeier.
A significant donation from a private Geneva-based foundation will boost efforts to protect Madagascar’s endemic lemurs, 94% of which are threatened with extinction – as announced by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, ahead of World Lemur Day celebrated on 30 October. The donation will allow IUCN to implement – through the SOS - Save Our Species initiative – the Lemur Conservation Strategy, and to provide grants to civil society organisations for the implementation of lemur conservation actions over the next six years, starting from January 2017.... more

Elephant in the Room

21 October 2016
Protecting South Asia's elephants. Photo: Rohit Varma
Threatened by a brutal wildlife trade, habitat loss and degradation, the Endangered Asian elephant is now largely confined to India, with smaller populations found in other South Asian countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.  Established by UNEP through CITES, the MIKE (Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants) initiative is supporting elephant range State in monitoring elephant killings across Africa and Asia. The information is used to advise enforcement decisions and build capacities for lo... more

What does the new trade ban mean for pangolin conservation?

14 October 2016
The Chinese pangolin, listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Photo: Cuc Phuong
Pangolins gained the highest levels of protection under CITES with the decision to bring in a ban on international trade. Dan Challender from IUCN’s Global Species Programme and Co-Chair of IUCN’s SSC Pangolin Specialist Group looks at what this means for the conservation of these ‘scaly anteaters’. Until recently, pangolins were little known, arguably forgotten species, receiving little conservation attention and investment. Their profile has grown enormously over the last five years thanks to efforts from pangolin range states, the ... more

Keeping leopards in the spot(light) at CITES

13 October 2016
Leopard (Panthera pardus) Photo: P, Meier
At the 17th Congress of Parties of the Convention on Illegal Trade in Endangered Species (CITES CoP17) in Johannesburg, a side event reinforced the fact that leopards (Panthera pardus) need to stay in the spotlight and remain a conservation priority. The growing threat facing these iconic animals in the wild resulted in their conservation status declining from Near Threatened to Vulnerable in the June 2016 update of The IUCN Red List of Th... more

Growing support for regulating international trade in rays and sharks

06 October 2016
Photo: © Daniel Van Duinkerken, http://danielvandphoto.com, Instagram: daniel.van.d
Governments from around the world took solid steps toward ray and shark conservation at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa when they included commercially fished shark and ray species on CITES Appendix II, which limits trade in the species through permits to ensure their sustainability.  IUCN’s role as an inter-governmental observer organisation to the convention is to provide data and information from the IUCN Red List and the expertise of its 11,000 scientists. After the histo... more

Tropical Andes freshwater species at risk – first IUCN Red List assessment

03 October 2016
Protallagma hoffmanni. Photo: Franz-josef Schiel
Almost 18% of the freshwater biodiversity endemic to the Tropical Andes region of Bolivia, Perú, Ecuador and Colombia is threatened with extinction on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, according to a recent assessment by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and partners. The analysis of 967 species included freshwater fishes, freshwater molluscs, dragonflies and damselflies and a select group of aquatic plants. The main threats are agricultural activities, pollution, dams and water management, mining, and unsustainable use of biological resources, suc... more

A unified voice for African rhinos: Continent-wide conservation plan launched

28 September 2016
Photo: © Richard Emslie
African rhino conservation has seen a major boost this week with the launch of the continent-wide African Rhino Conservation Plan, led by South Africa and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s African Rhino Specialist Group (IUCN SSC AfRSG). The plan focuses on areas where African rhino range states can work together to enhance rhino conservation, such as sharing and analysing intelligence information, re-establishing rhino across boundaries, and enhancing effective funding for conservation. It does not seek to duplicate existing nation... more

Our Red List Species Assessors: Keeping up to speed with snails and slugs, an interview with Ben Rowson

28 September 2016
Photo: Ben Rowson
Terrestrial molluscs, which include snails and slugs, are prey to a large variety of animals, and provide important ecological functions such as soil and compost formation. In this interview with Dr Ben Rowson, a terrestrial mollusc expert based in Cardiff, Wales, he talks about his work and involvement with terrestrial mollusc research and conservation. This is the third of a series of interviews with our Red List Species Assessors currently involved in IUCN’s ... more

IUCN behind major advance for seahorse conservation

28 September 2016
Tiger-tail seahorse (Hippocampus comes) on coral. Photo: © Peter van den Eynde / Guylian Seahorses of the World
Thailand, the world’s largest exporter of seahorses, decided on Friday to end seahorse exports until it can address the threats they pose to wild populations. The decision followed 22 years of work on the issue by IUCN SSC’s Seahorse, Pipefish and Stickleback Specialist Group (SSC SPS SG), and was announced just before the ongoing 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Project Seahorse*, which acts as the ... more

Kering, ITC and IUCN release new data on the sustainability and livelihood benefits of python trade

24 September 2016
Photo: iStockphoto and Shutterstock
Three new reports published today by the Python Conservation Partnership (PCP), a partnership between Kering, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Species Survial Commission Boa and Python Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), reveal that the wild harvesting and farming of pythons is ecologically sustainable and results in socioeconomic benefits for poor households in South-East Asia. Initially presented yesterday at the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) in Johannesburg, South Africa, the “Sustainable Management of the Trade in Ret... more

Poaching behind worst African elephant losses in 25 years – IUCN report

23 September 2016
Photo: Julian Blanc
Africa’s overall elephant population has seen the worst declines in 25 years, mainly due to poaching over the past ten years – according to IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report launched today at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa.Africa’s overall elephant population has seen the worst declines in 25 years, mainly due to poaching – according to IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report launched today at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, taking place in Johannesburg, Sout... more

To Bee or not to Bee: An example of Bee specialization on a single flower species

21 September 2016
Juan Pedro González-Varo
A new study provides multiple lines of evidence on the total dependence of the endemic solitary bee Flavipanurgus venustus (Andrenidae) on a common Mediterranean scrub, the rockrose Cistus crispus. Observations were consistent across space (18 sites in SW Iberian Peninsula) and time (three years) despite the presence of several closely related Cistus species whose flowers are morphologically similar. These... more

Where (mangrove) trees thrive, birds prosper

15 September 2016
Photo: © Jessada Plodkaew/Marriott
Mangroves are a sign of resilience and resistance and are critical in maintaining the health of local fishing industries and in protecting vulnerable coastlines from natural disasters. They provide spawning and nursery areas for fish, food and other products for local livelihoods, and they offer habitat for endangered species including sea turtles and otters as well as nesting sites for birds. More recently, almost as if it came to celebrate the third anniversary of a fruitful partnership, a bird was seen nesting in one of the mangrove trees set up at the Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit Park in Bangko... more

Europe Overseas have bypassed Aichi target with 16% of their marine areas under protection

10 September 2016
Photo: Lauric Thiault
The EU Overseas [1] have reached and bypassed the target of marine protected areas (MPAs) set down in the Aichi 2010 declaration- a globally agreed target. A new publication on MPAs was pre-launched at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii on the 5th September. It shows that between the many EU Overseas islands worldwide, 16% of marine areas (3.5 million km²) are under some form of protection. Given the current plans of EU states, this could soon rise to 26% (or 5.5 million km²). To achieve the target, at least 10% of coastal and marine areas need to be conserved and effectivel... more

First global conservation priorities set – IUCN World Conservation Congress

07 September 2016
Photo: Dan Challender
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, 6 September (IUCN) – Limiting illegal trade in threatened species, promoting nature-based solutions to climate change and accounting for biodiversity conservation in the development of renewables are among the first global conservation priorities set today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawaiʻi. The 85 motions adopted by IUCN’s 1,300 government and civil society Members – following the first-ever electronic vote cast in August 2016 – include a ban on gillnet fishing threatening the vaquita porpoise and restrictions on trade... more

Beyond lip-service: designing Marine protected areas to deliver for people

06 September 2016
Photo: Imen Meliane
A new paper released at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i calls into question the current processes for marine protected areas designation and demands a new paradigm to secure ecosystems services conservation alongside biodiversity. By Imèn Meliane and Mark Spalding, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas As over 10,000 participants at the IUCN World Conservation Congress are celebrating massive new additions to the marine protected areas coverage, one has to wonder about right measure of conservation outcomes. Headlines and media attention on big numbers s... more

First assessment of the conservation status of butterflies in the Mediterranean

05 September 2016
Photo: Rudi Verovnik
The assessment reveals that 5% of the species assessed are threatened with extinction and proposes urgent conservation measures to halt the loss of biodiversity in the region. There are 462 butterflies native to the Mediterranean region and an assessment recently published by IUCN reveals that 19 butterfly species are threatened with extinction in the region, from which 15 are endemics. The report shows that the most serious threats to Mediterranean butterflies are the conversion of grasslands into agricultural land for arable farming or forestry, unsustainable levels of grazing as well a... more

Latest ocean warming review reveals extent of impacts on nature and humans

05 September 2016
Photo: Deepak Apte
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, 5 September (IUCN) – Ocean warming is affecting humans in direct ways and the impacts are already being felt, including effects on fish stocks and crop yields, more extreme weather events and increased risk from water-borne diseases, according to what has been called the most comprehensive review available on the issue, launched today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawai‘i. The report, ... more

Four out of six great apes one step away from extinction – IUCN Red List

04 September 2016
Eastern Gorilla. Critically Endangered. Photo: © Intu Boedhihartono
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, 4 September 2016 (IUCN) – The Eastern Gorilla – the largest living primate – has been listed as Critically Endangered due to illegal hunting, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ released today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawaiʻi. Four out of six great ape species are now Critically Endangered – only one step away from going extinct – with the remaining two also under considerable threat of extinction. Today’s IUCN Red List update also reports the decline of the Plai... more

Species Vulnerability to Climate Change - New Guidelines

03 September 2016
© Brigitta Bostrom
Hawaii September 3rd 2016. The new IUCN Guidelines for Assessing Species’ Vulnerability to Climate Change have been launched today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The guidelines provide the conservation community with a vital tool for that underpins efforts to help species adapt to climate change. “To develop effective conservation plans, you need to determine how species are being impacted by climate change, and how this will play out in the future,” said Dr Wendy Foden, Chair of the IUCN SSC Climate Change Specialist Group and co-editor of the guidelines... more

IUCN-led panel finds critically endangered whales in Russia recovering, but warns industry still poses threat

03 September 2016
Photo: © Gilad Rom CC BY-NC 2.0
The critically endangered western gray whale population that feeds in Russia’s Far East waters is slowly showing signs of recovery, but their numbers and range are still at risk from industry activity in the region, according to a new report released today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The joint report by IUCN-International Union for Conservation for Nature, WWF and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) examines the results of the work of an IUCN-led independent panel of scientists, which has been advising Sakhalin Energy – one of the largest companies operating... more

Paper reveals nature conservation knowledge is a bargain

17 August 2016
Photo: Mark Prince CC BY 2.0
A new study released today finds that the knowledge databases which underpin nature conservation and environmental decision-making – such as the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ - cost US$ 6.5 million annually to manage, plus the dedication of thousands of volunteers.  The authors estimated that US$ 160 million plus 293 volunteer-years have been invested to date in developing these datasets, and the shortfall to complete the datasets is approximately US$ 114 million. “This may sound expensive, but these costs are extremely low when compared with other societal e... more

IUCN expresses its gratitude to Dr Simon Stuart on his retirement from the Union

08 August 2016
Dr Simon Stuart, IUCN Species Survival Commission Chair (2008-2016). Photo: Jean-Christophe Vié
Dr Simon Stuart, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC), will be retiring after 30 years with IUCN. He will join Synchronicity Earth, a UK-based conservation charity, as Conservation Director. Dr Stuart has been an integral part of IUCN and a pillar of the Union’s renowned work on species conservation. He started work on the African Bird Red Data Book in 1983 before joining the Secretariat in 1986. During his tenure, Dr Stuart headed IUCN's Species Programme, served as Acting Director General and led the Biodiversity Assessment Unit. Dr Stuart has been Chair of the SSC... more

Fierce yet fragile: Coexistence in a changing world

31 July 2016
Photo: IUCN / Steve Winter
Tigers once inhabited vast parts of Asia, from Indonesia to the Central Asian states; they have now vanished from over 90% of their former range. On International Tiger Day we look at how IUCN's tiger programme is helping humans and tigers coexist – and making sure these magnificent predators survive in the wild.  Fierce yet fragile: see the full multimedia article... more

Reconnecting wildlife habitats - Can Htamanthi Become a Source Site for Tigers?

28 July 2016
Clouded Leopard by David Ellis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
In the last hundred years, tiger habitat has been significantly fragmented and transformed into isolated patches of habitats. A particular site can hold breeding females and a viable population (source), while a neighbouring one might have been depleted by poaching (sink). The key in this case is to recreate connectivity via corridors to allow the animals from source populations to disperse into sink habitats and to alleviate the damages when a disaster occurs. Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary (2,151 km2) is roughly 80% closed forest that is semi-evergreen, deciduous, and teak bearing. Like many... more

IUCN / KfW Tiger programme has started successfully the implementation phase

27 July 2016
Photo: “Tiger by the grass” by Eric Kilby is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Being at the top of the food chain, tigers need sprawling habitats, adequate prey and an intact ecosystem for their survival. Protecting these habitats and supporting the sustainable socio-economic development of the local communities living in and adjacent to these habitats are the aims of the Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP). Reduced to a simple denominator, this means: tigers can only survive in the long-term in the wild where the habitat is intact, and can only live alongside people where people live and interact with the environment sustainably. The ITHCP was star... more

Increasing tigers – the ultimate measure of conservation success

27 July 2016
Photo: DICE-FFI-Kerinci Seblat National Park-Panthera
In tiger conservation, tiger populations are the currency of conservation success.  If tiger numbers are increasing, we are doing our job well, but if numbers are declining, we need to work to understand the reasons for decline, and try new interventions.  Sounds simple enough, but how do we keep track of such secretive animals that prowl some of densest, darkest, most rugged and remote parts of the earth?  The answer lies in sophisticated mathematics, technology, and hard fieldwork. First the mathematics: while there are different sophisticated mathematical approaches to coun... more

IUCN Red List of Bangladesh 2015 reports 31 Regionally Extinct and 390 Threatened Animal Species

15 July 2016
Photo: IUCN
In 2000, IUCN Bangladesh first published the Red List of Threatened Animals of Bangladesh. Fifteen years later, the list has been updated including two invertebrate groups: Crustaceans and Butterflies. A total of 1619 animal species belonging to seven groups – mammals (138), birds (566), reptiles (167), amphibians (49), freshwater fishes (253), crustaceans (141), and butterflies (305) – have been assessed over the last 30 months. The updated Red List has recently been unveiled at an event in Dhaka, Bangladesh. During the assessment process, 160 assessors in Bangladesh assessed 16... more

DNA surveys offer hope to Vietnam's Critically Endangered Turtles

12 July 2016
Photo: eDNA methods are increasingly being used to survey endangered species such as the Vietnamese pond turtle © Adam Stern/Wikimed
Advanced environmental DNA techniques are being used extensively in Vietnam as researchers continue in their efforts to track down selected species of Critically Endangered reptiles. The methods have been successful in detecting the rare cave salamander (Proteus anguinus) in Montenegro, a project also funded by CEPF, turtles, other amphibians, and fish. The approach, which involves surveying particular areas of potential habitat to see if an elusive animal has left behind its DNA, has had limited success in the country so far. But researchers aren't giving up however, and remain hopeful... more

The First World Saola Day Calls for Urgent Action to Save the Critically Endangered “Asian Unicorn” in Vietnam and Lao PDR

11 July 2016
Saola. Photo: © David Hulse/WWF
On World Saola Day, WWF and IUCN’s Saola Working Group are calling for urgent action to save one of the world’s most endangered and rarely seen mammals -- the elusive Saola, often called the “Asian Unicorn” -- which was discovered 24 years ago and lives in the dense jungles of Vietnam and Lao PDR. The Saola has only been recorded in the wild a handful of times by scientists since its discovery -- most recently in November 2013 camera trap photos that gave renewed hope for its survival after 15 years since the last photographic evidence. It is threatened by poaching sn... more

Whale Sharks, Winghead Sharks and Bornean Orangutans slide towards extinction

08 July 2016
Whale Shark. Photo: IUCN Photo Library/ © Andre Seale
New IUCN Red List assessments reveal that growing human pressures on Whale Sharks, Winghead Sharks and Bornean Orangutans are putting these species at an increasing risk of extinction. Whale sharks and winghead sharks are now listed as Endangered and Bornean orangutans as Critically Endangered – only one step from going extinct. “It is alarming to see such emblematic species slide towards extinction,” says Jane Smart, Director of IUCN's Global Species Programme. “These new IUCN Red List assessments emphasise how urgent it is for the conservation community to act s... more

IUCN and GIZ launch review of best practice in wildlife law enforcement in Sub-Saharan African protected areas

08 July 2016
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana). Photo: Alicia Wirz (IUCN Photo Library).
Around the world, wildlife is being depleted by illegal activities at an alarming rate, depriving local populations and national economies of important natural capital. Moreover, this loss has a significant impact on national and regional security. Poaching in Sub-Saharan Africa for example has been subject to a growing professionalization, largely controlled by armed groups that are increasingly organised in international networks due to large profit margins. In 2015, for example, more than 1,300 rhinos were poached in Sub-Sahara Africa, and over 20,000 elephants Africa-wide. In addition... more

IUCN expresses concern at implications for the environment of Brexit

01 July 2016
UK Prime Minister David Cameron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker arrive at the E.U. Summit (28 June 2016). Source: Reuters
IUCN is concerned about the implications for the environment of the British decision to leave the EU. In addition to the anticipated consequences for British environment policies, it poses challenges for future international cooperation and creates uncertainty around European environmental legislation. EU Environmental policy is based on the principle that most environmental issues do not respect national boundaries and are better addressed by common action rather than unilaterally. The UK’s departure from the EU could profoundly affect decisions and positions related to the environmen... more

Where next with the science of ocean acidification?

30 June 2016
Farmed scallops at threat from ocean acidification, Chile. Photo credit: Nelson Suarez
How will ocean acidification affect fisheries around the world as carbon dioxide levels rise? This question is among the research priorities identified by leading scientists in a new report authored by IUCN experts. Research shows that rising levels of dissolved carbon dioxide cause ocean acidification, which is expected to harm many marine species, but much remains unknown. Which regions will be most affected, how quickly species will adapt, and how ecosystems will react to ocean acidification combined with other stresses such as pollution, warming and over-exploitation are on the resear... more

IUCN Director General’s statement on World Environment Day

29 June 2016
Banana Orchid (Myrmecophila thomsoniana) is listed as Endangered on The IUCN Red List. Photo: José Pestana
It’s big business, it’s a growing threat to our environment, and it’s illegal. It is wildlife trafficking. Latest estimates are that the illegal trade in wildlife is worth between US$ 50 billion and $150 billion a year and it is driving numerous species towards extinction, so we need to do all we can to stamp it out. As many as 20,000 African elephants were poached for their ivory in 2013 alone, illegal hunting of rhinos for their horns is still rising, and it is estimated that one million pangolins have been killed for their scales and meat over the past decade. But... more

Meet the fishers helping save threatened dolphins

25 April 2016
Spinner dolphins are one of numerous at risk marine species
Photo: Rubaiyat Mansur
Preventing bycatch of threatened marine megafauna is a challenging task, writes Brian D. Smith from the Bay of  Bengal, Bangladesh. Fishers are often unable to detect Irrawaddy dolphins entangled in their nets. But according to Brian there are solutions.  This blog piece originally appeared on the IUCN Blog in February this year. It is one of a series of SOS Grantee blogs to be featured relating news from conservation projects worldwide. Early one morning WCS researcher Rubaiyat Mansur received a phone call. It was from Sonjoy Kumar Dash, one of the gillnet fishing captains participa... more

Poachers turn protectors in Bassa Point community

20 April 2016
Trokon and colleague recording waypoint for peg demarcating the beach for patrolling purposes
Photo: Anthony Peabody
“I started poaching turtle eggs when I was ten years old!” declares Anthony Peabody. Since 2012, however, Anthony has been working as a beach monitor and turtle protector thanks to Sea Turtle Watch (STW) Liberia’s community oriented conservation programme. With four species including Hawksbill, Leatherback, Olive Ridley and Green turtles using these beaches, Liberia is important for marine turtle conservation.   In a country with relatively weak marine turtle conservation legislation, NGOs like STW Liberia are working directly with coastal communities to help reduce... more

Bhutan: more than half

20 April 2016
Bhutan, Himalayas
Photo: Nigel Dudley
A tiny Himalayan country, landlocked between India and China, has become one of the first – perhaps the first – to meet calls for “nature needs half” by setting aside over half of its land into protected areas and biological corridors. As Bhutan develops, after centuries of isolation, exactly what this commitment means is a focus of both national and international attention. The country has many natural advantages: Bhutan is extremely mountainous, with a small population (780,000 people) and is overwhelmingly Buddhist, where people put high value on the sanctity of all l... more

Bush fire management in the Boé

18 April 2016
Chimbo Boé landscape in the rainy season
Photo: Chimbo
In a region such as the Boé, Guinea Bissau, effective fire management is critical to maintaining a balance between local wildlife and farming community needs, according to Tedros Medhin, project coordinator with grantee Stichting Chimbo (Chimbo). “Thanks to SOS our bush fire control program could be expanded”. The project target species is Chimpanzees in and around the future Boé National Park.  Using slash and burn techniques for local agriculture compounded by the threat of illegal bush fires for hunting place significant pressures on the ecosystems and wildlif... more

Exposing illegal trade in elephant tusks

15 April 2016
Cocoa truck hiding ivory tusk, Djoum, Cameroon
Photo: Oliver Fankem
Following a seizure of ivory, a suspected illegal trader has been sentenced to imprisonment. Paul de Ornellas of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), a grantee with IUCN’s SOS initiative, explains how ZSL helped expose the crime.  In November 2014, a project team working in the Dja Biosphere Reserve (DBR), a conservation area in Cameroon and home to the Endangered forest elephant, was involved in arresting a suspect with 91 kg of tusk hidden in his truck full of cocoa bags. Illegal wildlife traders in the region often hide illicitly obtained goods such as ivory, elephant tails an... more

Hammerhead shark conservation in Costa Rican fishing communities

13 April 2016
Close up with an iconic species - an all too frequent victim of unsustainable fishing practices
Photo: Pretoma
A day in the life of community leader Doña Miriam Vargas highlights her fishery’s work to protect Costa Rica’s hammerhead sharks – as described by Andy Bystrom, project coordinator with SOS Grantee PRETOMA.  It’s 6 a.m. and Miriam Vargas wades through the placid estuary waters from one small fishing boat to the next. She carries a long knife covered in blood, slime, and fish guts. Her ripped t-shirt and faded shorts are stained with the same bloody mess that drips from the knife and into the warm water around her feet. She grabs snapper after snapper with he... more

Reality bites with game theory in West African Sawfish conservation

11 April 2016
Ceuna and Cécile before the workshop event
Photo: DRDH
“Outreach and sensitization has to be tuned to local sensibilities”, explains Cécile Brigaudeau, project coordinator with AfricaSaw, from Cacine, a town five hours’ drive from the capital of Guinea-Bissau – three of them on dirt track. Using Game Theory, local fishers built their own solution to preserving their marine resources including sawfish. "And now the role-play model is ready for roll-out in other communities across the region". In one hand Cécile is holding a loop of blue string - the fishery border in the game - while in the other are t... more

A catchy song to help save sharks from Costa Rican menus

08 April 2016
Dogandul playing in the streets
Photo: Dogandul
Almost everyone loves a catchy song. Especially Costa Ricans. That's good news for Hammerhead sharks. Working with Costa Rican music band Dogandul, Andy Bystrom, of SOS Grantee PRETOMA, is seeing changes in attitudes and hopefully behaviours about eating shark meat in local restaurants. For PRETOMA, a popular singalong represented a smart solution to the eternal conundrum: how to engage the general public in conservation issues. Yo No Como Tiburon (I don't eat shark meat) - rallies Costa Ricans to stand for sharks in a fun passionate way. PRETOMA's work focuses on protecting Hammerhead... more

IUCN’s nature conservation efforts boosted by new hub in Cambridge

06 April 2016
More than 500 conservation professionals are based on the campus.
Photo: Toby Smith
The work of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will be enhanced by a new campus opened today in Cambridge, UK. The new hub, located in a building named after the leading naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, is designed to act as a catalyst for solutions to the most serious problems facing the natural world. The campus houses the Cambridge Conservation Initiative¹, the largest cluster of biodiversity conservation organisations and university researchers in the world. IUCN is one of nine partners² working with the University of Cambridge in the Initiativ... more

The future of Ituri Forest's Elephants

31 March 2016
Elephants in the Ituri Forest have been decimated by poaching
Photo: Reto Kuster
"It is up to you the youth of Mambasa. The future of the elephants is in your hands!” Throwing down his challenge to the next generation, the Administrator of the Mambasa Territory in the Ituri Forest of Democratic Republic of Congo was marking the area’s first ever World Elephant Day (2015). It was the inauguration of a month-long outreach campaign. Involving local language radio debates, song contests for schoolchildren and inter-community football matches for young adults, activities had rallied pride in local flora and fauna including forest elephants and okapi – long... more

Multi-stakeholder collaboration first for species conservation in Indonesia

31 March 2016
International conservationists, the global zoo community and the Indonesian government at a workshop on species conservation in Bogor, Indonesia.
Photo: IUCN
Jakarta, Indonesia, 25 March 2016 — International conservationists and the global zoo community are joining forces with the Indonesian national government for the first time to support species conservation in the country. Zoo associations in South-East Asia, Europe and North America are linking up with IUCN, species specialists and departments of the Indonesian government. It is likely that you have never heard of the species in question. The banteng and anoa are wild cattle, while the babirusa is a pig; the teeth of males grow upward through the roof of the mouth and curve toward their... more

Getting Started with Mangabe’s Youth for Lemurs Initiative

25 March 2016
Young people to save the lovely lemurs
Photo: Madagasikara Voakajy
Tapping into young people’s energy is key to shifting from conflict to coexistence, according to Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka.  Julie is Executive Director of Madagasikara Voakajy (MAVOA): a two-time SOS Grantee focused on working in the Mangabe new protected area in north-central Madagascar. The NGO’s most recent project aims to save lemurs by developing sustainable alternative livelihood opportunities for Mangabe’s young people and represents the ultimate win-win deal, she asserts. Having assembled her project team from local young adults, the grassroots NGO is ready to... more

Raja Ampat: The Crown Jewel of the Coral Triangle

22 March 2016
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Photo: Helen Klimmek
Located on the north-western tip of West Papua, Indonesia, in the heart of the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Encompassing around 4.5 million hectares of land and sea, the archipelago is home to more than 1,400 species of fish and 75% of the world’s known coral species, earning it the nickname 'species factory'.  As well as being a globally significant biodiversity hotspot, the nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands provide a vital source of nutrition and a basis for local livelihoods, making the protection of Raja Ampat’s ecosys... more

IUCN Director General announces first round of tiger projects

17 March 2016
Tigers are apex predators and need vast spaces and abundant prey to survive.
Photo: Jimena Montane
In the last hundred years, the number of tigers in the wild has plummeted by a staggering 97%. The answer to this alarming fall was 2010’s St Petersburg Declaration, strongly backed by the World Bank, which aimed to double the global tiger population by 2022.  Almost six years have passed since St Petersburg and over this time I have witnessed encouraging signs of progress. Tiger pop... more

IUCN reports deepening rhino poaching crisis in Africa

09 March 2016
Black Rhino.
Photo: © Richard Emslie
The number of African rhinos killed by poachers has increased for the sixth year in a row with at least 1,338 rhinos killed by poachers across Africa in 2015, according to new data compiled by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG). This is the highest level since the current crisis began to emerge in 2008. Since then poachers have killed at least 5,940 African rhinos. Demand for rhino horn from South East Asia is being illegally supplied by sophisticated transnational organised crime networks. “The... more

IUCN GMPP Oceans Photographer of the Year 2016

03 March 2016
Sea turtle
Photo: © P. Meier
Open for entries until the 25th of May 2016 The IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme invites you to submit up to 3 photographs per category: (A) Marine Life (B) The Poles (C) Destinations (D) Human impact (E) Marine Conservation (F) Open Choice An overall winner and winners of each category will receive a prize and the winning pictures will be displayed at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii later this year.
Please send your photos to 2016photocompetition@iucn.org with the title of the competition in the subject.

Rules and Regulations: The competition is op... more

Global plan aims to save elusive Okapi from extinction

18 February 2016
Okapi
Photo: ZSL
Gland, Switzerland, 18 February 2016 (IUCN) - The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), supported by partners including the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and global conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), has published the first-ever coordinated global strategy to protect the unique and elusive Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) from extinction in the wild. The 10-year strategy, guided by a detailed review of the species’ status through a range-wide, mu... more

Help us improve our website

17 February 2016
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Our Red List Species Assessors: an interview with Benoȋt Dodelin, Saproxylic Beetle Expert

04 February 2016
Benoit Dodelin
Photo: Benoit Dodelin
Saproxylic beetles play an important role in decomposition processes and nutrient recycling in natural ecosystems, as they are involved in, or dependent on, wood decay. Dr. Dodelin is based in Lyon, France, and has been researching beetles in Europe for more than a decade. Here, he talks about his career and his involvement in saproxylic beetle conservation. This is the first of a series of interviews with our Red List Species Assessors. In these interviews we explore how they first got interested in their species groups and how they became involved in conservation. Our first interviewee is a s... more

Saving the World's most illegally traded wild mammal

23 January 2016
Sunda Pangolin
Photo: Dan Challender
Pangolins are the most heavily poached and trafficked mammals on the planet. Until recently, most people didn’t even know they existed. Earlier this year, a major new conservation initiative was launched to raise awareness of pangolins and address the key threats to their survival. SOS Grantee Carly Waterman of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), an IUCN Member brings us up to speed on pangolins and conservation actions to save them from extinction. What is a pangolin? Also known as scaly-anteaters, pangolins are the world’s only truly scaly mammals. They are adapted to feed exc... more

2015 IUCN Species Highlights

12 January 2016
2015 IUCN species highlights
Photo: IUCN
Throughout 2015, the IUCN Global Species Programme and Species Survival Commission (SSC) have been working together tirelessly toward the mission of reducing the loss of diversity of life on earth. Below is a summary of some of the key events and achievements. Updates to The IUCN Red List The IUCN Red List was updated three times in 2015. The IUCN Red List now includes 79,837 assessed species, of which 23,250 are threatened with extinction, with habitat loss and degradation identified as the main threat to more than 80% of species assessed. Fundraising There were several exciting fundraising de... more

One third of the world’s freshwater fish at risk from hydropower dam expansion

08 January 2016
Bhumipol Dam, Thailand
Photo: Thanyapat Wanitchanon_Shutterstock
A paper released today in Science shows that an unprecedented boom in construction of hydropower dams in the world’s most biodiverse river basins – the Amazon, Congo and Mekong – is placing one third of the world’s freshwater fish at risk. Findings from the paper “Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong", highlight that whilst the planned construction of around 450 new dams will provide an energy needs solution, there is currently a lack of accounting for the negative impacts to freshwater biodiversity. Insufficient consid... more

60 new African dragonfly species described

05 January 2016
Black Relic (Pentaphlebia mangana) male
Photo: Nico Mzire
Only a fifth of the nine million species of animal, plant and fungus thought to occur on earth are known. Dragonflies (which include damselflies) are generally considered well-known but researchers have recently described 60 new species, the greatest number of newly described dragonflies in about a century. All dragonflies are bound to freshwater, which occupies less than 1% of the planet’s surface but is home to 10% of all animal species. The beauty and sensitivity of dragonflies is a perfect symbol for freshwater health and biodiversity. As dragonflies are good indicators of water quali... more

Persistence pays with sea turtle education and sensitisation in Sierra Leone

14 December 2015
Education and sensitization meeting in Moot on Turtle Island
Photo: Augustine Sesay
“Community education and sensitisation meetings are considered integral for conservation projects such as ours",  explains Edward Aruna (Eddie), project leader with RAP-SL, an SOS Grantee working to save Sierra Leone's sea turtles from over-harvesting, human disturbance and climate change. “We can provide tools and knowledge and we can impart a vision of a more sustainable life along Sierra Leone’s coast. But that vision has to be a shared one – how those meetings take place is just as important as what we talk about." When Ebola Virus Disease broke out in... more

World’s 25 most endangered primates revealed

24 November 2015
Philippine tarsier
Photo: Russell A. Mittermeier
The latest edition of ‘Primates in Peril: The world’s 25 most endangered primates’ has been revealed today. Compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC), Bristol Zoological Society, the International Primatological Society (IPS), and Conservation International (CI), new additions to the list include Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) and Lavasoa Mountains Dwarf Lemur (Cheirogaleus lavasoensis), both of which are threatened by habitat loss.&nbs... more

New assessment highlights climate change as most serious threat to Polar Bear survival - IUCN Red List

19 November 2015
Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) - Vulnerable
Photo: Alan D. Wilson (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Gland, Switzerland, 19 November 2015 (IUCN) – A global re-assessment of Polar Bears highlights loss of sea ice habitat due to climate warming as the single most important threat to the long-term survival of the species, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ released today by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature. This update also highlights habitat degradation as a main threat to many fungus species and over-fishing as the key driver of decline in marine bony fish. The IUCN Red List now includes 79,837 assessed species, of which 23... more

A campaign for carnivorous plants – IUCN Red List

17 November 2015
Support The IUCN Red List Carnivorous Plants Campaign!
Photo: Marco Uliana/Shutterstock
Carnivorous plants are in danger. Their diverse beauty and unique behaviours make them vulnerable to over-collection for the horticultural trade. Poaching and habitat fragmentation and destruction, driven largely by agriculture, logging, and mining operations, represent major threats to many species. We urgently need to gain a better understanding of their global status, and we need your help! We have just launched a fundraising campaign to help complete the assessment of all carnivorous plants for The IUCN Red List. Only 20% of the roughly 750 carnivorous plant species have so far been assesse... more

SOS – Save Our Species announces first nine projects under special initiative 'SOS Lemurs'

30 October 2015
SOS Lemurs is a special initiative of SOS - Save Our Species
Photo: Natacha Bigan
Today is World Lemur Day, when we celebrate both the uniqueness and diversity of Madagascar’s lemurs - the world’s most threatened group of mammals. Today, however, with the announcement of the first nine new lemur conservation projects by SOS - Save Our Species, the future is looking that little bit brighter for these charismatic primates and the communities who depend on their survival.  Specifically, these projects will be supporting direct conservation work in nine different priority locations while helping protect 24 threatened lemur species. This includes Aye-Ayes, Sifak... more

QuizUp “Wildlife in Crisis” topic released

30 October 2015
QuizUp Wildlife in Crisis
Photo: QuizUp
United for Wildlife, a wildlife crime-fighting coalition of major conservation organisations including IUCN, has teamed up with QuizUp, the biggest trivia game in the world, to release a conservation topic titled “Wildlife in Crisis”. QuizUp is a multi-player trivia app in which one user competes against another during seven rounds of timed multiple-choice questions of various topics. The content for the Wildlife in Crisis topic released today was developed by IUCN with the support of The Royal Foundation of The Duke... more

Conservationists warn Africa’s vultures are sliding towards extinction

29 October 2015
Bearded Vulture, Near Threatened
Photo: Marietjie Froneman
Gland, Switzerland 29 October 2015 (IUCN) – Six of Africa’s 11 vulture species – the continent’s largest and most recognisable birds of prey – are now at a higher risk of extinction, according to the latest assessment of birds for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, carried out by BirdLife International – an IUCN Red List partner. The main causes of the drop in African vulture populations are thought to be indiscriminate poisonings, where the birds are drawn to poisoned baits, use of vulture... more

LIFE project funds new assessments for IUCN's European Red List

16 October 2015
LIFE Financial Instrument
Photo: European Commission
A new project, partly funded by the European Commission’s LIFE financial instrument will allow for the assessment of approximately 4,000 additional species and their subsequent addition to the European Red List. Invertebrate species and plants will be the beneficiaries of these assessments, which will bring the total number of species assessed on the continent from 9,375 species to more than 15,000 by 2018, when the newly-financed assessments are set to be completed. Supported by the ... more

Eye on Earth set to overcome sustainable development data challenges at a critical time for decision makers

06 October 2015
Sandbanks in the Wadden Sea Netherlands
Photo: ESA
Abu Dhabi, 6 October 2015 - The second Eye on Earth Summit opened in Abu Dhabi today, with leaders of the Summit Alliance partner organisations highlighting the critical role the movement is playing in promoting dialogue and driving international action to help overcome the challenges associated with data to support informed decision-making for sustainable development. Representing the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and new partners Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the International... more

Illegal trade contributes to placing cacti among world's most threatened species – IUCN Red List

05 October 2015
Eriosyce chilensis Photo © Pablo C. Guerrero
Gland, Switzerland, 5 October 2015 (IUCN) – Thirty-one percent of cactus species are threatened with extinction, according to the first comprehensive, global assessment of the species group by IUCN and partners, published today in the journal Nature Plants. This places cacti among the most threatened taxonomic groups assessed on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ - more threatened than mammals and birds. According to the report, cacti are under increasing pressure from human activity, with more than half of the world’s 1,480 cactus species used by people. The ille... more

Updated African Elephant Database reveals declining elephant populations

28 September 2015
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Photo: Esther Birchmeier
"Definite" plus "Probable" African Elephant numbers have decreased from approximately 550,000 to 470,000 between 2006 and 2013, according to the IUCN SSC African Elephant Specialist Group’s (AfESG) latest update of the African Elephant Database (AED). The AED is the repository of African Elephant survey data from range state governments, NGOs, and other sources of expertise. These new data are view... more

Sumatran rhino likely to go extinct unless action is taken urgently, warns IUCN

22 September 2015
Sumatran Rhino
Photo: David Ellis CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
With fewer than 100 Sumatran Rhinos surviving in the wild, the species will probably become extinct unless the Indonesian Government urgently implements the Sumatran Rhino recovery plan, warns IUCN on World Rhino Day. The remaining 100 Sumatran Rhinos represent less than half of the population size estimated during the last IUCN Red List assessment of the species in 2008. Listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, the Sumatran Rhino is now presumed extinct in the wild in Malaysia, as... more

HE Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi receives Sir Peter Scott Conservation Award

16 September 2015
HE Mohammed Al Bowardi receiving the award from Dr Simon Stuart
Photo: EAD
HE Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Managing Director of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), was awarded the 2015 Sir Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit at the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Leaders’ Meeting in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The Sir Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit recognises individuals for their significant and long-term service to conservation, through their work with the SS... more

Over 300 conservation experts meet to tackle extinction crisis

15 September 2015
The 2015 SSC Leaders' Meeting brings together over 300 conservation experts
Photo: EAD
The third IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Leaders’ Meeting kicked off today in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This meeting brings together over 300 conservationists with diverse expertise to address how global conservation efforts can be improved to halt the alarming rate of biodiversity loss. Supported by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), the 2015 Leaders’ Meeting will run from 15-18 September. The ... more

More Slender-snouted Crocodiles thanks to improved captive-breeding in Abidjan National Zoo

11 September 2015
Mecistops cataphractus juvenile
Photo: Matt Shirley
“Now, at the beginning of our third breeding season here at the Abidjan National Zoo we’re incubating 110 eggs – that’s almost 50% more than 2014!” says Dr. Matt Shirley. Project coordinator with SOS Grantee Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF), Matt explains the higher figures are most certainly a result of better daily care resulting in reduced stress, and an improved food supply for these Critically Endangered crocodiles. The role of training and the dedication of a team of Zoo personnel and volunteers cannot be underestimated in the project’s progr... more

CITES and IUCN bolster collaboration in tackling poaching and illegal wildlife trade

28 August 2015
African elephant flapping its ears.
Photo: Julian Blanc (AfESG)
Geneva, 28 August 2015 – The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature have signed an agreement this week to strengthen the cooperation between the two organisations in minimising the illegal killing of and related illegal trade in elephants and other CITES-listed flagship species in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region. The agreement has been signed in the context of the project known as MIKES (Minimizing the Illegal Killing of Elephants and other... more

Major breakthrough in fight to save Asian vultures from extinction

28 August 2015
<i>Gyps bengalensis</i> Source: Allan Hopkins https://www.flickr.com/photos/hoppy1951/ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
A major step for the future of vultures in Asia has been announced by the Indian Ministry of Health. A ban of multi-dose vials of human formulations of diclofenac, which is responsible for the death of tens of millions of Asia’s vultures, has come into force with immediate effect. The painkiller was banned from veterinary use in India in 2006 because of its lethal effects on vultures that feed on the carcasses of treated cattle and buffaloes, but human formulations of the drug have been illegally used to treat animals since then. The ban sees diclofenac production now restricted to human... more

IUCN Red List Committee receives SCB Distinguished Service Award

13 August 2015
IUCN and Red List Partners at ICCB-ECCB 2015
Photo: IUCN
IUCN is delighted to receive a Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Distinguished Service Award for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Mike Hoffmann, Senior Scientist to IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) and Chair of the IUCN Red List Committee, accepted the award on behalf of the wider Red List community at the 27th International Congress on Conservation Biology (ICCB) held in Montpellier, France, on 2 August 2015. The SCB ... more

IUCN’s Save Our Species announces SOS Lemurs – an SOS Special Initiative

06 August 2015
Young black and white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata editorum)
Photo: Russ Mittermeier
In July 2015, SOS – Save Our Species launched its fourth Call for Proposals (CFP); this time dedicated to helping save Madagascar’s lemurs. Successful projects from this CFP will be the first grantees in the SOS Lemurs Special Initiative. For more information, applicants can follow this link to compete for a grant before 7th September 2015. By aligning closely with the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Primate Specialist Group’s ... more

IUCN celebrates International Tiger Day 2015

29 July 2015
Tiger in the grass
Photo: Eric Kilby (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Statement by IUCN Director General, Inger Andersen, on International Tiger Day. The tiger – iconic beast of the forest. A symbol of strength, grace and power. The stuff of legend. It’s inconceivable that this magnificent creature which inspired the awe and wonder of our childhood could be pushed to the brink of extinction. But indeed it has. Today we mark International Tiger Day – born at an international summit in 2010 that was held in response to the shocking fact that 97% of tigers disappeared during the 20th century with numbers plummeting from about 100,000 to around 3,0... more

IUCN grants top management Green List award to iconic Doñana

22 July 2015
<i>Lynx pardinus</i>. Photo: A Rivas.
One of the most biodiverse areas in Europe – Doñana National Park and Natural Reserve – was granted IUCN’s Green List status today in recognition of the successful conservation efforts of its managers. Thanks to its management, Doñana has become the main stronghold of conservation for one of the most threatened European mammals – the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus), a species recently brought back from the brink of extinction. Following six decades of decline, the population of the... more

Giraffe research and conservation in northern Tanzania

16 July 2015
Giraffe chewing cud
Photo: Monica Bond
IUCN headquarters in Switzerland was very pleased to be visited by Dr. Derek Lee and Monica Bond of the Wild Nature Institute and IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group on 29 June 2015. They gave a presentation to explain their cutting-edge research on giraffes in Tanzania. Although giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are listed globally as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Spec... more

One of World’s Rarest Turtles Heading Back to the Wild

14 July 2015
Southern river terrapin - Batagur affinis
Photo: Thida Leiper / WCS
Great news from Cambodia, one of the four countries where the Turtle Survival Alliance and its partners are implementing an SOS-funded project to help protect and conserve the South East Asian Terrapins. The Cambodian component of the project, carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration announced the release of 21 captive-raised southern river terrapins (Batagur affinis) back into their native habitat in southwest Cambodia. Southern river terrapins were believed to be extinct in Cambodia until 2000 when a s... more

Cycad poacher sentenced to 10 years of prison

08 July 2015
Encephalartos lehmannii - Karoo Cycad
Photo: Adam Pires / EWT
In a ground-breaking decision, and for the first time on record in the Eastern Cape and possibly in South Africa as a whole, an Encephalartos cycad poacher has been sentenced to ten years of direct imprisonment by the Jansenville regional court. The EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust), one of IUCN’s SOS grantees, would like to commend the National Prosecuting Authority, Advocate Coetzee, and the members of the South African Police Service who arrested the aforementioned poacher as well as three others. This is a truly outstanding conclusion to this case and will hopefully send a strong... more

Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve and Brazil’s Cerrado face increasing threats – IUCN

01 July 2015
Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus)
Photo: Jack Dykinga
IUCN raises concerns over the state of Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and Brazil’s Cerrado Protected Areas today at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting taking place in Bonn, Germany. As recommended by IUCN, the World Heritage Committee requested today a report from Mexico, in consultation with Canada and the United States, regarding efforts to conserve the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. The Monarch Butterfly crosses all three countries during its annual multi-generational migration. The report will be examined by the Committee in 2017. Mexico’s Mona... more

Support the IUCN Red List Bumblebee Campaign

30 June 2015
Bumblebee. Photo: Pieter van Marion (CC BY-NC 2.0)
For the next thirty days, you will hear a slight buzzing from The IUCN Red List. We have just launched The IUCN Red List bumblebee campaign! Bumblebees are incredibly important animals. They are vital pollinators of both wild and crop plants. Many economically important plants, such as tomatoes and blueberries, rely on bumblebees to produce fruit. Worryingly, like other bees, many bumblebee species are in decline, largely due to agricultural intensification - leading to habitat loss and increased pesticide use - as well as climate change and introduced pathogens. More than 200 of the world&rsqu... more

Conservation successes overshadowed by more species declines – IUCN Red List update

23 June 2015
Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus)
Photo: A. Rivas
Successful conservation action has boosted the populations of the Iberian Lynx and the Guadalupe Fur Seal, while the African Golden Cat, the New Zealand Sea Lion and the Lion are facing increasing threats to their survival, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Ninety-nine percent of tropical Asian slipper orchids – some of the most highly prized ornamental plants – are threatened with extinction. Today’s update also shows that over-collection and habitat destruction are placing enormous pressure on many medicinal plants. The IUCN Re... more

New Splash Page for IUCN Red List Campaign

15 June 2015
New Red List Splash Page
We will shortly be launching a campaign to support the work of The IUCN Red List.  During this period, the entry page for The IUCN Red List website will change – the small pop up that appears currently will be replaced by a full screen page that will look like this:     To show your support for our work you click on     To use The IUCN Red List you click on        ... more

West and Central Africa’s wildlife in trouble, shows new IUCN report

12 June 2015
Dama Gazelle Nanger dama (CR) in the Manga, Chad
Photo: John Newby / Sahara Conservation Fund
A new IUCN report released today evaluates the state of West and Central Africa’s terrestrial and freshwater fauna and highlights the inadequacy of responses to rapid wildlife decline in the region. Improved legislation and much more effective protection is urgently required to meet international targets for protected areas and halting biodiversity loss. The report attributes the erosion of West and Central Africa’s biodiversity to habitat loss and degradation due to rapid urbanization, agricultural expansion and unsustainable resource exploitation, as well as hunting for bushmeat a... more

IUCN launches second call for Tiger conservation projects

10 June 2015
Tiger (Panthera tigris)
Photo: Sascha Kohlmann CC BY-SA 2.0
After a successful first call for proposals in October last year, IUCN's Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP) is now calling for a second round of proposals from eligible applicants. The Endangered Tiger (Panthera tigris) now persists in only 6% of its former range. Three of the nine subspecies (Bali, Caspian and Javan) became extinct in the last century with a fourth subspecies (South China) not seen in the wild since the 1970s. In a concerted effort to conserve remaining tiger populations, the 1... more

Critically Endangered spider saved from planning development

10 June 2015
The Horrid Ground-weaver (Nothophantes horridus)
Photo: Duncan Allen
IUCN is delighted that the petition launched by Buglife-The Invertebrate Conservation Trust to save the Critically Endangered Horrid Ground-weaver from planning development was a huge success! Buglife announced yesterday that this incredibly rare spider has been given a fighting chance of survival, after an appeal to build new houses in an old quarry was dismissed. The Horrid Ground-weaver (Nothophantes horridus) is a tiny money spider which has only been found in three sites in Plymouth, United Kingdom. One of t... more

Superabundant bird decline mirrors Passenger Pigeon

08 June 2015
Yellow-breasted Bunting. Photo: 57Andrew (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
One of Eurasia’s most abundant bird species has declined by 90% and retracted its range by 5000 km since 1980 a new study shows. Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola was once distributed over vast areas of Europe and Asia, its range stretching from Finland to Japan. New research published in the journal Conservation Biology suggest that unsustainable rates of hunting, principally in China, have contributed to no... more

Despite conservation successes, 13% of European birds still at risk of extinction

03 June 2015
Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
Photo: Michael Finn
The new European Red List of Birds, published today and produced by the European Commission and BirdLife International, reveals that 13% of European bird species are threatened with extinction, largely due to habitat loss and degradation and climate change. “The European Red List tells us that we have done a decent job at rescuing the rarest species by protecting their last strongholds and taking actions such as eradication of invasive species and insulation... more

First complete assessment of European marine fishes highlights major threat from overfishing

03 June 2015
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus)
Photo: OCEANA Keith Ellenbogen
A total of 7.5% of all European marine fish species are threatened with extinction in European waters, according to the European Red List of Threatened Species published today by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and the European Commission. While some species are recovering, marine management has been less successful for many other commercial fishes: 40.4% of European sharks, rays and chimaeras face an elevated risk of extinction. The Red List report, financed by the European Commission, is the first ever complete assessment of marine fishes native to Europe, assessing all... more

Limnos Plump Bush-cricket rediscovered

02 June 2015
Isophya lemnotica
Photo: Axel Hochkirch
For the first time since its description in 1927, the Limnos Plump Bush-Cricket (Isoypha lemnotica) has been rediscovered on the Greek island Limnos. During an excursion in May 2015, Luc Willemse, member of the IUCN SSC Grasshopper Specialist Group has rediscovered a rare bush-cricket species that was lost since 1927. The Limnos Plump Bush-Cricket is endemic to the Greek Aegean island Limnos (sometimes also called Lemnos). Since its description, the species has never been seen or collected again, but as with so many insect species, no-one had searched specifically for it. Luc was able to... more

Rare albino turtles hatch on Vamizi Island

01 June 2015
Albino turtle hatchling, Vamizi Island, Mozambique
Photo: Joana Trindade, Vamizi Island
Even after long years of nesting monitoring, there are still things that surprise us all. For the first time on Vamizi Island in Mozambique, on the turtle monitoring project that started over 10 years ago, four albino green turtle hatchlings were found on the island's most successful nesting beach, two of which were still alive. What was even more interesting about these hatchlings, was their red eyes (lack of pigmentation), a common consequence of albinism. "Since the discovery, we have been doing some research and haven’t yet been able to find any records of albino green turtles wi... more

Europe’s medicinal plants in decline, 2 percent threatened with extinction – IUCN report

26 May 2015
Artemisia granatensis
Photo: Jose Quiles Hoyo
The IUCN European Red List of Medicinal Plants provides, for the first time, information on the status of all major medicinal plants native to Europe. This assessment includes 400 vascular plants, including trees, aquatic plants and epiphytes, which occupy a wide range of habitats. These plants include common and widely-used species such as Arnica (Arnica montana), St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and Common Heather (Calluna vulgaris). “Up to 50% of our prescription medicines use naturally occurring substances from plant... more

International Day for Biological Diversity 2015: Biodiversity for Sustainable Development

22 May 2015
Biodiversity is the cornerstone of our existence
Photo: epSOS.de CC BY 2.0
Every year on May 22, people around the world celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, a day aimed at increasing understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. From habitat loss and overexploitation to illegal wildlife trade and climate change, a whole host of very real and damaging threats is facing the planet’s incredible biodiversity. Combatting these issues lies at the core of IUCN’s work and feeds into the organisation’s mission of ‘a just world that values and conserves nature’. The 2015 theme of ‘Biodiversity for Sustainable Devel... more

His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge leads wildlife talks at IUCN

22 May 2015
His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge and IUCN Director General Inger Andersen
Photo: IUCN
IUCN was deeply honoured to host His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge as he convened a meeting of United for Wildlife (UfW) at IUCN headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, on Monday 18 May to discuss global cooperation in tackling the illegal wildlife trade. United for Wildlife is a collaboration led by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, in conjunction with seven partner conservation organisations, including IUCN, all joining forces to ta... more

All species great and small must be preserved

20 May 2015
Fiddler crab
Photo: Thai National Parks CC BY-SA 2.0
The paper, “The Importance and Benefits of Species”, released today in the journal Current Biology, advocates a conservation philosophy that all species are important, no matter their direct use by humans, apparent value, intelligence or attractiveness. The default setting for our relationship to all species on Earth should be “Conservation”, not trying to develop arguments for why a species should be saved through its current perceived usefulness to humans. The paper was authored by affiliates of the Abu Dhabi-based Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, in... more

New study provides guidance on assessing species’ vulnerability to climate change

30 April 2015
Taxonomic focus of vulnerability assessments in the analysed papers
Photo: Pacifici et al. 2015
A study by the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Climate Change Specialist Group in collaboration with other international experts reviews different approaches for assessing the vulnerability of species to climate change and provides valuable guidance for conservation practitioners. The study found an imbalance in the coverage of different species groups and geographic areas, with the majority of studies focusing on birds, mammals, and plant... more

Conservation action makes vital difference to world’s biodiversity, study shows

30 April 2015
Arabian Oryx
Photo: Jean Christophe Vié
A new IUCN study evaluating the impact of conservation action on ungulates (hoofed mammals) shows that species have greatly benefited from measures taken to prevent their extinction. If the conservation actions that have already been implemented had not taken place, at least 148 ungulate species would have deteriorated by one IUCN Red List category, including six species that would now be listed as Extinct or Extinct in the Wild. “We found that the overall decline in the conservation status of ungulates would have been nearly eight times worse than observed, were it not for conservation e... more

Support The IUCN Red List

29 April 2015
Red List at 50
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. To date more than 76,000 species have been assessed - an incredible achievement. However, our work is nowhere near complete. We need to more than double the number of wild species (plants, animals and fungi) assessed. Our new goal is to assess at least 160,000 species by 2020. Meeting this goal will provide the most up-to-date indication of the health of the world’s biodiversity to guide critical conservation action.
... more

Surveys funded by SOS lead to an increase of the known population of Yuanbaoshan firs

17 April 2015
Surveying for Yuanbaoshan Firs in the Natural Nature Reserve
Photo: FFI China
The known population size of the Critically Endangered Yuanbaoshan Fir (Abies yuanbaoshanensis) more than doubled following extensive surveys in Yuanbaoshan National Nature Reserve (NNR), China in 2014. IUCN Member, Fauna & Flora International’s Xiaoya Li explains what this discovery means and how it will influence their conservation. SOS funded surveys completed in late 2014 have led to an increase of the known population of Yuanbaoshan Firs, from 280 to over 700 individuals, which included more than 250... more

Commercial agriculture and forestry could have a net positive impact on biodiversity – IUCN report

16 April 2015
Landscape
Photo: IUCN/Deviah Aiama
A new IUCN study examines, for the first time, how commercial agriculture and forestry production could reduce global biodiversity loss by applying innovative approaches already used by some companies in the extractive and infrastructure industries. The report, No Net Loss and Net Positive Impact: Approaches for Biodiversity, finds that under certain conditions, applying No Net Loss (NNL) and Net Positive Impact (NPI) approaches to agriculture and forestry landscapes associated with companies’ operations and supply chains could have a greater impact in reducing biodiversity loss t... more

Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi to Boost Environmental Information for Decision-makers

14 April 2015
Sandbanks in the Wadden Sea, Netherlands
Photo: ESA
Over 650 delegates from government, UN bodies, the non-governmental sector, private sector, academia and civil society will gather in Abu Dhabi between 6 and 8 October for the Eye on Earth Summit 2015, to bridge the information gap policy makers face in designing plans for sustainable development. The experts gathered will explore solutions and actions necessary for greater access to, and sharing of, environmental, social and economic data to support sustainable development. The Summit will address the profound impact that rapid economic and industrial development is having on natural resources... more

Getting Outdoors in Paris with the Terre Sauvage Nature Image Awards Exhibition

10 April 2015
The most beautiful nature images of 2014
Photo: Fabien Chenel
The city of light just got a bit more colourful with the recent launch of the Terre Sauvage Melvita Nature Images Awards 2014 in association with IUCN and SOS - Save Our Species. Located at the Parc Floral de Paris, in the Bois de Vincennes and running until 30 September 2015, visitors can explore a variety of large wildlife photography prints presented outdoors on a series of 53 all-weather panels while enjoying the park’s natural environs. Featuring the winners of various categories, such as Man and Nature and Species Stories, the photographs include single shots, portfolios and storyt... more

World Forum on Natural Capital calls for ground-breaking case studies

09 April 2015
Mangrove ecosystems are valuable assets.
Photo: IUCN-Imene Meliana
Organizers of the second World Forum on Natural Capital, including IUCN, have issued a call for case studies that demonstrate how putting natural capital at the heart of decision-making can benefit companies’ bottom line, as well as the environment. The announcement was made at the “Advancing Natural Capital Accounting in Government, Business and Finance” event taking place this week in Washi... more

Strengthening the network of botanists in the South and East Mediterranean

08 April 2015
Ranunculus coronaria. Palestine
Photo: B. Al-Sheik
The project “Conserving wild plants and habitats for people in the South and East Mediterranean" launched in October 2014 is moving ahead. The Scientific Institute of the University Mohamed V of Rabat (Morocco) hosted the first workshop with the experts that are going to document the conservation status and distribution of selected rare and threatened plant species in ‘Important Plant Areas’ especially in those countries where information is insufficient (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine). The main objectives of this workshop were to establish and s... more

Marine Mammal Symposium in Phnom Penh: Drawing lessons for trans-boundary dolphin conservation

08 April 2015
Irrawaddy Dolphins in Koh Kong, Cambodia
Photo: Petch Manopawitr
While more research is needed to assess the population and trans-boundary movements of dolphins along the Thai-Cambodian border, local fishing communities should be closely involved in the monitoring and protection of Irrawaddy dolphins and other cetacean species. Promoting sustainable fisheries, along with strengthening local monitoring networks, are among the key activities that will help protect these species, which are important indicators of the health of coastal ecosystems. These were the conclusions of the ... more

Phenomenal mystery of migration solved in North America

07 April 2015
On average, Blackpoll Warblers fly non-stop for 2540 km over the Atlantic Ocean (Melanie; creative commons. flickr.com)
For decades, birders and scientists alike have pondered the mysterious disappearance of Blackpoll Warblers on the eastern coast of North America during autumn migration. It had long been suggesteded that they flew directly over the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean or even South America. Thanks to miniaturised tracking devices, a team of American and Canadian researchers has solved this mystery, proving these small 12g Blackpoll Warblers embark on non-stop flights averaging 2540 km over the Atlantic Ocean to their stopove... more

Declining Great Apes of Central Africa Get New Action Plan for Conservation

07 April 2015
Central Chimpanzee
Photo: Ian Nichols
The number of gorillas and chimpanzees in Central Africa continues to decline due to hunting, habitat loss, and disease, combined with a widespread lack of law enforcement and corruption in the judicial process, according to a new conservation plan by IUCN, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), WWF, and partners. The report titled Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of Western Lowland Gorillas and Central Chimpanzees 2015-2025 outlines the growing number of threats to these great apes across six range countries, including the finding that nearly 80 percent of great apes in the r... more

Turning the tide on nest poaching of Timneh parrots in Guinea-Bissau

01 April 2015
The team provided care for the poached chick until it could be returned to its nest
Photo: Daniel Lopes
As another breeding season for Timneh parrots gets underway in the Bijagós islands, hopes are high that the nest monitoring team can build on the successes of the previous year. In late 2014 the return of a poached chick to its nest, and its re-adoption by its parents, provides a heart-warming conservation story and a tangible sign that the strategy of employing former parrot trappers is paying conservation dividends. The Bijagós islands, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, is home to the largest known concentration of nesting Timneh parrots, ... more

World leaders reaffirm commitment to reducing illegal wildlife trade

27 March 2015
Pangolin scales for sale in Asia
Photo: Dan Challender
Heads of state, ministers and high-level representatives of over 30 countries and Regional Economic Integration Organisations have adopted the Kasane Statement to reaffirm their commitment to ending the illegal wildlife trade. The statement was adopted at the Kasane Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, held on 25 March in Botswana and organised by the Government of Botswana with the support of the UK government. The conference was a follow up meeting to the... more

Reducing Human-Chimpanzee conflicts in Guinea-Bissau

25 March 2015
Boé landscape in the rainy season
Photo: Tedros Medhrin
Tedros Medhin, project coordinator with Stichting Chimbo, an SOS Grantee and IUCN Member, reports from Boé, Guinea-Bissau, about how Village Vigilance Committees (CVVs) are helping to protect the local population of Endangered West African Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ssp. verus). Whereas before local farmers would attempt to shoot a chimp on sight or even sell infants to the pet trade, behaviours are shifting toward strategies that help promote coexistence. Each CVV comprises five community members wh... more

Dead Shrimp Blues - the imperilled status of freshwater shrimps

25 March 2015
Caridina woltereckae, endemic to Lake Towuti (Sulawesi), currently under threat due to overharvesting for the aquarium trade, pollution and invasive fish species
Photo: C Lukhaup
“I woke up this mornin' and all my shrimps was dead and gone”, so sang the legendary blues artist Robert Johnson back in 1937. A lyric which sadly resonates today according to a study led by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Almost 28% of the world’s 763 freshwater shrimp species, a group which support the livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest communities, are... more

Nearly one in ten wild bee species face extinction in Europe while the status of more than half remains unknown - IUCN report

19 March 2015
Stelis annulata
Photo: David Genoud
The first-ever assessment of all European wild bee species shows that 9.2% are threatened with extinction, while 5.2% are considered likely to be threatened in the near future. A total of 56.7% of the species are classified as Data Deficient, as lack of experts, data and funding has made it impossible to evaluate their extinction risk. The assessment was published today as part of The IUCN European Red List of Bees and the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, both funded by the European Commission. It provides – for the first time – information on all 1,965 wil... more

Great British win: world's largest marine reserve to be established around Pitcairn Islands

19 March 2015
Pitcairn Island, South Pacific
Photo: Tony Probst
IUCN joins other leading conservation groups in congratulating the British Government for its decision to create the world’s largest marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands, a UK Overseas Territory (OT) in the South Pacific. Announced in the annual budget statement was the British Government’s intent to proceed with the designation of a ‘no-take’ Marine Protected Area around Pitcairn. This decision begins the process of creating a fully protected marine reserve of over 830,000 square kilometres of ocean, the largest in the world. Taking its Overseas Territories into a... more

6,400 seeds of Critically Endangered cycad planted in Western Uganda

19 March 2015
Mpanga Falls in Western Uganda is known as one of the world’s largest areas where endemic cycads occur
Photo: Matt Cooper
Mpanga Falls in Western Uganda is known as one of the world’s largest areas where endemic cycads (Encephalartos whitelockii) occur. This cycad species is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The remaining population is estimated at about 8,000 individual plants. SOS Grantee, PROTOS is currently implementing a 15-month project focusing on planting up to 5,000 cycad seedlings. The seedlings are propagated... more

Pollinating birds and mammals declining, reveals first global assessment of trends in the status of pollinators

13 March 2015
Purple-throated Carib
Photo: Charles Sharp
According to a new study by IUCN and partners, the conservation status of pollinating bird and mammal species is deteriorating, with more species moving towards extinction than away from it. On average, 2.4 bird and mammal pollinator species per year have moved one IUCN Red List category towards extinction in recent decades, representing a substantial increase in extinction risk across this set of species. “Our study is the first global assessment of trends in pollinators,” says lead author Eugenie Regan of UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre. “It shows a worryin... more

Ghost nets: silent killers in the oceans

11 March 2015
Shark entangled in a ghost net. Maldives
Photo: Prodivers Maldives.Olive Ridley Project
Across the world’s oceans, a silent menace is threatening a host of marine species. Underwater, unaccounted for and often unseen, these inanimate killers lurk in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine life. The threat comes in the form of ‘ghost’ nets – lost, abandoned or discarded fishing nets that are drifting in the ocean currents, ensnaring, harming and killing wildlife. These floating nets trap other nets, plastic and organic debris, as well as a range of fish, turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. Predatory species like turtles are lured into the nets by the fish alr... more

Wildlife crime - it’s everyone’s challenge

03 March 2015
Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica)
Photo: Daniel W.S. Challender
Statement by IUCN Director General, Inger Andersen on World Wildlife Day. The world is currently facing an unprecedented crisis of wildlife loss. Species have never been more threatened than they are today, with extinction rates 100 to 1,000 times above their natural level – and humans are to blame. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identifies many causes of this extinction crisis. Most important is loss and degradation of natural habitats, but other major threats include climate change, invasive species, pollution and the un... more

Mounting pressure for marine protection

20 February 2015
Dr. Earle visiting the local school on Ascension Island
Photo: Dan Laffoley
IUCN has teamed up with a coalition of leading marine conservation organisations to urge the British Government to safeguard the maritime zones of the UK’s overseas territories by creating three of the largest marine protected areas (MPAs) in the world. Through the Great British Oceans campaign, this alliance between 106 signatories includi... more

“The outbreak of the Ebola virus caused some setbacks for the project but we are finding our way through” Edward Aruna, Project Coordinator for an SOS funded Sierra Leone sea turtle conservation project

18 February 2015
Education and sensitization are the prime tools in order to help to save the sea turtles
Photo: Edward Aruna
Of the world’s seven marine turtle species, five are known to occur along the Sierra Leone coast, including: Loggerheads (Caretta caretta), Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas), Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea), Hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata), and ... more

EU initiative to counteract African wildlife crisis

17 February 2015
Elephants in Chobe National Park, Botswana
Photo: Sue Mainka
African wildlife is facing an unprecedented crisis. Currently, about 5,000 African flora and fauna species, which represents 27% of all species assessed on the continent, are listed on the IUCN Red List threatened with extinction. The main threats to African wildlife are weak governance, poaching and wildlife trafficking, and the loss of habitats through land conversion and climate change. In addition, wild species are used unsustainably for purposes such as firewood and bushmeat. The European Commission is developing a Wildlife Conserva... more

What Maleos teach us about parenting, trust and the world we live in

16 February 2015
Both Maleo parents work hard to find the best place for their egg
Photo: Kevin Schaffer / ALTO
Maleo (Macrocephalon maleo), Sulawesi’s endemic birds, can inspire us about parenting, trust, and the world we live in. Marcy Summers, Project Director with the SOS grantee Alliance for Tompotika Conservation (AlTo), writes to SOS about Maleos’ nesting season and their heartening rituals. “Right now, in the month of December, it is the height of the Maleo nesting season in Tompotika. Here is how the story goes. The male and female Maleo leave their Tompotika rainforest home and travel many kilom... more

A Successful Endangered Clanwilliam Sandfish Translocation in the Biedouw River, South Africa

06 February 2015
schooling juvenile sandfish into translocation nets
Photo: Gustav Klotz n John Lucas
In November 2014, SOS grantee Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) completed the second ever translocation of a highly threatened indigenous fish species for conservation purposes in South Africa. This translocation intervention is a significant milestone identified in the Sandfish Biodiversity Management Plan which was recently gazetted for public comment by the Department of Environmental Affairs in South Africa. According to EWT’s ... more

On the Campaign Trail for Atlantic Humpback Dolphins

04 February 2015
Raising awareness among local stakeholders is integral to the project's success
Photo: WCS
Developing an informed and empathetic ‘constituency’ is essential for the long-term conservation of the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin (Sousa teuszii). That is the conviction of SOS Grantee Tim Collins working with IUCN Member Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Mayumba National Park, Gabon and the Conkouati-Douli National Park (CDNP) in Congo. Some of the conservation issues affecting Sousa teuszii in these areas can be tackled with direct intervention. ... more

World’s governments are failing on protected areas for nature

03 February 2015
Yuraygir National Park, Australia
Photo: Jasmine Glover, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage - Angourie, Yuraygir National Park
A new study has found that while governments are making progress in expanding Protected Area networks, these are failing to provide adequate coverage for nature. In 2010, the world’s governments committed to conserving 17% of land and 10% of sea by 2020, particularly those places of particular importance for nature. With five years to go to achieve this target, new research by 40 authors from 26 institutions led by IUCN member BirdLife International shows that the current Protected Areas system is still failing to cover all key sites,... more

IUCN study draws attention to the critical state of freshwater biodiversity in the Eastern Mediterranean

02 February 2015
Cover image: The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in the Eastern Mediterranean
Photo: IUCN-Med
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) presents alarming findings from the most comprehensive freshwater biodiversity assessment in this part of the Mediterranean region. The study aims at raising the current low profile of freshwater biodiversity conservation in the Eastern Mediterranean, promoting integrated water resource management practices, and providing a reliable and up-to-date data set to inform decision makers. Launched on World Wetlands Day, the IUCN study assessed the conservation status of 1,236 species (fishes, molluscs, dragonflies and damselflies, plants, bird... more

Sinkhole Cycad Conservation Project Featured in Leading Botanical Journal

25 January 2015
Sinkhole Cycad
Photo: Montgomery Botanical Centre
The Sinkhole Cycad project made an important scientific finding – botanic garden conservation collections can help support cycad survival. The current issue of International Journal of Plant Sciences features the latest SOS-Save Our Species supported research by grantee, Montgomery Botanical Centre (MBC) and its collaborators. The paper, “Can a botanic garden cycad collection capture the genetic diversity in a wild population?,” explores how well the collecti... more

Do you have a permit for that cycad in your garden?

22 January 2015
Seven of South Africa’s cycad species number less than 100 individuals in the wild
Photo: EWT
It’s not alarmist to say that South African cycads are in more trouble from the current scourge of poaching than are our rhinos, asserts SOS Grantee, Adam Pires. As Skills Development Programme Manager with Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), an IUCN Member, Adam updates SOS on the progress with his project to protect South African Cycad species. Adam reports that by the end of 2014, approximately 200 mixed law enforcement officials have been trained up as part of the project along with a further 200 members of the judicial system representing all the provinces in the vast country. Following... more

Stunning new book commemorates 50 years of The IUCN Red List

19 January 2015
The IUCN Red List: 50 Years of Conservation
Photo: CEMEX-IUCN
A new book, The IUCN Red List: 50 Years of Conservation, combines stunning wildlife photography with the voices of IUCN experts and renowned conservationists to celebrate 50 years of outstanding effort and achievement by a worldwide network of scientists and partner organisations that together build and maintain The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Written by Jane Smart, Craig Hilton-Taylor and Russell A. Mittermeier and edited by Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier, founder of the International League of Conservation Photographers, the book was published by CEMEX on the occasion of The IU... more

IUCN welcomes Burundi as a new State Member

19 January 2015
Photo: OBPE
IUCN extends a warm welcome to the Republic of Burundi, which has officially announced its decision to become a Member of IUCN by endorsing the IUCN Statutes. The Ministry for Water, Environment, Land Management and Urban Development confirmed the Government’s decision and has designated the Burundian Office for the Protection of the Environment (OBPE) as its liaison with the IUCN Secretariat. Located in Central Africa between the Democratic Republic of Congo (to the west), Rwanda (to the north) and Tanzania (to the south and east), Burundi has a surface area of 27,834 km² including... more

IUCN welcomes 13 new Members

14 January 2015
Peacock butterfly
Photo: William Warby/Flickr
The IUCN Council has admitted 13 new Members to IUCN. The Council, President, Director General and entire Union extend a very warm welcome to the new Members and look forward to their active involvement. New IUCN Members: Association Les Eco Maires (EM) [The Eco Mayors Association], France Association pour le Développement de Nguendar et villages environnants (ASDEN) [Association for the Development of Nguendar and Surrounding Villages], Senegal (No website) ... more

Inger Andersen takes up her duties as IUCN Director General

13 January 2015
Inger Andersen
Photo: Inger Andersen
This week IUCN extends a warm welcome to Inger Andersen as she takes on her new role as Director General. Previously Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at the World Bank, Ms Andersen was responsible for the Bank’s strategy and operations throughout the region. She succeeds Julia Marton-Lefèvre who served as IUCN Director General since January 2007. A Danish national, Ms Andersen began her career working on desertification and dryland issues in Sudan, and with the UN Sudano-Sahelian Office in New York. With the establishment of the Global Environment Facility... more

Human development and biodiversity conservation can go hand in hand, study finds

12 January 2015
A business-as-usual scenario would bring increased deforestation and carbon emissions, putting 1 in 4 carnivore and ungulate species at a higher risk of extinction by 2050.
Photo: Johannes Förster / IUCN
A development scenario involving reduced meat consumption and crop waste, as well as less energy-intensive lifestyles can help us reach global development goals while also protecting biodiversity, according to a new study. The paper, Projecting global biodiversity indicators under future development scenarios, co-authored by 10 institutions including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Sapienza University of Rome and BirdLife International, is published in the journal Co... more

Inspiring conservation of Saola and other endemic species in Lao PDR

22 December 2014
Community mapping in the village of Phonmouang, a key village adjacent to Phou Sithon, Borlikhamxay Province in Lao PDR in 2014
Photo: ©Phommachanh/KMUTT/SWG/WCS/II
The Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) is probably the most endangered large mammal in the Indo-Burma region. For success in Saola conservation, immediate site-based actions are required to prevent rapid extinction, as well as longer-term initiatives to ensure the species’ survival in perpetuity. Seeking to meet these goals, this project is being implemented by King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in collaboration with the ... more

Let’s save amazing species

22 December 2014
Science Festival
Photo: IUCN/A.Nikodinovic
This year, the 50th anniversary of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is celebrated worldwide. Joining in, the IUCN Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe partnered with its two members in Serbia, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province setting up an exhibition “Let’s save amazing species”. Featuring attractive photos of species threatened both locally and worldwide, the exhibit panels briefly introduce the IUCN Red List and spread the message on the need to save species. The Species Survival Commissi... more

IUCN Bangladesh celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Red List

22 December 2014
The launch of “The Festschrift on the 50th Anniversary of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”
Photo: IUCN
The magical world of deep sea creatures, the majestic flight of the falcon and the recent tragic oil spill in the Sundarban captured the imagination of children yesterday as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the IUCN Red List. The day was an opportunity for people in Bangladesh and also around the globe to celebrate the natural beauty of our planet and to reflect on the essential role biodiversity plays in our lives. The planet is an enchanting place, home to numerous creatures - billions upon billions of the tiniest. Half a century ago there was no single source that provided a global pi... more

Share our smiles: Interactive educational outreach to save threatened coastal cetaceans in Bangladesh

18 December 2014
It is all about capturing the hearts and minds of the community
Photo: Rubaiyat Mansur
Conservation is about people, and a key part of SOS Grantee Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) work to save threatened coastal cetaceans in Bangladesh explains Brian D. Smith, WCS Programme Director. That entails reaching out to fishing communities in culturally respectful and interactive ways. Early on in the project, Brian’s team realized that significantly reducing cetacean mortalities would require far-reaching and effective education targeting not only the participating fishermen but also the communities where they live. “We needed to build a strong constituency of communit... more

Adapt or die: lessons from vulture conservation in South Asia

16 December 2014
Asian vulture populations have plummeted since the 1990s
Photo: Devki Nanda
For SOS Grantee Ananya Mukherjee, switching from dipstick technology to GPS-enabled bird-tagging was a classic case of adaptive management. Indeed it was one that allowed the larger vulture conservation project to continue working towards its objective: creating three effective Vulture Safe Zones (VSZs) on the Indian subcontinent. Imagine you are an Indian vulture conservationist with a plan. That plan involves creating Vulture Safe Zones and then ensuring they re... more

Helping celebrate more than 50 years of IUCN’s contribution to wildlife conservation with a magazine and free digital app

12 December 2014
The magazine highlights conservation impacts and successes thanks to the IUCN’s Red List and SOS - Save Our Species initiative
Photo: Terre Sauvage
To help celebrate more than 50 years of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) work protecting our global natural heritage, Terre Sauvage has published a special edition of their renowned wildlife magazine. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY
Or visit the Apple App Store to download your tablet ready copy by downloading the ... more

Frozen animal photo exhibition inspired by IUCN Red List

12 December 2014
Endangered book cover
Photo: Erik Hijweege
From 13 December 2014 until 29 March 2015, the Natural History Museum Rotterdam will host Endangered, a photo exhibition by artist Erik Hijweege inspired by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The photos feature iconic animals like the Sumatran Tiger and the Black Rhino that are frozen in ice. Hijweege uses a special photography technique, the 19th-century collodion process, but he remains secretive about how he creates his photo subjects. “I do get a lot of questions on the process,” says Hijweege. “All I can... more

The ring binder that shaped conservation as we know it

10 December 2014
Red Data books in their original binders
Photo: Craig Hilton-Taylor
New details have emerged about how the global system for classifying endangered species – which forms the bedrock for modern conservation – began with a humble ring binder and loose-leaf sheets; influenced by WWT’s founder, Sir Peter Scott. 50 years ago there was no way to collate data from research or anecdotes around the world to build a picture of which species were endangered. But Sir Peter Scott, founder of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and one of the founding fathers of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was desperately worried about what wa... more

Seagrass habitat declining globally

09 December 2014
Seagrass
Photo: Dan Laffoley
Seagrasses are one of the most rapidly declining ecosystems on Earth. These underwater marine coastal plants are losing 7% of their known area per year. This alarming loss was confirmed at the 11th International Seagrass Biology Workshop (ISBW11) in Sanya, China last month, where 100 leading seagrass scientists and conservationists met to discuss and update the global status of this critical habitat. The results of seagrass research and monitoring by international scientists confirmed the global trend of continued seagrass h... more

Future challenges for large marine protected areas in the Pacific highlighted at World Parks Congress

07 December 2014
The Phoenix Islands Protected Areas of Kiribati
Photo: Ameer Addulla
As the Pacific Islands region continues to lead the way in creating large marine protected areas, the World Parks Congress has delivered a wake-up call to the rest of the world that the Pacific will require help to manage these massive areas of global importance. Ocean management was one of the main themes of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014, held in Sydney, Australia – the first time the once-per-decade conference has been held in Oceania. The Congress started with the arrival of the Mua Voyage – four traditional sailing canoes sailing 6,000 nautical miles from the Pacific Island... more

IUCN celebrates 50 years of the Red List with pioneering conservationists in Thailand

04 December 2014
Panelists at the Wild Talk event
Photo: Lea Guerrero
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the IUCN Red List, IUCN South East Asia Group brought together conservation pioneers in Thailand in an inspiring talk that honours remarkable individuals who have dedicated a lifetime's work to species research and conservation. Last night’s talk, held at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok, paid tribute to the invaluable contributions of Dr Boonsong Lekagul, known as the father of Thailand’s conservation movement, and Khun Seub Nakhasathien, who shares the distinction of being among the most inspirational figures in wil... more

Terre Sauvage Exclusive: Saving Thailand's Blood Wood

04 December 2014
Rosewood habitat - Pang Sida National Park
Photo: Ann & Steve Toon
Highly prized for making reproduction Chinese furniture, Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) is being poached to extinction in the eastern forests of Thailand. Heavily armed gangs of poachers are invading the forests, where poorly armed, under-resourced rangers are fighting a battle to protect the few trees that remain. To address this problem SOS – Save Our Species has provided a Rapid Action Grant to the FREELAND Foundation. FREELAND works with Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to increase the capacity of the frontline staff t... more

Widodo Ramono receives IUCN/WCPA Fred M. Packard Award

02 December 2014
Widodo Ramono has dedicated most of his life in preventing the extinction of Javan and Sumatran rhinos
Photo: IRF
SOS congratulates Mr. Widodo Ramono for receiving the IUCN/WCPA Fred M. Packard Award for his long dedication and inspirational leadership in preventing the extinction of Sumatran and Javan Rhinos. The IUCN/WPC Fred M. Packard Award recognizes both protected area professionals and organizations for their outstanding services in conservation. The award was presented in November at the World Park Congress in Sydney. Few people have dedicated more years to the study and conservation of Asian rhinos than Indonesian biologist Widodo Ramono. Born in 1945 in the Central Javan city of Blora, Widodo to... more

Countries’ economic power does not predict conservation performance

01 December 2014
Red-eyed tree frog, Costa Rica
Photo: IUCN Photo Library/Julián Orozco Badilla
Some countries are doing better than others at conserving their share of global vertebrate biodiversity, and the factors of success are not related to economic wealth. A new study conducted by conservation scientists from the Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and BirdLife International provides the first assessment of the performance of individual nations and regions in meeting their responsibilities for global biodiversity. The study reveals that countries with the highest economic capacity are not performing b... more

Major art exhibition supports IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

28 November 2014
Darshan the Imperial Eagle poses in front of Andy Warhol's Bald Eagle
Photo: Freuds
An inspirational art show celebrating 50 years of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ has opened in London this week. The threatened species-themed exhibit entitled Here Today includes interactive installations and rooms, and features the works of renowned artists such as George Condo, Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol, Gavin Turk, Peter Blake, United Visual Artists, Douglas Gordon, Stephanie Quayle, Gordon Cheung, Oswaldo Macia, Julian Opie, Mariko Mori, Carsten Höller, and Diana Thater. “The aim of the exhibition is t... more

Best breeding season yet for Mediterranean Monk Seal colony

27 November 2014
67 baby monk seals were born this season. In this photo is a mother with a two month old calf
Photo: M.Cedenilla / CBD-Habitat
Mercedes Muñoz Cañas, Project Technician with SOS Grantee CBD-Habitat, an IUCN Member, shares encouraging news from the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) sanctuary at Cabo Blanco, Mauritania. So far the project team have counted 67 seal births at the colony and the 2014 breeding season has not yet closed! According to Mercedes this is a new record for the “Costa de las focas“ - a sanctuary that constitutes the biggest hope for the recovery of this Critically Endangered species. The "Costa de las focas” is a terrestrial-maritime reserve that... more

Eagle soars over London to launch art exhibit supporting threatened species

20 November 2014
Darshan the Imperial Eagle soars towards London's Tower Bridge
Photo: Freedom
This week, an Eastern Imperial Eagle named Darshan flew over London’s Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Olympic Park with a Sony Action Cam strapped to its back to promote the opening of the Here Today art exhibition in support of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Here Today will showcase contemporary art featuring threatened species in a wide variety of media including paintings, sculptures, videos, dance, music, and ph... more

Ziyuan Fir discovery brings new hope for one of China’s most threatened trees

18 November 2014
The rangers in search of Ziyuan Fir
Photo: Feng Rujun
Twenty-one Ziyuan Fir (Abies ziyuanensis) trees have been discovered after eight months of intensive fieldwork in Yinzhulaoshan Provincial Nature Reserve (NR), Guangxi, China according to David Gill from SOS Grantee and IUCN Member, FFI (Fauna and Flora International). SOS funded this Abies species conservation project in January this year. The Ziyuan Fir (Abies ziyuanensis... more

Global appetite for resources pushing new species to the brink

17 November 2014
Pacific Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus orientalis)
Vulnerable
Pacific Bluefin Tuna, Chinese Pufferfish, American Eel, Chinese Cobra and an Australian butterfly are threatened with extinction. Fishing, logging, mining, agriculture and other activities to satisfy our growing appetite for resources are threatening the survival of the Pacific Bluefin Tuna, Chinese Pufferfish, American Eel and Chinese Cobra, while the destruction of habitat has caused the extinction of a Malaysian mollusc and the world’s largest known earwig, and threatens the survival of many other species – according to the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species... more

Behind the frontlines: Interagency cooperation supporting rangers' work in Thailand

15 November 2014
Seized rosewood during patrol in Thap Lan National Park
Photo: FREELAND - DNP
Updating SOS on project developments from an emergency funding grant for work in Thap Lan National Park, Thailand, Eric Ash of Freeland Foundation, an IUCN Member, is succinct. “While it is critical to support front-line rangers and other park-based stakeholders first and foremost, reducing rosewood poaching requires considerable enforcement efforts at all levels, from the forest, through trafficking routes, and in end-markets” he explains. This puts into perspective the importance and value of a series of monthly interagency meetings which took place from August 2013 – Janua... more

'Game-changing visual record' of Great Barrier Reef published

14 November 2014
Coral reef survey
Photo: Catlin Seaview Survey
IUCN World Parks Congress, Sydney, November 14 2014 - The Catlin Seaview Survey, in which IUCN is a partner, announced today that a complete visual and data record from its expeditions along the Great Barrier Reef is now available to anyone to use through the Catlin Global Reef Record. Images also released in street view in Google Maps More than 100,000 images spanning the 2,300 kilometre reef system now available to scientists on the Catlin Global Reef Record High-definition photos to help scientific collaboration and marine park management High-definition database The Great Barrier Reef... more

Strengthened cooperative management for Phoenix Ocean Arc

14 November 2014
US Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, and President of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong, signing a cooperative agreement to conserve the Phoenix Ocean Arc
Photo: Nick Baker
Seascape-level conservation efforts in the Pacific have received a major boost with the signing of a cooperation arrangement between the Republic of Kiribati and the United States of America. Kiribati President Anote Tong and US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signed a Cooperative Arrangement yesterday to help conserve the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) of Kiribati and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) of the US. The aim of the Cooperative Arrangement is to jointly coordinate and support research and conservation activities for the two protected areas, c... more

IUCN identifies threatened freshwater biodiversity sites in the Mediterranean

14 November 2014
An inlet on Lake Skadar, Albania and Montenegro. This large Mediterranean lake and its associated catchment is a freshwater Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) supporting at least 24 species of threatened or restricted range freshwater species
Photo: Geert De Knijf
Out of the 167 freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas identified, mapped and validated throughout the Mediterranean region, 75 percent were found outside the boundaries of any pre-existing protected areas or other KBAs, according to the main results of an IUCN assessment revealed today at the IUCN World Parks Congress taking place in Sydney, Australia. An estimated 70-75% of the world’s inland wetlands, along with many of the freshwater species that live in them, have been lost in the last 100 years. Freshwater biodiversity is poorly represented within protected areas, which are a critical too... more

Major ivory haul seized in Cameroon

13 November 2014
Forest elephants of Dja Conservation Area under threat from poaching
Photo: Garth Cripps
A haul of ivory worth more than $190,000 has been seized in Cameroon, one of the largest single seizures made in the country. The grim discovery of 39 forest elephant tusks was made by ecoguards from the Dja Biosphere Reserve, one of the protected areas under the Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), following a tip-off from an intelligence network supported by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The forest elephant tusks were found concealed beneath cocoa bags in a truck intercepted in Djoum, a town in the southern region of Cameroon. The illegal cargo weighed a total of 91... more

Pacific Island leaders sail into Sydney Harbour with call to protect oceans

12 November 2014
The Mua Voyage vaka canoes about to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Photo: Matt Pulford
The leaders of Kiribati, Cook Islands and Palau have called on the world to follow their lead in ocean protection, after sailing into Sydney Harbour aboard traditional voyaging canoes that have travelled more than 6,000 nautical miles from the Pacific Islands. The three leaders are taking significant steps to protect the natural environments of the Pacific, with each committing to establishing some of the world’s largest marine protected areas. The President of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong, has established the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, which covers 408,250 square kilometres a... more

IUCN welcomes 17 new Members

10 November 2014
Cozumel Emerald Hummingbird
Photo: Roy Toft / International League of Conservation Photographers
The IUCN Council has admitted 17 new Members to IUCN. The Council, President, Director General and entire Union extend a very warm welcome to the new Members and look forward to their active involvement. New IUCN Members: Biofutura A.C. [BioFutura], Mexico Centro de Incidencia Ambiental(CIAM) [Environmental Advocacy Center], Panama Eco Redd, Peru ... more

Bangladesh creates new Marine Protected Area for Dolphins, Whales, Sharks and Turtles

07 November 2014
Pantropical spotted dolphin swimming in SoNG MPA
Photo: Rubaiyat Mansur
On November 3rd 2014, the Government of Bangladesh declared the country’s first Marine Protected Area, Swatch of No Ground, to safeguard whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and other oceanic species under the Wildlife (Conservation and Security) Act, 2012. The creation of the Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area (SoNG-MPA) occurs as the world’s conservation community prepares to meet at the World Parks Congress, a global event held every 10 years for the purpose of promoting safeguarding the earth’s most valuable natural places and formulating solutions to conservatio... more

A royal gift for the ‘Asian unicorn’

07 November 2014
Female Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis)
Photo: William Robichaud
In honour of His Royal Highness the Prince Consort of Denmark’s 80th birthday this year, Copenhagen Zoo recently made a generous donation to the IUCN Saola Working Group (SWG). The Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) is a Critically Endangered ungulate endemic to the Annamite Mountains of Lao PDR and Viet Nam. It is so rare and enigmatic that it is often referred to as the ‘Asian unicorn&rs... more

British zoos and aquariums celebrate Red November

07 November 2014
Red November
Photo: BIAZA
This year, IUCN is celebrating 50 years of the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM, and to mark the anniversary, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is asking its members to take part in Red November - a month dedicated to celebrating the conservation work of good zoos and the contribution of the IUCN Red List. The IUCN Red List is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation statu... more

Trade and Emerging Infectious Diseases in Amphibians

07 November 2014
Macaya Breast-spot Frog, Eleutherodactylus thorectes. Critically Endangered
Photo: Robin Moore iLCP
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM, amphibians are the most threatened vertebrate group on earth. The following joint statement by the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) and the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA) draws attention to the devastating impact of introduced disease and the urgent need for preventative measures. The ASG and the ASA note with growing concern the recent reports on the impact of an i... more

A fraction of global military spending could save the planet’s biodiversity, say experts

05 November 2014
A Yellow Hornbill in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Photo: IUCN Photo Library © Jim Thorsell
Only one in four protected areas is well managed. A fundamental step-change involving an increase in funding and political commitment is urgently needed to ensure that protected areas deliver their full conservation, social and economic potential, according to an article published today in Nature by experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Queensland, and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). The paper, The performance and potential of protected areas, comes ahead of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 – a once-in-a-decade global forum on prot... more

A good year for Bazaruto's Dugongs

31 October 2014
Zero dugong mortalities in 1 year reports EWT
Photo: Jay Roode
Reaching October without a single Dugong mortality is something we need to shout about according to SOS Grantee Karen Allen from IUCN Member, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). Emailing SOS from her base in Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, Mozambique Karen explains: “this means, that through SOS support- we have managed to prevent losses from Bazaruto's Dugong population for a full year.” While SOS funded Karen’s work, this short film illustrates just how many people helped make the project a success so... more

New commitments for the conservation of migratory species

28 October 2014
Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini)
Photo: Simon Rogerson
Internationally coordinated conservation measures for the world’s migratory species will be discussed next week at the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). The IUCN Delegation, including participants from the Regional Office for South America and experts from the Species Survival Commission (SSC), will provide technical advice to Parties on the submitted proposals. A total of 32 species... more

Artists unite for threatened species

20 October 2014
Collage of all White-lipped Peccary artworks
Photo: Kitty Harvill
The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Peccary Specialist Group recently enlisted the voluntary help of artists to raise awareness of the White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari), which is increasingly threatened by habitat loss and hunting. The creativity and generosity of the artists resulted in over 38 artworks showcasing a wide range of artistic styles, and capturing the peccar... more

Governments still behind on commitments to avert biodiversity crisis

17 October 2014
Chimpanzees in Taï National Park Park, Côte d'Ivoire
Photo: IUCN PACO
Despite increasing recognition of the biodiversity crisis and its impacts on human well-being, the scale of the government response is far from commensurate with the magnitude of the calamity, says IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 12), closing today in South Korea. “This year’s biodiversity talks ended with a renewed sense of urgency if we want to meet the 2020 biodiversity targets,” says IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre.”Many creative... more

160,000 species by 2020 – will you help?

15 October 2014
Help us assess 160,000 species by 2020!
Photo: IUCN
This year is an important milestone for IUCN as it marks the 50th anniversary of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. By scientifically documenting on a case-by-case basis the nature and severity of threats to the survival of species, The IUCN Red List helps drive meaningful and appropriate conservation action. Effective conservation planning requires a thorough understanding of the species in question. When we lack knowledge about a species, for example habitat requirements and population trend, or if we do not understand its value and fragility, we are not in a good position to ensure its... more

Tiger conservation programme launches call for proposals

15 October 2014
Tiger at Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Photo: IUCN Nepal
Today, IUCN’s Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP) is launching a call for field-based projects for tiger conservation. Nine tiger range countries are eligible for funding under this programme and multidisciplinary projects delivered by collaborative partnerships are encouraged. The five-year programme is funded by the German government through the ... more

Inger Andersen named IUCN Director General

14 October 2014
Inger Andersen
Photo: Inger Andersen
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, announced today the appointment of Inger Andersen as the new Director General of the Union starting in January 2015. Currently Vice President for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at the World Bank, where she is responsible for the Bank’s strategy and operations throughout the region, Ms Andersen will begin her new role on January 12, 2015. She will succeed Julia Marton-Lefèvre who has served as IUCN Director General since January 2007. “We are delighted to welcome Inger to IUCN,” says IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng... more

Oceans and climate change at the forefront as three sailing canoes unite on an important voyage

14 October 2014
Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of severe storms in the Pacific
Photo: Randy Thaman
Pressure increases on the developed world to open its eyes to the realities of climate change, as the Mua Voyage expands to three canoes – sailing on behalf of all Pacific Islanders with the message to the world about ‘Our People, Our Islands, Our Ocean, Our Future’. The three vaka canoes – the Marumaru Atua of Cook Islands, the Uto ni Yalo of Fiji, and the Gaualofa of Samoa, which also has crew from Tonga – departed Suva, Fiji, this morning on the third leg of the Mua Voyage. They were farewelled with a ceremony at the USP foreshore this morning. The three canoes... more

United Nations issues guidelines to minimize risk of invasive species

14 October 2014
European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Photo: Riccardo Scalera
The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has adopted new guidelines to prevent and control biological invasions by pets, aquarium and terrarium species, live bait and live food. The new guidance is largely based on input from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). Invasive alien species are animals, plants or other organisms introd... more

IUCN Red List receives Prince Albert II of Monaco Biodiversity Award

13 October 2014
HSH Prince Albert II with the awardees
Photo: Palais Princier de Monaco
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was honoured with this year’s Prince Albert II of Monaco Biodiversity Award. The award was accepted by Caroline Pollock, IUCN Red List Programme Officer, at the seventh annual Award Ceremony. “This award is an acknowledgement of the important role The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species plays in protecting the future of biodiversity,” said Caroline Pollock. “It is also an appropriate recognition of the extraordinary dedication shown by thousands of conservation scientists around the world who volunteer their knowledge, data and tim... more

Tree Kangaroo Friendly Coffee – a triple win story

07 October 2014
Tree Kangaroo
Photo: Bruce Beehler
Imagine protecting threatened wildlife, empowering local communities in the process and doing it all through a premium organic coffee brand. Such was the triple win solution generated by Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Programme (TKCP). It is a story which began in 2009 in the remote valleys of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Huon Peninsula and is echoing around Caffe Vita’s stores in Seattle, Los Angeles and New York City, USA. Here 500 gram bags of this high quality coffee retail alongside freshly brewed mugs for in-store aficionados to enjoy. The limited harvest is... more

Improvement in protected areas needed to save Madagascar palms

07 October 2014
Voanioala gerardii canopy
Photo: John Dransfield / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Despite the expansion of Madagascar’s protected areas, many palm species are still threatened with extinction, primarily due to forest degradation and destructive harvesting, reveals a study published in PLOS ONE. Eighty-three percent of the 192 endemic species are threatened, exceeding estimates for all other comprehensively evaluated plant groups in Madagascar. “Definitive implementation of the new protected areas combined with local community engagement is essential for the su... more

IUCN Red List warns about climate change extinctions

06 October 2014
The Critically Endangered Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) was one of 36 species modeled to assess warning times for species extinctions under climate change
Photo: Jonathan Mays
A new study shows that The IUCN Red List would provide several decades of warning time for species that might go extinct because of climate change. As we are only just beginning to understand how climate change threatens biodiversity, some scientists believe that current risk assessment protocols, such as The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, will fail to identify many species threatened by climate change. However, an international team of researchers argue that current assessment methods are capable of detecting such species. "There are going to be a lot of challenges for conservation... more

Global targets set for failure?

06 October 2014
Forests in the Gulf of Guinea, Africa
Photo: Geoffroy Mauvais
Twenty targets designed to tackle the extinction crisis and restore the earth’s natural capital by 2020 were agreed on by most of the world’s governments at a meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Japan in 2010. Latest data, however, shows that many of those targets will not be met. As the 2014 CBD conference gets under way today in the Republic of Korea, IUCN calls for urgent commitment of action and financial resources to step up efforts to achieve the targets. "Halfway through our Big Plan for nature, it is clear that the urgent call we gave in 2010 has... more

Video - The IUCN Red List: Guiding Conservation for 50 years

06 October 2014
The Red List 50
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, a stunning video explaining the importance of The IUCN Red List as a powerful tool that drives action for nature conservation has been released. Featuring fabulous images, the video was produced by the photographer and filmmaker Mattius Klum, IUCN Goodwill Ambassador. You can view the video here:  
Related links: IUCN World Parks Congress official website ... more

Travel around the most beautiful places on Earth, for free!

20 December 2013
Ouvea, Lagoons of New Caledonia, World Heritage site
Photo: Dan Laffoley
This holiday season, IUCN's World Heritage Programme is offering you a trip around Earth’s natural wonders. Discover the locations of 222 natural World Heritage sites across the planet; let yourself be transported by 3D simulation, and inspired by some amazing photos. Your virtual journey starts with an easy check-in at Google Earth, which you will need to download and install to get on board. Click here for PC, Mac or Linux; or click ... more

European Natura 2000 Award

19 December 2013
Natura 2000 Award
Photo: Natura 2000
The European Commission is launching a new Award designed to celebrate and promote best practices for nature conservation in Europe. The European Natura 2000 Award aims at bringing the success of the network to the public’s attention and to demonstrate its importance for protecting biodiversity across Europe. The ... more

Plight of the Polar Bear gets high-level attention

05 December 2013
Polar Bear
Photo: Andrew E Derocher
The range states of the Polar Bear – Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States – today signed a landmark declaration that will strengthen measures to conserve this iconic animal which is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Polar Bears are a huge part of the folklore and identity of the Arctic region, particularly for indigenous peoples who have co-existed with them for thousands of years and whose livelihoods are inextricably linked with them. They are also a critical part of the ecology of the region, with many important relations... more

Save the Egyptian Vulture on the Balkans

05 December 2013
Egyptian Vulture
Photo: Ervis Loçe
A symbol of fertility and maternal protection in Egyptian mythology, the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is the smallest of the four species of European vultures. It is characterized by the crest of white, pointed feathers and white and wedge-shaped tail. Its population is rapidly decreasing today, and PPNEA, an IUCN member, is one of the organizations striving to save this species from extinction in Albania and the region. The Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is listed by the IUCN Red Lis... more

Successes in the field: The Bird’s Nest Protection Programme pays dividends

04 December 2013
Giant Ibis
Photo: Eleanor Briggs
SOS grantee Simon Mahood reports from the field as he works to protect some of Cambodia’s most threatened bird species. In a recent update Simon explained “We’re half way through the Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) 2013 breeding season in the northern plains of Cambodia and this season the total number of Giant Ibis nests protected since 2003 reached 250!" Considering that the global population of this species is estimated at only 230 mature individuals this is extremely significant. Over... more

Urgent deal reached for African Elephants

03 December 2013
Elephants in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Photo: Alicia Wirz
Key states along the illegal ivory value chain have committed to urgent measures to halt the illegal trade and secure elephant populations across Africa. The agreement was reached at the African Elephant Summit convened by the government of Botswana and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The Summit is the first-ever meeting focusing on the dynamics of the entire ivory value chain. The measures were agreed on by key African Elephant range states including Gabon, Kenya, Niger and Zambia, ivory transit states Viet Nam, Philippines and Malaysia and ivory destination states, incl... more

New figures reveal poaching for the illegal ivory trade could wipe out a fifth of Africa’s Elephants over next decade

02 December 2013
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Photo: Alicia Wirz
As delegates gather to discuss the plight of the African Elephant at a summit convened by the Government of Botswana and IUCN, new analyses released today find that if poaching rates are sustained at current levels, Africa is likely to lose a fifth of its elephants in the next 10 years. The latest analysis of poaching data estimates that in 2012 some 15,000 elephants were illegally killed at 42 sites across 27 African countries participating in Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), a programme of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and... more

Forest giraffe joins growing number of threatened species

26 November 2013
Okapi: Endangered
Photo: Charles Miller
(CC BY 2.0 - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)
The Okapi – a national symbol of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as the “forest giraffe” – and the sub-Saharan White-winged Flufftail – one of Africa’s rarest birds – are now on the brink of extinction, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Two species of albatross, the Leatherback Turtle and the Island Fox native to California’s Channel Islands are showing signs of recovery. A total of 71,576 species have now been assessed, of which 21,286 are threatened with extinction. The update high... more

Kering, IUCN and ITC form partnership to improve python trade

22 November 2013
Python bivittatus progshai (southern Sulawesi)
Photo: Mark Auliya
The ‘Python Conservation Partnership’, a collaboration between Kering, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN Species Survival Commission Boa & Python Specialist Group) has been launched today with the aim of contributing to the improved sustainability of the python trade and helping facilitate industry-wide change. The programme of research over the next three years will focus on the analysis and recommendations around sustainability, transparency, animal welfare and local livelihoods for the python trade. The data and... more

Enabling the wise use of wetlands through integrated wetland management

19 November 2013
N. Buxa
Photo: HighARCS
An innovative action planning toolkit on wetland conservation and management is now available online. Funded by the European Commission, as part of the HighARCS project, the Wetland Resources Action Planning (WRAP) Toolkit offers researchers, technical planners and policy-makers a systematic approach to conserving and sustainably managing aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity at any site scale. The toolkit provides a suite of methods and practices, together with insights from lessons learned. Wetlands (including rivers and lakes) constitute only 1% of the world’s land area, but support 7% o... more

IUCN steps up the pace on investigating climate change impacts on wildlife

18 November 2013
Emperor Penguin feeding chick
Photo: Ty Hurley
At a time when global climate change is among the most important of issues for humankind to address, there remains significant uncertainty about how changes in the climate system will impact upon the world’s species and ecosystems, not to mention how societies and decision-makers might go about reducing these impacts. In response to this, the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) has recently formed a new group of international experts who will focus on topics surrounding climate change impacts on biodiversity. “The formation of the Climate Change Specialist Group marks an importan... more

Myanmar seeks global standards to conserve its natural heritage

15 November 2013
Fisherman on Inlay Lake, Myanmar
Photo: Vladimir Fofanov - sxc.hu
Myanmar is renewing efforts to implement the World Heritage Convention. As the country opens up to international conservation processes, IUCN is providing expertise to help identify potential natural heritage sites. Myanmar is unlike any other country in Southeast Asia. Having lingered for years in diplomatic isolation, it seems to have gone on untouched by global trends while some of its biggest neighbours – mostly China and India – have geared up into the full speed of Third-Millennium economics. After sustaining a military dictatorship for nearly 50 years and undergoing economic... more

IUCN Green List boosts partnership with a new tiger conservation initiative at the Asia Parks Congress

15 November 2013
Tiger in Ranthambore National Park in India
Photo: © James Kemsey
In a move that will better connect protected areas management and tiger conservation, IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme and WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative signed a mutual cooperation agreement on the development of the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas today at the 1st Asia Parks Congress in Sendai, Japan. The IUCN Green List of Protected Areas aims to recognise successful conservation endeavour by providing benchmark standards for equitable governance and effective management of protected areas. A coalition of partners, represented by WWF, will in turn apply the IUCN Green Li... more

Scientists identify the world’s most irreplaceable protected areas

14 November 2013
Global Map
Photo: IUCN
A new scientific study has identified the protected areas most critical to preventing extinctions of the world’s mammals, birds and amphibians. Resulting from an international collaboration, this analysis provides practical advice for improving the effectiveness of protected areas in conserving global biodiversity. The study, published in the latest edition of international journal Science, calculates the ‘irreplaceability’ of individual protected areas, based on data on 173,000 terrestrial protected areas and assessments of 21,500 species on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Sp... more

Elusive Saola caught on camera!

14 November 2013
Camera-trap photo of Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) - taken on 7 September 2013 at early evening shows a single Saola moving along a rocky forest valley stream in a remote corner of the Central Annamite mountains of Vietnam.
Photo: © WWF-Greater Mekong
Last photographed in Laos in 1999, a living Saola has been recorded by camera trap in central Vietnam. Three photographs of the same adult Saola were taken by an automatic camera trap set in a protected area, under a project by the Vietnamese government’s Forest Protection Department and WWF. It shows the animal in early evening, moving along a rocky stream in the forest. The Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) is one the world’s most threatened large mammals, Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The Saola Working Group of the IUCN SSC Asian Wi... more

Key Biodiversity Areas - governance workshop underway in Brasilia

06 November 2013
Los Glaciales National Park, Argentina
Photo: Diego Juffe
This week, a number of conservationists are meeting with representatives from Mexico, India and Brazil to discuss the identification and governance of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) - places recognised for their important fauna and flora. The process for identifying KBAs is the focus of a project funded by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative’s Collaborative Fund for Conservation. Participants at the governance meeting which will be held from 6-9 November 2013, will include the CCI project&... more

Shelter from the rains: chasing poachers in Bouba-Ndjida National Park

06 November 2013
Chasing illegal gold miners.
Photo: LEO Foundation / Bouba-Ndjidda NP
In just 3 months last year, poachers slaughtered circa 450 elephants in Bouba-Ndjida National Park, Cameroon, a drama that spurred the deployment of 60 new ecoguards. However, the lack of equipment, stable salaries and basic housing facilities conspired to make the guard's task of protecting the remaining wildlife, all the more challenging. With SOS funding, the LEO Foundation provided fuel and food, an essential contribution to patrols performed jointly by eco-guards from the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife and local villagers hired and trained by the Mayo Rey Conservation Association, a commu... more

No time to lose for our planet’s “blue heart”

28 October 2013
Ocean, our planet's 'blue heart'
Photo: Octavio Aburto
A strong commitment to conserve and sustainably manage the ocean, including areas beyond national jurisdiction, was among the outcomes of the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress, whose ministerial segment closed yesterday in Ajaccio, Corsica. The Ministerial Conference was hosted by the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Philippe Martin and gathered 19 ministers of nations representing the world's oceans. It reaffirmed the urgency and determination to reach the target of protecting at least 10% of the world’s ocean by 2020, agreed by most of the w... more

World nearing 3% of ocean protection

25 October 2013
Marine Protected Areas cover almost 3% of the ocean
Photo: Jeff Litton
Marseille, France, 24 October 2013 – Marine protected areas now cover 2.8% of the global ocean – an area larger than Europe – according to the official map released today based on data provided by the World Database on Protected Areas, run by IUCN and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The map shows an increase of 0.6% in the ocean area protected since 2012. In 2010, most of the world governments agreed to protect at least 10% of the world’s marine and coastal zones by 2020. “It’s encouraging to see the progress we’ve made so far,” s... more

Crowdsourcing Seahorses: New smartphone app offers hope for seahorse science and conservation

25 October 2013
Common Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda)
Photo: Project Seahorse
Marine conservationists from the University of British Columbia, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago have launched a smartphone app that could lead to new discoveries about some of the ocean’s most mysterious and threatened animals — seahorses — and pave the way for similar efforts with other difficult-to-study species. With iSeahorse Explore, anyone, anywhere in the world can become a citizen scientist and contribute to marine conservation with a few taps of their phone. The iPhone app is designed for people to quickly log seahorse sighting... more

Conservation in Action: The Road to Recovery

23 October 2013
Kihansi spray toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis)
Photo: ARKive - www.arkive.org
From saving the world’s most threatened species of sea turtle to bringing unusual amphibians back from the brink of extinction, no conservation challenge is a lost cause if knowledge, dedication and strong partnerships are put into play. This is the message being championed by ARKive to celebrate its tenth anniversary this year. Through its unparalleled collection of wildlife imagery, ARKive – an initiative of wildlife charity Wildscreen – has become a platform to inform, and a place to encourage conversation for conservation. To mark a decade spent highlighting the importance... more

There is hope for the ocean

23 October 2013
The Eastern Pacific Seascape spans Central and South America, covering a total of 2 million square kilometers.
Photo: © Kip Evans / Mission Blue (Cocos)
Thirty one new Hope Spots - places that are critical to the health of the ocean - were announced yesterday by renowned oceanographer and IUCN Patron Sylvia Earle, a global initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance “Mission Blue” and IUCN, with the aim to scale up the marine protection necessary for a sustainable development of the ocean. A Hope Spot is an area of ocean that merits special protection because of its wildlife and significant underwater habitats. Some are already formally protected, while others still need protection. The Central Arctic Ocean, The White Shark Café... more

20 years of conservation success for the Jamaican Iguana

22 October 2013
Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei)
Photo: Rick Van Veen
The recovery of the Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) is considered one of the greatest success stories in conservation science. Presumed extinct since the 1940s, a tiny population was discovered in 1990, in the remote tropical dry forest of the Hellshire Hills in southern Jamaica. This discovery inspired the formation of the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group, which has worked with local conservation partners over the past 20 years to increase the wild population of Jamaican Iguana. Since 1991, the number of nesting fe... more

Developing the European Red List of Marine Fishes

15 October 2013
Atlantic cod. www.arkive.org
Photo: Florian Graner - Naturepl.com
A five-day workshop, 14-18 October, held in Malaga started yesterday with the participation of 16 experts from 13 countries who will evaluate 300 species of marine fish, including some of commercial fishing interest as cod, hake, anchovy or scorpionfish , in order to develop the European Red List of Marine Fishes (pan-European and EU 27), according to the criteria and categories of the Red List of Threatened Species. Members from the IUCN Species Programme- Marine Biodiversity Unit based at Old Dominion University (USA) along with experts from different European research institutions will evalu... more

Botswana and IUCN call for global action to stop African elephant poaching

10 October 2013
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Photo: Alicia Wirz
As the surge in African elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade continues, the Government of Botswana and IUCN are convening a high-level summit on the African Elephant calling for stronger global action to halt the illegal trade and secure viable elephant populations across Africa. Hosted by the President of the Republic of Botswana H.E. Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, the event will bring together Heads of State and representatives of all African elephant range countries, as well as high-level representatives from key transit and destination countries in the illegal African elep... more

Pole to Pole: One small step, one giant leap

09 October 2013
Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua)
Photo: © Gaby Schwammer
The leading zoos and aquariums of Europe, through the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) will, together with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Arctic Action Team and other partners, raise awareness and stimulate behaviour change for the conservation of the biodiversity of the two Poles. For the next two years EAZA will be running the Pole to Pole Campaign throughout Europe and the Middle East – a campaign about the two Poles, the wonderfully varied species living there and... more

Wildlife diseases threaten Europe’s biodiversity

08 October 2013
Dead Common Midwife Toads infected by the Bd fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis)
Photo: Matthew Fisher
Severe infectious diseases of wildlife are on the increase mainly due to the globalization of trade leading to increased mobility of pathogens, including invasive alien species. These epidemics are a serious threat to biodiversity and result in the degradation of ecosystem functioning. Research by the BiodivERsA-funded RACE project on the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has caused population declines and extinction in amphibians worldwide, brings evidence of this threat in Europe. The results of the... more

Major step towards Asian Rhino Recovery

03 October 2013
Greater One-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) in the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, India
Photo: Remco van Merm
At a meeting of the five Asian Rhino range states - Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal - a common action plan was agreed today with the aim of increasing the populations of Asian Rhino species by at least 3% annually by 2020. This agreement, called the Bandar Lampung Declaration, was reached after two days of negotiations at the Asian Rhino Range States Meeting held in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, hosted by the government of Indonesia and facilitated by the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). “Our decision to host this meeting reflects Indonesia’s determination to do eve... more

Urban areas and biological invasions: what can cities do about it?

20 September 2013
Conference "Invasive Alien Species: the urban dimension", 05 September 2013
Photo: IUCN/ Liza Drius
IUCN has brought together key actors from all over Europe for a conference aiming to exchange knowledge and best practices to reduce the risk of invasive alien species in urban areas. Following the recent publication of a compilation of case studies on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in urban areas, IUCN held a conference where some of these studies were presented and discussed. As metropolitan areas are particularly vulnerable to IAS and serve as entry pathways, the key objective of the event was to analyse the issue of IAS from an urban perspective to understand the challenges which cities face... more

Action to tackle Southeast Asia’s Extinction Crisis

17 September 2013
Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)
Photo: Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI) - Dedi Candra
Southeast Asia hosts a high proportion of the world’s uniquely diverse fauna and flora, but key threats in the region such as habitat loss, hunting and trade continue to drive much of its wildlife towards extinction. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ reveals a worrying concentration of Critically Endangered species in this biodiversity hotspot. In response to this looming biodiversity crisis, the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) has convened the Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP) in collaboration with many other conservation organizations, focusing attention and dr... more

Rare and endangered species successfully return to nature

17 September 2013
Release of the Montagu's Harriers
Photo: Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia
Three Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus) chicks, found on 2 July 2013 during agricultural activities taking place near the village of Lower Vapa, were temporarily housed in shelters for wildlife at Palic Zoo, and were then released to their natural habitat in Sjenicko-Pester plateau. After assessing that the species were capable of independent living, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, an IUCN Member, and the Reserve Uvac Ltd. in cooperation with the wildlife shelter of Palic Zoo, organized the release of the birds in the same place where they were found just one month bef... more

The Duke of Cambridge and IUCN unite for wildlife

12 September 2013
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Photo: Alicia Wirz
As part of his latest conservation initiative, The Duke of Cambridge brings together an unprecedented collaboration between the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, and seven of the world’s most influential conservation organizations, including IUCN. The partnership, named ‘United for Wildlife’, is a long-term commitment to tackle global threats to the world’s natural resources, including illegal wildlife trade. “The threats to our natural heritage are extensive, but I believe that this collaboration of the best minds in conservat... more

Aquatic Alwyn - Field Officer for Cape Critical Rivers Project

12 September 2013
Doing fieldwork, Brakwater
Photo: Sam Owen
Alwyn Lubbe is a man on a mission – he has been employed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust to take on alien fish, to engage with farmers on water use, encourage sustainable management and to protect the precious indigenous fish of South Africa's Cape Floristic Region, which are hanging on to survival by the tips of their fin(ger)s. Alwyn is no ordinary Field Officer. Although he looks the part – a tall, rugged youth dressed in khaki – he will on a typical day walk the talk. In the morning Alwyn might typically discuss water validation methodologies with the government... more

Calling for wild cat conservation from the roof of the world

11 September 2013
The sad part about Tanya's work is that sometimes her team has to deal with retaliatory killings of snow leopards. In this case they convinced the farmer not to sell the skin and parts and hand them over to the authorities. The team is now also working with him and his neighbours to better protect their livestock.
Photo: Jura Bahriev
Working in what is dubbed the ‘roof of the world,’ Tanya Rosen is a passionate voice for the conservation of wild cats — snow leopards in particular. In the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, Tanya’s work as Snow Leopard Programme Coordinator for conservation organization Panthera aims to secure a future for one of the world’s rarest wild cats, nicknamed Asia’s Mountain Ghost because of its elusive nature. The Pamir Mountains form the intersection of several of Asia’s greatest mountain ranges. They are a critical link between the southern and northern parts... more

European Commission move to tackle invasive species a good start but more needed

10 September 2013
American grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
Photo: Sandro Bertolino
The new legislative proposal released yesterday by the European Commission aims to ensure coordinated action at the EU level to curb the impacts of invasive alien species. IUCN, uniting some of the leading experts on this subject in Europe, welcomes the new proposal but highlights some concerns. “The proposal by the European Commission paves the way for more, better and coordinated action in Europe and its overseas entities to tackle invasive alien species,” said Luc Bas, Director of IUCN European Un... more

Online IUCN Red List training course now available

01 September 2013
Module 3 is the latest addition to the online IUCN Red List training course: Assessing Species' Extinction Risk Using IUCN Red List Methodology. Image © The Nature Conservancy.
The first three modules of the online IUCN Red List training course (Assessing Species' Extinction Risk Using IUCN Red List Methodology) have now been released. In an effort to bring training to a global community of Red List Assessors, this online course will provide free training to anyone who wishes to learn more about the IUCN Red List. After several years of increasing demands for Red List training, a collaboration between IUCN and the The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has resulted in the first t... more

IUCN welcomes Snow Leopard born in Bronx Zoo, calls for more local conservation action

30 August 2013
Snow Leopard Leo
Photo: Julie Larsen Maher © Wildlife Conservation Society
IUCN celebrates the birth of the son of Leo the Snow Leopard, himself a rescued orphan from Pakistan in 2005. The cub was born on March 6 at the Bronx Zoo in New York. In a remarkable story of conservation collaboration between Pakistan and the United States, young Leo, whose mother and siblings were killed, was rescued from the Nalter Valley and taken care of by the Wildlife Department, WWF and IUCN. It was clear that the cub could not be returned to the wild, and with the support of IUCN and the Government of Pakistan, a plan was devised to send him to the Bronx Zoo. Run by IUCN Member the Wi... more

Save The Rhino Trust Namibia speaks with SOS

30 August 2013
Rhino charge
Photo: Dave Hamman Photography
One of Save the Rhino Trust Namibia’s (SRT) largest-ever grants came from SOS - Save Our Species for the calendar year 2012. Through this grant, SRT was able to enhance its Field Patrolling and Monitoring Programme and continue its valuable contribution towards the ongoing protection of the unique free-ranging, desert-adapted population of the South western subspecies of black rhino (Diceros bicornis bicornis). Reflecting on the outcomes from the project to date and rhino conservation in general, SRT spoke with SOS.
SOS: How did the project perform in terms of its ongoing pr... more

Invasive alien species: the urban dimension

28 August 2013
Publication 'Invasive alien species: the urban dimension'
Photo: IUCN
Invasive alien species (IAS) pose a significant threat to biodiversity in Europe, and this threat is likely to increase in the future unless meaningful action is taken at all levels to control the introduction and establishment of these species and address those already introduced. IUCN has released a publication which compiles case studies from more than 15 European countries and beyond to showcase examples of concrete action at the urban level. The new publication was produced in view of the upcoming conference “Invasive alien species: the urban dimension” which will take place on... more

Spoon-billed sandpiper numbers boosted by conservationists

23 August 2013
24 hour old Spoon-billed Sandpiper chick
Photo: Paul Marshall, WWT
Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpipers fledglings have increased in number by a quarter in 2013, after conservationists intervened to hand rear chicks. As few as 100 breeding pairs remain in the wild, rearing just 60 young between them each year on average. The 16 additional hand-reared young are a significant boost for the species, which is on the verge of extinction. WWT Conservation Breeding Officer Roland Digby said: “The breeding season in Russia is short and brutal for spoon-billed sandpipers. Each pair is lucky to get even a single chick as far as fledging. Normally, that&rs... more

Activists Swim for Dugongs

21 August 2013
Dugong swimming
Photo: EWT
Picture this. On August 22, 2013, a group of eleven friends will swim 5 kilometres across a lake from France to Switzerland. This not any ordinary swim, this is the IUCN Big Swim across lac Leman! You can support the Big Swim by donating via the following link to the SOS project page: http://bit.ly/1epxCf3.  Every little helps and is much appreciated. The Big Swim is an annual fundraiser which this year is dedicated to raise money for an SOS – Save Our Species project working to save the largest viable p... more

The Snake-eyed Skink fighting the Black Pine

20 August 2013
The Snake-eyed Skink
Photo: Hyla Archive
The Snake-eyed Skink (Ablepharus kitaibelii) is one of the rarest and most endangered reptile species in Croatia, where it has a small area of occupancy and is threatened by the habitat destruction. The Nature Park Papuk and Croatian Herpetological Society-Hyla have been working on its conservation for the last three years, revealing the invasive Black Pine (Pinus nigra) spreading as one of its major threats. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ lists the Snake-eyed Skink as Least Concern (LC)... more

Salmon fishing clashes with endangered gray whales

16 August 2013
Tail fin of Western Gray Whale

Photo: © Alexander Burdin
An IUCN group of experts is calling for an immediate halt to large-scale commercial salmon fishing near Piltun Lagoon, Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East because of the risk it poses to about 150 critically endangered Western Gray whales found in this area. The area, where salmon fishing began for the first time this summer, is used by the whales, particularly mothers and calves, for summer and autumn feeding. The whales have been seen very close to the salmon fishing nets.

IUCN’s Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel believes tha... more

Vultures – the silent victims of Africa’s wildlife poaching

15 August 2013
Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)
Photo: Andre Botha
The recent death of up to 600 vultures after feeding on a poisoned elephant carcass near Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park in July confirms that the indiscriminate use of poison is one of the major causes of the ongoing decline in vulture populations across most of Africa. This is particularly evident in West Africa where an average decline of 42% in vulture numbers has been recorded over the past 30 years, with the Rueppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) declining by up to 85%. It is now common practice for p... more

New Guidelines on conservation translocations published by IUCN

15 August 2013
Arabian Oryx

Photo: © David Mallon
As the world’s biodiversity faces the incessant threats of habitat loss, invasive species and climate change, there is an increasing need to consider more direct conservation interventions. Humans have moved organisms between sites for their own purposes for millennia, and this has yielded benefits for human kind, but in some cases has led to disastrous impacts. In response to this complex aspect of conservation management, the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Reintroduction Specialist Group (RSG) and Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) have revised and published the IUCN &lsqu... more

Uncertain future of the Balkan Terrapin

07 August 2013
Juvenile Balkan Terrapin (Mauremys rivulata)
Photo: Ivona Burić
The territory of Croatia is inhabited by two species of freshwater turtles. Unlike the European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis) which is widespread throughout the country, the Balkan Terrapin (Mauremys rivulata) is one of the most endangered reptile species in Croatia. It is present only in the country's far south which is the most northern and most western part of the species range. The Croatian Herpetological Society-Hyla has conducted preliminary studies on the Balkan Terrapin from 2004 to 2009. Their objective wa... more

The Karst Viper in Croatia

06 August 2013
The Karst Viper (Vipera ursinii macrops)
Photo: Ivona Burić
The Meadow Viper (Vipera ursinii) is the smallest European viper that has fragmented and isolated distribution through Europe. Its venom is not harmful to humans since it eats crickets and grasshoppers. The Croatian Herpetological Society - Hyla is working on the conservation of its subspecies, the Karst Viper (Vipera ursinii ssp. macrops), a Balkan endemic species that inhabits high mountain grasslands of the Dinaric Arc. Between 2005 a... more

Mysterious Balkan Snow Vole

06 August 2013
The Balkan Snow Vole (Dinaromys bogdanovi)
Photo: BIOM
As a poorly known species endemic to the Western Balkans, the Balkan Snow Vole (Dinaromys bogdanovi) is in the focus of a continuous research and educational activities of the Association BIOM. Its goal is to better understand the Balkan Snow Vole biology in order to evaluate its current conservation status in Croatia and propose adequate conservation measures. This species may be declining in parts of its range as a result of competition with the European snow vole. Within a project initiated in 2010 with the Faculty of Science, Universi... more

Protecting the Olm

02 August 2013
The Olm (Proteus anguinus)
Photo: Petra K.K. HBSD
The Olm (Proteus anguinus) is endemic to subterranean freshwater habitats of the Dinaric Karst. It is the only cave-adapted vertebrate and it eats, sleeps, and breeds underwater. The Olm has adapted to living in total darkness and can survive for up to 10 years without food. The Croatian Herpetological Society - Hyla and the Croatian Institute for Biodiversity are working on Olm conservation within the PROTEUS project. The data on the Olm distribution and the general knowledge on its ecology and biology are scarce, even th... more

Large carnivores in Croatia

02 August 2013
Canis lupus
Photo: Miha Krofel
Large carnivores – bear, wolf and lynx – are an important component of Croatia's biodiversity and a natural wealth which needs to be preserved. Their conservation is a complex task for which Croatia is making intense efforts, in particular for the most challenging aspect – the relations with people. From the biological aspect, bear and wolf populations can be considered stable, while the lynx population is declining. Estimates on the wolf population in Croatia are in a range from 162 to 234 individuals, i.e. an average of 200 divided into 50 packs. Considering the fact that a... more

Combating Invasive Alien Species

01 August 2013
IAS webpage
Photo: IAS
The new Nature Protection Act (Official Gazette No. 80/2013) of Croatia establishes important changes regarding Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Croatia by regulating the criteria for their import, trade and use, as well as their introduction into nature. The Act takes into consideration the risk assessment protocols which predict the species’ invasiveness. Two lists will be soon made to regulate the use of IAS: “Black list” for alien species whose import and placement on the market will be prohibited “White list” for alien species whose import and placing on the ma... more

Lemurs of Madagascar three-year conservation plan launched

01 August 2013
Black and white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata)
Photo: The Dancing Star Foundation
Primate experts from around the world have come together to write a 185 page document outlining a three-year strategy for the conservation of the lemurs of Madagascar. In 2012 leading conservationists gathered at a summit meeting organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) to review the conservation status of the world’s then 103 (meanwhile 104) lemur species – the most endangered mammal group in the world. Of the 103 species, 24 are now listed as ‘Critically Endangered’, 49 are ‘Endangered’ and 20... more

IUCN celebrates World Ranger Day, as Prince William salutes park rangers’ “brave and tireless work”

31 July 2013
Gorilla guard in Volcano National Park, Rwanda
Photo: Jim Thorsell, IUCN
Today, we celebrate the outstanding efforts of park rangers around the globe on the occasion of World Ranger Day. Thanks to their bravery and dedication, nature’s most inspiring places stand a chance in the face of menacing threats, such as illegal poaching or forest clearing. Recognizing the immense contribution of these individuals, some of whom have lost their lives while on duty, Prince William has joined the celebrations this year through a heartfelt letter to the International Ranger Federation and the Thin Green Line Foundation. Prince William reminds us of the grim figure of over... more

European butterflies under threat of extinction

29 July 2013
Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon), Eifel, Germany
Photo: Chris van Swaay
According to the recent report of the European Environment Agency (EEA), European grassland butterflies have declined dramatically by almost 50% over two decades. This study highlights an alarming trend for butterflies and complements the assessment by the European Red List of Butterflies conducted by IUCN. 17 grassland butterflies have dramatically declined between 1990 and 2011, acco... more

Threatened freshwater fish fall through net of mismanaged aquarium pet trade

26 July 2013
Malabar Pufferfish (Carinotetraodon travancoricus)
Photo: Rajeev Raghavan
The global trade in freshwater fish is a large and diverse industry, estimated to be worth around US $15–30 billion a year. Supplied by captive-bred and wild-caught specimens, the aquarium trade is dependent on the replenishment capabilities of wild freshwater fish populations and sustainable methods of capture. Although a new paper published by the Conservation Research Group (CRG) and members of the IUCN SSC Freshwater Fish Specialist Group reveals that up to 30 species of barbs, catfish, loaches and other freshwater fish endemic to two biodiversity hotspots in India are continually tra... more

The most traded wild mammal - the Pangolin - is being eaten to extinction

24 July 2013
Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla)
Photo: Jason Chin
The Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), one of eight extant pangolins or scaly anteaters as they are also known, was once abundant in China. However, as a result of overexploitation for consumption of its meat and scales, this species is now moving closer to extinction, which is having a devastating impact on the world’s remaining pangolins. This was one of the findings from the first-ever global conference on the conservation of pangolins held by the International Union for Conservation of Nature - Species... more

Moving Closer to Nature - Miyun Landscape, China

18 July 2013
Miyun Landscape,China
Photo: IUCN
Substantial efforts have been made over the last 30 or 40 years to reforest the Miyun landscape. These efforts were a response to the very urgent need to protect the Miyun reservoir and its watershed, which supplies up to 80% of the water used in Bejing, China’s capital city. Over the last decades, Beijing has been facing a progressively worsening water crisis. Much of the original broadleaf forest in the Miyun watershed had disappeared. Reforestation activities planted large areas of conifers and other species, and instituted strict controls on land and forest use,including a total ban o... more

Planting, protecting, and sharing: three indispensable links in mangroves conservation

17 July 2013
Local people planting mangroves
Photo: IUCN Viet Nam
On a recent trip to Lang Co Lagoon in Thua Thien Hue Province, an MFF small grant project site, I met Nguyen Xuan Vinh who runs a local seafood restaurant. Right at the start of the project Vinh volunteered to plant two hectares of mangroves. When asked why, he said: “I remember many rare and precious aquatic species in the lagoon when mangroves were abundant. But now the mangroves are almost gone and it’s hard to find any such species. If I can bring them back, it will bring a huge profit to my restaurant, and the only way to do that is to plant mangroves. Mangroves also help to pu... more

Exciting results from camera traps!

17 July 2013
Camera traps
Photo: IUCN/A.Ghiurghi
The IUCN wildlife monitoring team has placed 20 hidden cameras all over the Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park during the first week of June and the first spectacular results are here presented. Purchased in the framework of the project “Institutional support for Protected Areas in Albania”, they are helping the team to assess the presence and distribution of the wildlife species in the protected area. The findings will be included in the protected area database being currently developed, used for the management plan preparation, for raising public awareness as well as the long... more

New Guidelines on conservation translocations published by IUCN

12 July 2013
Red Wolf (Canis rufus)
Photo: Kim Wheeler, Red Wolf Coalition
As the world’s biodiversity faces the incessant threats of habitat loss, invasive species and climate change, there is an increasing need to consider more direct conservation interventions. Humans have moved organisms between sites for their own purposes for millennia, and this has yielded benefits for human kind, but in some cases has led to disastrous impacts. In response to this complex aspect of conservation management, the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Reintroduction Specialist Group (RSG) and Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) have revised and published the IUCN &lsqu... more

World’s oldest and largest species in decline – IUCN Red List

02 July 2013
Sequoia. Photo: Shutterstock / Galyna Andrushko.
Gland, 2 July, 2013 (IUCN) – The latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ shows worrying declines for conifers – the world’s oldest and largest organisms – freshwater shrimps, cone snails and the Yangtze Finless Porpoise. The Santa Cruz Pupfish, a lizard known as the Cape Verde Giant Skink and a species of freshwater shrimp have been declared Extinct. With this update, 4,807 species have been added to The IUCN Red List bringing the total of assessed species to 70,294, of which 20,934 are threatened with extinction. “Thanks to the IUCN Red Lis... more

Keeping the spirit of the 2012 Congress alive

01 July 2013
IUCN 2012 Congress - Forum
Photo: IUCN
IUCN is pleased to announce the launch of the IUCN Conservation Trends Platform, which illustrates trends for conservation based on analysis undertaken during the Forum of the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress on a selection of workshops under each Congress theme. A Trend Report has been produced for each day, identifying the main conservation messages coming out of the collective work. The platform gathers all of the information generated during the Forum: information about each session, PowerPoint presentations and video re... more

Birds indicate a planet in peril, but investing in conservation makes economic sense

01 July 2013
Brown-winged Kingfisher
Photo: IUCN
Declines in birds across the globe are providing evidence of a rapid deterioration in the global environment that is affecting all life on earth – including people. However, birds also tell us that saving the planet comes at a relatively small price – an investment that’s vital to secure our own future. These are some of the messages in a new report State of the World’s Birds: indicators for our changing world by BirdLife International, an IUCN Red List partner, who gathered last week in Ottawa, Canada to launch the report and unveil their vision for a world rich... more

Hiding in plain sight: New species of bird discovered in capital city

26 June 2013
Cambodian Tailorbird
Photo: James Eaton
A team of scientists with the Wildlife Conservation Society, BirdLife International, and other groups have discovered a new species of bird with distinct plumage and a loud call, living not in some remote jungle, but in a capital city of 1.5 million people. Called the Cambodian Tailorbird (Orthotomus chaktomuk), the previously undescribed species was found in Cambodia’s urbanised capitol Phnom Penh and several other locations just outside of the city including a construction site. Scientists describe the new bird in a special online early-view issue of the Oriental Bird Club’... more

Five natural wonders declared World Heritage

21 June 2013
Namibia, Namib sand sea
Photo: IUCN Peter Howard
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 21 June 2013 (IUCN) -- Namib Sand Sea in Namibia, Xinjiang Tianshan in China, Tajik National Park in Tajikistan, Mount Etna in Italy and El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve in Mexico have been declared World Heritage sites, following expert recommendations of IUCN. In addition, the World Heritage Committee approved the extension of Mount Kenya National Park to include the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve, also following IUCN's recommendation. “From vast deserts in Namibia and Mexico to high mountain ranges in China and Taj... more

Surprise species at risk from climate change

13 June 2013
Pacific Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus occidentalis)
Photo: Rob Pople
Most species at greatest risk from climate change are not currently conservation priorities, finds an IUCN study that introduces a pioneering method to assess the vulnerability of species to climate change. The paper, published in the journal PLOS ONE, is one of the biggest studies of its kind, assessing all of the world’s birds, amphibians and corals. It draws on the work of more than 100 scientists over a period of five years. Up to 83% of birds, 66% of amphibians and 70% of corals that were identified as highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are not currently considered th... more

Giant aquatic fern added to the IUCN Invasive Species list

11 June 2013
Giant Salvinia covering a farm pond
Photo: Ted D Center USDA ARS
The Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta), an aquatic fern, has been added to the list of 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. Compiled by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Invasive Species Specialist Group, (ISSG) the list aims to increase awareness about invasive alien species and to help prevent further invasions. Recently the rinderpest virus was removed from the list and a review was conducted to decide which invasive species should be added. The review involved more than 650 experts from 63 countries. More than 10,000 invasive species were assessed in terms of thei... more

Ananya Muckherjee explains Vulture Safe Zones

05 June 2013
Oriental White-backed Vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
Photo: Devki Nanda
A lot done, a lot more to do. That could be the Facebook status update for Ananya Mukherjee as she works to establish Vulture Safe Zones (VSZs) to help protect India’s remaining vulture populations. Ananya is the Vulture Safe Zone Coordinator for the Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction (SAVE) programme organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) – an SOS grantee, who is working to build advocacy for the VSZ concept throughout the sub-continent, engaging with pharmacies, veterinarians, farmers, government officials, policymakers and conservationists ali... more

IUCN expert receives prestigious award

04 June 2013
Jon Paul Rodríguez (center) receives the XVI Premio Lorenzo Mendoza Fleury
Photo: Fundación Empresas Polar
Jon Paul Rodríguez, Deputy Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC), has been presented with Venezuela’s most prestigious science award, the XVI Premio Lorenzo Mendoza Fleury. The XVI Premio Lorenzo Mendoza Fleury is the most important prize offered by the private sector to Venezuela’s top scientists who show outstanding talent, creativity and productivity. This year it has been awarded to Jon Paul and four other scientists. Jon Paul is a researcher at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigation, and... more

From words to action – key organizations team up to stop the extinction crisis

28 May 2013
Cheetahs in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Photo: IUCN Photo Library © Sue Mainka
With unprecedented species declines and more than 20,000 of the species assessed on The IUCN Red List threatened with extinction, IUCN and other organizations come together to support the achievement of a global biodiversity target to prevent further species loss. The partnership – Friends of Target 12 – will guide countries in their efforts to prevent further extinctions of threatened species and improve the conservation status of those disappearing most rapidly. This will help them achieve the so-called ‘Target 12’ – one of 20 ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets&rs... more

Cleaning up India’s lakes

23 May 2013
Arun Krishnamurthy
Photo: Rolex Awards/Stefan Walter
With the support of a Rolex Award for Enterprise, a young man – Arun Krishnamurthy – is following his true passion to conserve the environment by spearheading a campaign to clean up the urban lakes of India. In India, where the spread of urbanization is threatening natural water sources, Arun Krishnamurthy, with the help of hundreds of young volunteers, is reclaiming neglected lakes for the benefit of wildlife such as the Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii), Pied Kingfisher (... more

Biodiversity and water: two of a kind

22 May 2013
Over 40% of the world’s population resides within internationally shared river basins.
Photo: WFP-James_Giambrone
Today we celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity. Its theme, Water and Biodiversity, coincides with the designation of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation and highlights the indispensible role of nature in our water security and the sustainable development of our planet. Water is life. Our well-being, food security, health, sanitation and most economic activities directly depend on it – but it is nature that makes it possible for us to use it. Nature provides us with infrastructure that complements man-made levees, dams, canals and reservoirs in a cos... more

Winter bird monitoring in Buna River Protected Landscape

16 May 2013
Local Collaborators
Photo: IUCN/A.Ghiurghi
IUCN expert Francesca Pella, supported by the ornithologist Mikel Salvador Corres from Spain led water bird monitoring exercises in the Buna river Protected Landscape with the team of wildlife trainees last January. The group learned about the bird migration concept, a key topic that explains the importance of wintering sites and justifies the conservation of the Buna river wetlands. The next water bird monitoring session was held end of March, with the support of Borut Stumberger and Peter Sackl from Euronatur. The trainees, Tonin Macaj, Eduard Gajtani and Zeqir Ujka spent time observing the b... more

Conservation royalty awarded IUCN’s highest award

15 May 2013
Dr Simon Stuart presents Sir David Attenborough with the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal
Photo: Jennifer Luedtke
Distinguished conservationist, Sir David Attenborough, received the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal earlier this week at a special presentation at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London. The John C. Phillips Memorial Medal is IUCN’s highest conservation award which has been presented at every General Assembly and IUCN World Conservation Congress since 1963. Awarded in memory of the life and work of Dr John C. Phillips, a pioneer of the conservation movement and specialist in species classification and genetics, it is a symbol of recognition of outstanding service in international conse... more

All our cousins on display

14 May 2013
Male Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)
Photo: © Olivier Langrand
The first book to profile all species of primates, with illustrations of every species and insights into their role in nature and value to humans, has been launched today by Lynx Edicions in association with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Conservation International (CI). The book, which is the third volume of the series Handbook of the Mammals of the World presents the most comprehensive information on 16 families, 77 genera, 479 species and 681 taxa of primates. This 952-page book features, for the first time ever, illustrations of every single species... more

Networking for migratory birds

10 May 2013
Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta)
Photo: Peter Harris
World Migratory Bird Day is a global celebration that highlights the need for more protection of migratory birds and their habitats. This year’s theme is “networking for migratory birds” and as the largest professional global conservation network, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is pleased to join the celebrations. For many people, the sight of migrating birds signals the start of spring and new beginnings. Migratory birds can fly thousands of miles each year, crossing geographical and political borders as they travel between wintering sites in the south... more

Invasive alien plants and pests: the communication challenge

10 May 2013
Alien Invasive Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) which has spread around the entire tropics and is now moving north into southern Europe as Climate Change makes conditions suitable for it.
Photo: IUCN
Research to better understand the impacts of biological invasions has been carried out across Europe. Governments and institutions have undertaken prevention and control actions, and the European Commission is expected to present a dedicated legislative instrument in the near future. However, despite these initiatives, the general public is rarely aware of what pests and invasive alien plants are, and what damage they can cause. Raising awareness among the society is an indispensable step for fully addressing the issue. Communicating on the topic of pests and invasive alien plants is a challeng... more

IUCN signs new partnership for better forests

08 May 2013
A timber lorry in Kongo village, Cameroon
Photo: © Christian Laufenberg
IUCN signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday with the Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) – a key player in the tropical timber industry specialized in sustainable forestry, local processing of timber and forest certification schemes. The two organizations will now work together on the assessment of timber species for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ to help improve the way forest resources are managed. They will also explore the important role that forest certification plays for biodiversity and for local social and economic development. D... more

EU countries must do more to protect biodiversity

02 May 2013
Mustela lutreola, Critically Endangered
Photo: Tilt Maran
European Union countries should step up their conservation efforts and fully implement the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 to prevent species from going extinct, according to a recent analysis of the European Red List coordinated by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The analysis presents a detailed overview of species threatened at the European level in all 27 EU Member States. It shows that the highest share of species threatened in the European Union can be found in the Mediterranean region which hosts most of Europe’s biodiversity. “Thanks to its bioc... more

A new view of The IUCN Red List

30 April 2013
IUCN Red List sub-site
Photo: The IUCN Red List
There is a brand new way to search for information on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Launched today, a new section on The IUCN Red List website offers a simpler way to search for species and learn about the threats they face. Featuring more images than before, the sub-site makes The IUCN Red List information easily accessible to all wildlife enthusiasts. More than a measure of the current extinction crisis, The IUCN Red List is also the starting point for conservation action. Up until now it has been largely tailored to scientists, and now thanks to the generous support from Ro... more

Nature in Poland

30 April 2013
Turnicki National Park
Photo: Radoslaw Michalski
Poland’s biodiversity is among the richest in Europe. Its transitional climate which is influenced by oceanic and continental air masses, its favourable geographical position at the centre of the continent with no natural barriers to the east or the west, its varied geological structure, land and hydrographic make-up and soil types make it a good habitat for many plant and animal species. Read the Country Focus on Poland to learn about Polish nature and conservation action... more

A billion-dollar business puts species and people at risk

29 April 2013
The Nassau Grouper.
Photo: Enric Sala/SCRFA
At least 12% of groupers – globally-important food fish species that live on coral and rocky reefs – face extinction, putting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people around the world at risk, finds a report published today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission’s (IUCN SSC) Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group. The overall percentage of threatened groupers could be much higher as there is insufficient data for about 30% of the species, according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The study points to overfishi... more

Good news on Earth Day!

22 April 2013
Convict surgeonfish
Photo: Jerker Tamelander IUCN
For IUCN, whose core business is saving biodiversity, there is some very welcome news that awareness of biodiversity is growing worldwide. The 2013 Biodiversity Barometer report launched by the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) shows that 75% of consumers surveyed worldwide are aware of biodiversity, while 48% can give a correct definition of the term biodiversity. Communicating the importance of saving biodiversity is challenging if people don’t know what it is, but fortunately, this awareness is steadily increasing thanks to campaigns like the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010... more

A new SADC Biodiversity Action Plan endorsed for approval

17 April 2013
Representatives of SADC Member States reviewing the first draft of the regional Biodiversity Action Plan in Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2009.
Photo: IUCN/Hastings Chikoko
Members of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Technical Committee on Environment have endorsed the new SADC Biodiversity Action Plan for approval by the SADC Ministers of Environment at the next Ministerial meeting in May 2013. The SADC Technical Committee meeting, which was held from April 9 – 12, in Gaborone, Botswana, convened 11 SADC Member States who thoroughly reviewed and discussed the final draft of the Action Plan that was presented by IUCN ESARO (Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office). “This is an important step towards achieving a more harmonized appro... more

Against All Odds

15 April 2013
Andatu running
Photo: Dedi Candra
Daily news reports of poaching to fuel the international trade in rhino horn seem to paint a bleak future for many of the five rhinoceros species all listed as threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It seems the pressure of hunting could crush this pachyderm’s prospects for survival. But there is hope and SOS is proud to be part of the solution that can deliver meaningful and measurable conservation impacts on the ground. In tandem with the recent announcement of an agreement between representatives of the Malaysian and Indonesian governments to collaborate in saving the C... more

Inspiring children to build a sustainable future

09 April 2013
Maritza Morales Casanova - Rolex Young Laureate
Photo: Rolex Awards/François Schaer
Maritza Morales Casanova has spent much of the last 18 years inspiring children to respect and care for Mexico’s natural environment. What makes her story truly remarkable is that Maritza is just 28 years old. With the support of her Rolex Award for Enterprise, she is constructing an educational center where young people will learn from their peers how to create a sustainable future. Dismayed at the lack of respect shown to animals and the environment around her in Yucatán, Mexico, Maritza recognized – at the age of 10 – that people needed to reconnect with one another... more

IUCN-led intervention stops import of Asian horseshoe crabs into USA

08 April 2013
Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda
Photo: Kevin Laurie
The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) is a network of experts who provide knowledge and advice on species and a wide range of conservation issues. Recently, the IUCN SSC Horseshoe Crab Specialist Group proved how successful this network can be at influencing conservation action by leading an intervention that has led to an import ban on Asian horseshoe crabs destined to be bait in the USA. After being informed that horseshoe crabs were being imported into the USA for use as bait in the eel and whelk (conch) fishing industry, the IUCN... more

Last chance for the Sumatran rhino

05 April 2013
Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)
Photo: International Rhino Foundation (IRF) - Bill Konstant
With population estimates of Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) reduced to less than 100 individuals, a ground-breaking agreement to save the Critically Endangered species was reached today between representatives of the Indonesian and Malaysian governments. The agreement was formed at a summit convened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC), involving a wide range of international and national organisations. This is the first time the two countrie... more

Pygmy hog Translocation

04 April 2013
Pygmy Hog female near nest
Photo: Goutam Naryan
In life, timing is everything. This is certainly true for the Critically Endangered pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) of north eastern India. Each December for the past 6 years, project director Goutam Narayan and project manager Parag Deka make the 200 kilometre journey from breeding facilities in Basistha to the pre-release facility in Potasali in Nameri Tiger Reserve in Assam to make a special delivery. In convoy is a batch of captive bred young pygmy hogs en route to large pre-release enclosures with simulated grassland habitat where they will learn the necessary skills for life in the wi... more

Rolex Young Laureate leads conservation in Paraguay

27 March 2013
Karina Atkinson 2012 Young Laureate
Photo: Rolex Awards Kirsten Hoist
A trip to Paraguay in 2008 changed the life of Karina Atkinson, a young woman from Glasgow, Scotland, with big ambitions. She fell in love with the country and set up Para La Tierra, an NGO dedicated to the conservation of Reserva Natural Laguna Blanca, the site of a natural lake that lies at the meeting point of three major eco-regions. In 2012 she won a Rolex Young Laureate award. With support from the Rolex Awards for Enterprise she hopes to realize her plan that within five years, Para La Tierra will become a conservation model than can be repeated elsewhere in Paraguay. Reserva Natural Lag... more

Species conservation — the view from the ground

22 March 2013
Jean-Christophe Vié
Photo: Jean-Christophe Vié
In his latest blog, Dr Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme and Director of SOS – Save Our Species talks about species conservation and its importance to the broader conservation of our natural world.
Read more here   Related links: IUCN Global Species Programme ... more

WWT - IUCN partnership will help plants and wetlands

21 March 2013
Baldellia ranunculoides subspecies repens
Photo: Richard Lansdown
A new partnership has been agreed between the IUCN SSC Freshwater Plant Specialist Group (FPSG) and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) that will improve wetland conservation and help save threatened plants. Through the agreement, WWT will support the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Freshwater Plant Specialist Group to further the research and conservation of wetland-dependant plants around the world, whilst benefitting from access to a wealth of specialist knowledge. “Plants are fundamental building blocks of our wetland... more

Students help replant Nantu forest

20 March 2013
Nantu Forest
Photo: Lynn Clayton YANI
Marking the International Day of Forests 2013 today, Dr Lynn Clayton, Project director with YANI - an SOS grantee - and her young friend Yanto, report on one of several tree planting initiatives helping to build awareness and community support for the preservation of the Nantu forest as well as its threatened species including the Babirusa and Anoa in Sulawesi. A truck loaded with young tree seedlings crawls slowly across the last precarious bridge to Wonosari Primary School. Next morning, as part of our student outreach programme funded through a two year SOS - Save Our Species grant, pupils g... more

Saving the Sumatran Rhino

15 March 2013
31 March to 4 April, 2013
Photo: Sumatran Rhino Summit
With the number of Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) estimated to be less than 200 and declining rapidly, urgent action is needed to save this species from extinction. Listed as Critically Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Sumatran rhino is the smallest and last form of the Two-horned hairy rhinos that have lived on the planet for 20 million years. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SCC) is convening the Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit (SRCS) from 31 March to 4 April, 2013 in Singapore to review the Su... more

Sharks, rhinos and elephants among wildlife trade summit winners

14 March 2013
Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) - Vulnerable
Photo: Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch
A historic vote to improve the sustainability of the international trade of eight species of sharks and rays that are listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is among the key decisions taken at the CITES wildlife trade summit closing today in Bangkok. Other decisions taken at the 16th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) include strengthening measures to reduce poaching and illegal trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn, which have increased dramatically in recent years. “The decisions taken at CITES will help secure the su... more

Gorillas caught in the crossfire of conflict

12 March 2013
Grauer's Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri)
Photo: KBNP/ICCN
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other world leading conservation organisations have joined together to fight for the survival of the Endangered Grauer’s Gorilla, also known as the Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri). Found only in the mountain and mid-altitude forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Grauer's Gorilla is not only the largest of the four gorilla subspecies, but also the largest primate in the world. “Conserving the remaining Grauer... more

New report warns of uncertain future for African elephants

06 March 2013
An elephant mouth in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania.
Photo: Alicia Wirz/IUCN
Bangkok, 6 March 2013 - Populations of elephants in Africa continue to be under severe threat as the illegal trade in ivory grows - with double the numbers of elephants killed and triple the amounts of ivory seized, over the last decade. According to a new report entitled “Elephants in the Dust – The African Elephant Crisis”, increasing poaching levels, as well as loss of habitat are threatening the survival of African elephant populations in Central Africa as well as previously secure populations in West, Southern and Eastern Africa. The report - produced by the UN Environmen... more

New data on African elephant populations released

04 March 2013
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana). Photo: Alicia Wirz
The fifth update on the status of the African elephant released today covers 37 range States and includes new or updated information for 194 sites, including 39 new survey areas, mainly in Eastern and Central Africa. The report tracks the reasons for change between this report and the last, noting where repeated surveys have been conducted, or where different survey methodologies have been used and different areas have been covered. It also notes where data has been degraded if it is more than 10 years old. While data quality in Central Africa has improved, data quality and coverage in som... more

Time to put a stop to illegal wildlife trade, says IUCN

04 March 2013
Reticulated Python (Broghammerus reticulatus). Photo: Bjorn Lardner
Bangkok, Thailand, 28 February 2013 – Poaching, illegal trade and other important issues facing wildlife today will be discussed at the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), taking place from 3 to 14 March 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand. IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, calls for urgent measures to halt illegal wildlife trade which is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Governments gathering in Bangkok will discuss measures to sustainably manage the... more

African rhinos won’t hold out for much longer, IUCN experts warn

26 February 2013
African Black Rhino in Ngorongoro. Photo: IUCN/Richard Emslie
Gland, Switzerland, 26 February 2013 – Nearly 2,400 rhinos have been poached across Africa since 2006, slowing the population growth of both African rhino species to some of the lowest levels since 1995, according to the latest facts revealed by IUCN experts. Rhino poaching increased by 43% between 2011 and 2012, representing a loss of almost 3% of the population in 2012, according to IUCN’s Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) African Rhino Specialist Group. Experts predict that if poaching continues to increase at this rate, rhino populations could start to decline in less th... more

Secrets of world’s richest marine area revealed

21 February 2013
Colourful coral reef, Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia. Photo: IUCN Photo Library/Jason Suwandy
A new study finds that sea surface temperature, as well as the size and variety of habitats are the main factors responsible for the proliferation of marine life in the Coral Triangle – the most biologically diverse marine region in the world. The results of the study, carried out by scientists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Old Dominion University, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suggest that climate change may have a direct impact on species diversity and that larger and... more

Almost one in five reptiles are struggling to survive

15 February 2013
Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko (Goniurosaurus kuroiwae) Photo: Hidetoshi Ota
Nineteen percent of the world’s reptiles are estimated to be threatened with extinction, states a paper published today by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in conjunction with experts from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). The study, printed in the journal of Biological Conservation, is the first of its kind summarising the global conservation status of reptiles. More than 200 world renowned experts assessed the extinction risk of 1,500 randomly selected reptiles from across the globe. Out of the 19% of reptiles threatened with extinction, 12% classified as Critically Enda... more

Year of the Snake

14 February 2013
Leptophis mexicanus. Photo: Philip Bowles
This week, Chinese New Year celebrations mark the beginning of the Year of the Snake and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is celebrating snakes and their importance for healthy habitats and livelihoods. Snakes are found in every continent except Antarctica and in almost every habitat including the sea and even the Himalayan Mountains. Their presence is important for healthy ecosystems as they are predators as well as prey for other species. Many species feed on rodents and other pest animals and can be an important source of pest control in many tropical countries. Snak... more

IUCN Council appoints Vice-Presidents for 2013-16

13 February 2013
Vice-Presidents of IUCN 2013-2016: Mr. Malik Amin Aslam Khan, Pakistan; Mr. Miguel Pellerano, Argentina; Dr John Robinson, USA; and Ms Marina von Weissenberg, Finland. (Top row then bottom row l-r) Photo: IUCN
Mr. Malik Amin Aslam Khan (Pakistan), Mr. Miguel Pellerano (Argentina), Dr John Robinson (USA) and Ms Marina von Weissenberg (Finland), have been named Vice-Presidents of IUCN for 2013-16. The four Vice-Presidents were appointed by the IUCN Council, at its 81st meeting, which took place in Gland, Switzerland, from 29-30 January 2013. IUCN’s President, Zhang Xinsheng of China, was elected during the recent IUCN Congress, held in September 2012 in the Republic of Korea. The Council is responsible for the oversight and general control of all the affairs of IUCN, subject to the authority of... more

Tiger conservation supported by 2012 Rolex Award

31 January 2013
Sergei Bereznuk, a Russian conservationist and ecologist, is committed to saving the Amur tiger. Photo: Rolex Awards/Mark Latzel
Sergei Bereznuk is a recipient of a 2012 Rolex Award for Enterprise that will support the conservation of the Amur Tiger (Panthera tigris ssp. altaica), which is listed as Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. By educating children and supporting anti-poaching rangers, Bereznuk has dedicated himself to saving this magnificent species from extinction. Ninety-five percent of the remaining Amur Tiger population is found in the far east of Russia which is where Sergei Bereznuk’s... more

Biodiversity's Ticking Time Bomb: Understanding and Addressing the Problem of Invasive Species in Europe

31 January 2013
Biodiversity's Ticking Time Bomb (photo: IUCN/Liza Drius)
On 21 February 2013, IUCN and BirdLife, with the support of the European Habitats Forum, will organize a high-level debate at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss the issue of invasive alien species in Europe and the development of a EU policy instrument to tackle them. The event is hosted by MEP Pavel Poc, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D).  NATURE Invasive alien species are acknowledged as a serious threat to biodiversity in Europe, and the first cause of documented extinctions at the global scale. Today, Europe hosts over 11,000 alien sp... more

Saving Saola from snares

30 January 2013
Female Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) Photo: William Robichaud
An initiative created by the Saola Working Group of IUCN's Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Greater Mekong Programme has removed and destroyed 26,651 snares from the forests of Viet Nam and Laos that are home to the rare and elusive Saola. Listed as Critically Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, the greatest threat to the Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) are snares that are set for other wildlife in the forests along the border of Viet Nam and L... more

Tracking sharks with the Rolex Awards for Enterprise

22 January 2013
Barbara Block will create underwater listening stations that track marine predators (Photo: Rolex Awards/Bart Michiels)
Barbara Block, a renowned marine scientist received a 2012 Rolex Award for Enterprise. Her award will be used to monitor the activity of sharks off the coast of California and increase public awareness of the marine environment. Barbara Block has been studying the ocean for more than 30 years. Between 2000 and 2010 she was co-chief scientist for the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) programme and part of the Census of Marine Life. The information from these projects identified “hotspots” in the ocean off the coast of California where upwelling currents in the California Current du... more

Conservation planning for wild buffalo in central India

18 January 2013
Wild Asian Buffalo (Bubalus arnee). Photo: Satpuda Foundation
A three day workshop held in India and attended by the IUCN SSC Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group has identified methods of protecting the Wild Asian Buffalo (Bubalus arnee), a species listed as Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Wild Asian Buffalo are considered to be economically important animals as they are the original source of domestic buffalo. Threatened by poaching and loss of habitat, the population of Wild Asian Buffalo (Bubalus arnee) in Assam state numbers about 3,0... more

Rhinos in crisis – poaching and illegal trade reach highest levels in over 20 years

17 January 2013
Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis). Photo: IUCN Photo Library/Sue Mainka
Escalating levels of poaching and illegal trade in rhino horns are seriously undermining rhino conservation efforts, putting the survival of these species at risk – according to a report by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and TRAFFIC. The report examines the conservation status and trade in African and Asian rhino species. “The findings of the report are alarming,” says Tom Milliken, a rhino expert from TRAFFIC. “Today, rhino poaching and illegal horn trade are at their highest levels in over 20 years, threatening to reverse years of conservation ef... more

Support grows for mangroves

16 January 2013
Mangrove roots. Photo: Andre Seale
Mangrove forests are an important part of tropical and sub-tropical coastlines but they are under considerable threat and need more conservation action. The establishment of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Mangrove Specialist Group will bring together experts to share mangrove knowledge and develop conservation plans. Thriving in saline conditions in which many species cannot survive, mangroves play a vital role in coastal areas by providing a nursery for fish and crustaceans; a home to a great variety of reptile, mammal and bird species; coastal protection from cyclones and tsunamis... more

Crocodile control in Australia

15 January 2013
Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Photo: Stephen Barnett/Flickr - Creative Commons
After two fatal Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) attacks on people in Australia in the last few months, calls have been made to cull the wild population of crocodiles in the Northern Territory. In response, Professor Grahame Webb, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Crocodile Specialist Group has written an opinion piece for "The Conversation" website in which he explains that while culling does have a place in the management of crocodiles it is not a simple solution for reducing crocodile attacks. Exploring the issues surrounding crocodile... more

Pangolin takes top spot

19 December 2012
Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) Photo: Gary Ades
Early in 2012, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ Facebook page was launched. Featuring a new Amazing Species every week and sharing the latest IUCN Red List news, the page is a new way for people to engage with The IUCN Red List. As the year draws to a close we have compiled a list of the five most popular posts. First place goes to a Chinese Pangolin (... more

Guanaco conservation boosted by Rolex Award

18 December 2012
Erika Cuéllar (photo: Rolex Awards/Thierry Grobet)
Erika Cuéllar, co-coordinator of the Bolivian Committee for the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), recently received a Rolex Award for Enterprise. Her project will support the conservation of the Gran Chaco region in South America by training local people with the skills needed to manage this region sustainably. As the founder of two Bolivian non-governmental conservation organizations, Erika is known in Bolivia for her dedication to conservation. She initiated a project that got people living in the Gran Chaco region of Bolivi... more

Kihansi Spray Toad returns to the wild

17 December 2012
Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis) Photo: Tim Herman
Classified as Extinct in the Wild on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, the Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis) is the focus of conservation efforts involving the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Amphibian Specialist Group and the IUCN SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group. Together with a collaboration of a number of partners across the world they are reintroducing the Kihansi Spray Toad  back to its original habitat. Once abundant in a tiny area, a population of around 17,000 ... more

Wildlife Conservation Day highlights action against wildlife crime

11 December 2012
Park rangers with a rhino that has been poached for its horn (Photo: Steve Winter)
In response to growing concern about illegal trade in wildlife, the US Department of State has declared 4 December as Wildlife Conservation Day and is calling for individuals across the world to support threatened species by signing up to a Wildlife Pledge. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) welcomes this initiative given the recent escalation of poaching for a number of species that is compromising decades-long efforts towards the conservation and sustainable use of wild species. Wildlife Conservation Day promotes the conservation and protection of threatened species, sp... more

A sanctuary for Hirola

05 December 2012
Hirola Bull. Photo: Ken Coe.
Ever seen a flying Hirola? The tall distinctive Hirola (Beatragus hunteri) is the world’s most endangered antelope and is the only existing member of its genus. It is also, quite possibly, the only one to have flown by helicopter. This SOS - Save Our Species funded project working with the Northern Rangeland Trust (NRT) aims to stabilise the population by creating a predator free sanctuary for a stock of 48 Hirola to facilitate breeding. Helicopter transport was the bes... more

Study raises concern over international trade in python skins

02 December 2012
The study raises concern over the international trade in python skins. Photo: IUCN Boa and Python Specialist Group (BPSG)
A new study finds that close to half a million python skins are reported as exported annually from South-East Asia. The main importer is the European fashion and leather industry. The study raises concerns over the illegality in parts of the trade, animal welfare issues and the trade’s impact on the conservation of python populations. The report, Trade in South-East Asian Python Skins, was launched today by the International Trade Centre (ITC), in co-operation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and TRAFFIC, a joint programme of IUCN and WWF. It rev... more

Penguin Rehabilitation

26 November 2012
Oiled African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) waiting to be washed. Photo: Francois Louw SANCCOB
How do you rehabilitate hundreds of oiled penguins to release back into the wild?   It only takes an hour to wash and rinse an oily African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), but it takes nearly four weeks to rehabilitate the bird for release back into the wild. The five-stage process developed by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) begins with search and recovery. But successful rehabilitation and release depends on dedicated trained personnel with plenty of energy, rubber gloves, soapy-water and most importantly the expertise and knowledg... more

Answering the SOS call from the wild: dolphins, rhinos, tigers and others to benefit from more funding

22 November 2012
Dugong (Dugong dugon): the focus of one of 25 new SOS-funded projects. Photo: Christian Schlamann
Gland, Switzerland, 22 November 2012 – Flagship species conservation initiative Save Our Species (SOS) is expanding its work with US$ 2.5 million funding for 25 new projects. Dolphins, dugongs, manatees, gibbons, rhinos, tigers and many other lesser known yet similarly threatened species such as river turtles, Asian crocodiles, flying foxes, myriad freshwater fish and plant species are going to benefit from what will be the second round of species conservation projects within the SOS initiative – a global coalition initiated by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature),... more

IUCN supports Cook Islands to create the world's largest marine park

21 November 2012
Mitiaro, Southern Cook Islands. Photo: Kelvin Passfield
Gland, Switzerland, 15 November 2012 – IUCN has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of the Cook Islands to support the establishment of the world’s largest marine protected area – the Cook Islands Marine Park. The park will contribute to conserving the region’s marine biodiversity, boosting local economic growth and preserving the health of the ocean globally. “This is a landmark decision and should be treated as an example to follow by countries around the world,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of IUCN’s Global Marine a... more

Hillary Clinton speaks out on wildlife trafficking

21 November 2012
Animal skins for sale in a market. Photo: Sue Mainka
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has spoken out about the threat from wildlife trafficking, describing it as a global issue requiring a concerted global response. “Wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world,” she recently told a packed meeting at the US Department of State. "We need to address wildlife trafficking with partnerships as robust as the criminal networks we seek to dismantle. We need governments, civil society, businesses, scientists and activists to educate people about wildlife trafficking.&rdquo... more

Putting Polar Bears on the agenda

21 November 2012
Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus). Photo: James Watson
A special meeting of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Polar Bear Specialist Group took place 24–28 October 2012 in Oslo, Norway with the purpose of discussing how the group can best address and respond to the many issues currently affecting polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and their conservation. At the meeting, the group reinforced its role and commitment to providing the most rigorous and thorough science on polar bears, including policy and management decisions. As a result, they revised the guidelines of the group; updated the mission, objectives and membersh... more

Goal scored for armadillo conservation

21 November 2012
Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus). Photo: Joares May
It’s official! The Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus) is the mascot of the 2014 FIFA World Cup which will take place in Brazil. This poorly known species, which is found only in Brazil, is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. It was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1988 in a handful of locations. The Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo is quite unique as when threatened, it rolls up into an almost impenetrable ball with its ears tucked... more

New head of IUCN Science and Knowledge Management announced

30 October 2012
Dr Thomas Brooks (Photo: IUCN)
IUCN is pleased to announce that Dr Thomas Brooks will be joining the Secretariat as Head – Science and Knowledge Management in the Global Policy and Programme Group in January 2013. Dr Brooks comes to IUCN from NatureServe in the US where he has served since 2010 as Vice-President for Science and Chief Scientist. Prior to NatureServe, he worked for The Nature Conservancy in the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies in the University of Arkansas, and then for 11 years at the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International, latterly as Vice President. Dr Brooks is al... more

More highlights from the latest IUCN Red List update

30 October 2012
Adenomus kandianus (Photo: L. J. Mendis Wickramasinghe)
In the most recent update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, there were both new additions and changes to the status of species already listed. Good news included the rediscovery of two frog species and the downlisting of a number of species due to conservation efforts. However, of the 65,518 species on The IUCN Red List, 20,219 are assessed as “threatened”. Rediscovered Species The Sri Lankan toad species Adenomus kandianus was until recently known only from one late 19th Century recor... more

Grand Cayman Blue Iguana takes step back from extinction

30 October 2012
A male Grand Cayman Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) at his peak. Photo: John Binns
The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) has taken a formal step back from extinction this year. The announcement comes with the latest update to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, which was released in India this week by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In 2002, there were only about 10 to 25 Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas in the wild and as a result it was listed as Critically Endangered on The IUCN Red List. Today, due to the conservation efforts of the Blue Iguana Recover... more

UN Biodiversity talks move forward but nature needs more

29 October 2012
Anjona, 13, lost her home to the rising sea in the Sunderbans, India (Photo: Krishnendu Bose)
Hyderabad, India, 20 October 2012 – Despite good progress towards achieving the 2020 targets to halt the loss of biodiversity, efforts to conserve nature must be urgently scaled up if we want to meet the 2020 deadline to save all life on earth - says IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The UN Biodiversity talks closing today in Hyderabad, India, saw an overall consensus on the urgent need for more and better managed funds to reach the targets but countries have failed to agree on the exact amount needed to ensure their successful implementation. “The lack of agree... more

Largest salmon in the world edges toward extinction

19 October 2012
A large Siberian Taimen (Hucho taimen) in Russia. Photo: Misha Skopets
An international team of scientists have released assessment reports on the precarious status of a group of Asian salmon, taimen, which are recognized as the largest species of salmon in the world. The reports conclude that all species of taimen are now listed as threatened or Data Deficient on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, and point to a host of ongoing and emerging threats, including habitat loss and over- harvest. The reports warn that if key conservation actions are not taken, the species will be steadily pushed toward extinction. Five species of taimen exist in Asia, and... more

Madagascar’s palms near extinction

17 October 2012
Majestic Palm (Ravenea rivularis) Photo: H. Beentje/RBG Kew
Eighty three percent of Madagascar’s palms are threatened with extinction, putting the livelihoods of local people at risk – according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ released today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The update brings the total number of species listed on The IUCN Red List to 65,518, of which 20,219 are threatened with extinction. The assessment of Madagascar’s palms was carried out by the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Palm Specialist Group, as part of an ongoing assessment of all palms... more

Into the deep unknown – scientists unveil the secrets of our seas

16 October 2012
Hammerhead sharks migrate to warmer waters in winter to breed and to cooler waters in summer, often tracking migratory fish. Photo: Jeremy Stafford Deitsch
Hyderabad, India, 15 October 2012 – New facts about marine life enable scientists to locate some of the ocean’s most ecologically and biologically significant areas (EBSAs), in the planet’s most remote places. At the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Hyderabad, India, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) calls on the international community to protect them. This is the first time the world ocean, including its international waters, comes under scientific scrutiny, combining new facts about the distribution, migra... more

Primates in peril – conservationists reveal the world’s 25 most endangered primates

16 October 2012
Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) DRC. Photo: Conservation International Stephen Nash
Hyderabad, India - The world’s 25 most endangered primates have been revealed in a new report released today at the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity COP11. Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2012–2014 has been compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the International Primatological Society (IPS), in collaboration with Conservation International (CI) and the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF). Mankind’s closest living relatives – the world’s apes, monke... more

New deal to tackle invasive species

15 October 2012
Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity; Jane Smart, Global Director IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group; and Piero Genovesi, Chair of the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group sign the agreement. (Photo: Piero Genovesi)
A new agreement signed this week has pledged the support of the IUCN SSC (Species Survival Commission) Invasive Species Specialist Group to help combat invasive alien species that are threatening ecosystems and livelihoods. As governments and scientists gather in Hyderabad, India, to discuss solutions to the world’s current biodiversity crisis, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed at the launch of the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership. The initiative is chaired by Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and... more

CBD COP 11 underway in Hyderabad : Aichi Biodiversity Targets 2020 gets center stage

15 October 2012
Inauguration of the 11th meeting of Parties, Hyderabad India (Photo: Sameer Singh/IUCN)
The Convention on Biological Diversity, 11th meeting of Conference of the Parties (CBD COP 11) got underway at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad, India. An estimated 5000 delegates from all over the globe have congregated at the CBD COP 11 venue in this historic Indian city to find solutions to the most pressing issues facing biodiversity conservation.  Mr. Hoshino Kazuaki - representative of the Ministry of Environment, Japan and Mr. Ryu Matsumoto - former minister for Environment declared the opening of the CoP11 and handed over the presidency to Ms. Jayanthi Natar... more

Amphibian conservationist recognized by Whitley Award

09 October 2012
Carlos Vásquez Almazán receives the Whitley Fund for Nature Award from HRH The Princess Royal at the Royal Geographical Society, London, May 9th, 2012. Photo: James Finlay
Carlos Vásquez Almazán, a member of the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, received a 2012 Whitley Award in May 2012 in recognition of his outstanding amphibian conservation works in Guatemala. Carlos is the Curator of Herpetology at the National University of San Carlos’s Museum of Natural History in Guatemala and Coordinator of the Amphibian Conservation Programme at the Foundation for Eco-development and Conservation (FUNDAECO), an NGO —and longstanding IUCN Member— dedicated to protecting Guatemala’s wildlife. “I am very pleased with t... more

Spoon-billed sandpiper “headstarting” success

09 October 2012
Spoon-billed sandpiper headstarting (Photo: Anastasia Sestnova)
With only about 100 breeding pairs remaining in the wild, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) is in crisis. To help save this species from extinction, SOS – Save Our Species - are financially supporting an innovative conservation project to boost the numbers of juvenile Spoon-billed Sandpipers at their summer breeding grounds in Chukotka, Russia.   Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) an IUCN Member, working in partnership with M... more

Taking on the invaders

08 October 2012
In Ethiopia, parthenium has invaded more than 2 million ha. of grazing and cropland to the detriment of biodiversity, agriculture and human health. This weed is now present in Kenya, including the world renowned Masasi-Mara, where it may, if not managed, threaten the annual wildlife migration. (Photo: Arne Witt)
With invasive alien species posing a major threat to native biodiversity, progress in tackling the problem is among the topics at the UN biodiversity conference that starts 8 October. Shyama Pagad, Programme Officer with IUCN’s Invasive Species Specialist Group, explains the ‘invasives’ problem, what’s being done about it and how she got involved. Invasive species are organisms that have been transported from their native environment, accidentally or intentionally, to a new environment, where they can have devastating impacts on native species and habitats. In many... more

New hope for boas and pythons

02 October 2012
Green tree python (Morelia viridis) Photo: Simmeri Shutterstock
"There is so much to do to protect pythons and boas,” says Tomás Waller, Chair of the new IUCN Species Survival Commission Specialist Group dedicated to these species. Here he talks about their threats and what needs to be done to ensure a future for these iconic reptiles.  Love them or hate them, snakes play an important ecological role but face a host of threats. Habitat loss, hunting for the pet and skin trade, or for medicine and food; invasive species; climate change; and they themselves being invasive species, are some of the problems that boas and pythons face ever... more

Securing the future for sawfishes

01 October 2012
Narrowsnout Sawfish (Pristis zijsron) Photo: Andy Murch
There was a time when so many sawfishes were caught in areas of Pakistan that people made fences with the rostrums, the saw-like beak of the sawfish. Today, however, some people in the region might catch a sawfish just once or twice a year. Earlier this month at the IUCN 2012 World Conservation Congress, the Shark Specialist Group of IUCN's Species Survival Commission (SSC) took the opportunity to promote sawfish conservation and build awareness with people who may be able to help stop sawfishes disappearing from our waters forever. One person had not even realized that sawfishes were... more

World Leaders Dialogue-Saving nature, why bother?

23 September 2012
Saving nature, why bother? What Sir Richard Branson thinks...
Saving nature, why bother? This was the theme of the last World Leaders Dialogue, which closed the Forum, leading into the next segment of the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress, the IUCN’s Members Assembly.
  • Are we overestimating the importance of conserving biological diversity?
  • What does biodiversity mean for development?
  • Who is responsible for conserving nature?
  • Can development happen without nature?
  • Can we live without nature? The Dialogue was moderated by
  • ... more

    IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group website launched

    21 September 2012
    Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla). Photo: Gary Ades
    The IUCN SSC recently re-formed Pangolin Specialist Group has launched a new website devoted to pangolin conservation and research. Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are insect-eating mammals found in Asia and Africa. They are predominantly nocturnal and are elusive and secretive. There are eight pangolin species and all are protected under national and international laws. Two species, the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) and ... more

    Stewart McPherson receives new Plant Conservation Award

    13 September 2012
    Stewart McPherson and Nepenthes palawanensis
Photo © Stewart McPherson
    The first recipient of the David Given Award for Excellence in Plant Conservation is Stewart McPherson, a member of the IUCN SSC Carnivorous Plant Specialist Group. Stewart is a passionate and dedicated field scientist, photographer, and writer. His efforts have resulted in an outstanding body of information useful to conservation of carnivorous plants both in situ and ex situ.   Stewart has climbed more than 200 mountains around the world to systematically document, study, and photograph rare, threatened, and little-known carnivorous plant species, identifying more than... more

    The voice of the Dugong heard at the Congress

    13 September 2012
    Dugong 
Photo © Save the Dugong Campaign Center
    Over the past few days, the Congress has been buzzing with protests by people voicing concerns over human impacts on habitats and species.  A group from Japan called Save the Dugong Campaign Centre (SDCC) are here sharing their experience on the conservation of dugongs in Okinawa, Japan amidst plans by the Japanese government to construct a US military base in Henoko and Oura Bay, important habitat of the Okinawa dugongs. The Dugong is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - its population... more

    New tool to fight wildlife crime unveiled

    12 September 2012
    Malayan tiger cub
Photo © Julie Larsen Maher
    JEJU, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, 12 SEPTEMBER, 2012 – SMART, the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool, the design and implementation of which is supported by SOS, was unveiled at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. SMART is a high-tech tool created to help park and community rangers combat an increasingly sophisticated syndicate of poachers devastating wildlife populations worldwide.   Developed by global conservation organizations in close collaboration with protected area authorities and other key stakeholders, SMART’s open-source, non-proprietary software and training materials e... more

    IUCN and Microsoft form unique partnership to tackle species extinction

    11 September 2012
    When Love is in the Air, courtship behaviour of Indian Bull Frogs in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo © Fahim Hassan
    Microsoft and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, jointly announced today at the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress in South Korea, the formation of a new partnership to further strengthen the information available on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This collaboration sees Microsoft becoming the first corporate member of The IUCN Red List Partnership.   “The IUCN Red List is the starting point for conservation action. Many species have been saved from extinction through conservation programmes based on sound science,” says Dr. Jane Smart... more

    The 100 most threatened species. Are they priceless or worthless?

    11 September 2012
    Tarzan's Chameleon (Calumma tarzan) Photo © Frank Glaw
    Tarzan’s Chameleon, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Pygmy Three-toed Sloth have all topped a new list of the species closest to extinction released today by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. For the first time ever, more than 8,000 scientists from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) have come together to identify 100 of the most threatened animals, plants and fungi on the planet. But conservationists fear they’ll be allowed to die out because none of these species provide humans with obvious benefits. "Th... more

    Raising the Voice for Vulture Conservation

    01 September 2012
    Long-billed Vulture (Gyps indicus) chick (photo © Chris Bowden)
    In celebration of International Vulture Awareness Day on Saturday 1 September, Ananya Mukherjee, Vulture Safe Zone coordinator at the RSPB explains how advocacy and awareness raising is helping to save vultures through an SOS supported project. As the most efficient and natural incinerator of dead animal remains, vultures play a vital role in ecosystem services, cleaning the environment of rotting carcasses and helping to prevent the spread of disease. However, in the South Asian subcontinent, three Gyps vulture species remain Critically Endangered, as a result of the use of the diclofenac drug... more

    Spineless creatures that rule the world

    31 August 2012
    Tortoise beetle (Photo: www.neloy.in)
    One-fifth of the world’s invertebrates may be threatened with extinction according to ‘Spineless,’ a report published today by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), in conjunction with IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and the IUCN Species Survival Commission.   Digging up earthworms, chasing butterflies and collecting clam shells could become a thing of the past if enough isn’t done to protect invertebrates. And if they disappear, humans could soon follow. These critters form the basis of many of the essential benefits that nature provides: ea... more

    About the World Conservation Congress

    30 August 2012
    About the IUCN Congress
    The IUCN World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest and most important conservation event. Held every four years, it aims to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development. The 2012 World Conservation Congress will be held from 6 to 15 September 2012 in Jeju, Republic of Korea. Leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and social organizations will discuss, debate and decide solutions for the world’s most pressing environment and development issues. The Congress starts with a Fo... more

    Progressing towards a Net Positive Impact on biodiversity

    29 August 2012
    Black and white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata). Photo: The Dancing Star Foundation
    A new report by IUCN and Rio Tinto provides the first detailed site based assessment regarding Rio Tinto’s progress towards achieving its Net positive impact (NPI) commitment on biodiversity – that is ensuring that biodiversity ultimately benefits as a result of a company’s activities in a region. Forecasting the path towards a Net Positive Impact on biodiversity for Rio Tinto QMM focuses on the Rio Tinto ilmenite mine in Madagascar, run by QIT Madagascar Minerals (Rio Tinto QMM). This site was chosen as a pilot site to test the tools designed to achieved and quantify NPI on b... more

    Knowledge drives action

    28 August 2012
    Woman preparing maize. Annapurna, Nepal (Photo: Georgina Peard)
    The ground-breaking work of IUCN’s six commissions is highlighted in the latest issue of the journal S.A.P.I.EN.S. Set up as “networks of expert volunteers entrusted to develop and advance the institutional knowledge, experience and objectives of IUCN”, the Commissions enable IUCN to link to cutting-edge science to advance knowledge and learning. SAPIENS (Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment and Society), is a peer-reviewed, open access, multidisciplinary journal focused on integrating knowledge to promote sustainability research. This special issue shows how knowl... more

    Freshwater species in Indo-Burma region under threat

    23 August 2012
    Brotia armata, a species from central Thailand (Photo: Andreas Helmenstein)
    An assessment of 2,515 described freshwater species in the Indo-Burma region by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and partners has revealed that 13% of these species are threatened with extinction. The report comes at a time when large scale hydrological development is underway, or is proposed, throughout this region which is known for its exceptionally high diversity of freshwater species. This IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ assessment details the locations and status of all described species of freshwater fish, molluscs, odonates, crabs, and selected famili... more

    Esri International User Conference

    22 August 2012
    Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN and Jack Dangermond, ESRI (Photo: Ackbar Joolia)
    IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Director-General Julia Marton-Lefèvre gave a keynote presentation at the Esri User Conference held in July 2012 in San Diego, California. Attended by 15,000 people from 130 countries, this conference showcased innovative applications and the power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In her keynote speech, Julia Marton-Lefèvre discussed the importance of geographic science in understanding the world’s threatened species. Cutting-edge GIS technology provided by Esri has already helped IUCN capture distribution informat... more

    Gold medalists of the natural world

    27 July 2012
    Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). Photo: IUCN Photo Library-Sue Mainka
    Running, jumping and diving is on everyone’s mind these days as the London 2012 Olympic Games kick off and the world watches the best human athletes compete. But humans aren’t the only ones that display incredible feats of athleticism–today IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) offers up the gold medalists of the animal kingdom. These animal athletes, some of which are listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, are the fastest sprinters, the highest jumpers and the most graceful gymnasts in the natural world. Beginning with the... more

    Protecting more than just the cute and cuddly

    24 July 2012
    Alexine with three baby peccaries. Photo: Dr Alexine Keuroghlian
    Continuing our series of Conservation Heroes blogs are Resit Akçakaya, Dr Alexine Keuroghlian and Grahame Webb, whose work focuses on aspects of conservation that are not normally considered to involve cute and cuddly species. In her blog, Dr Alexine Keuroghlian, a member of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Peccary Specialist Group, describes her work to protect the White-lipped Peccary in Brazil where this species is not consid... more

    Latest IUCN Red List assessment finds parrotfish and surgeonfish facing heightened risk of localized extinction

    23 July 2012
    Bleeker's Parrotfish (Chlorurus bleekeri) Photo: Robert Myers
    A recent study conducted for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ found that 86% of the populations of parrotfish and surgeonfish face a low risk of extinction globally, but they do face a heightened risk of extinction regionally—especially in areas like the Coral Triangle. These results were published this week in the journal PLoS ONE. Of the species considered threatened, the Greenback Parrotfish (Scarus trispinosus) listed as Endangered, and the Bumphead Parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum), listed as Vulnerable, are both large-bodied, long-lived species that... more

    IUCN Director General to Speak at Esri International User Conference

    18 July 2012
    IUCN logo. Photo: IUCN
    Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director general of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, will speak at the Esri International User Conference (Esri UC) in San Diego, California, on July 23, 2012. Esri is the largest developer of geographic information system (GIS) technologies in the world. Distinguished in the global conservation community for her commitment to the sustainable management of natural resources, Marton-Lefèvre will talk about how IUCN champions the idea of valuing and conserving nature a... more

    First ever spoon-billed sandpiper chicks hatch in the UK

    18 July 2012
    24 hour old Spoon-billed Sandpiper chick. Photo: Paul Marshall WWT
    Fourteen Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpipers were hatched in captivity last week after precious eggs were rushed thousands of miles from Arctic Russia to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Slimbridge Wetland Centre in the UK. This operation is part of an SOS - Save Our Species supported project implemented by IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature) member, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT). These chicks, only the second flock ever to be born in captivity, are part of an urgent conservation breeding project supported by SOS and other conservation organisations across the worl... more

    Sea turtle conservation in French Guiana

    18 July 2012
    Leatherback turtle swimming amongst fish. Photo: Guy Marcovaldi/IUCN
    Located within the unique Amazon ecosystems of French Guiana is Awala-Yalimapo beach, the most important nesting site for endangered Leatherback turtles and an essential habitat for Green and Olive Ridley turtles. An evaluation of the recovery plan for these turtles has recently been conducted to assess its effectiveness and to account for the progress that has been made since its implementation over the last five years. Although the complete results of the evaluation are still pending, it is clear that the combined efforts of multiple actors including police services, local authorities, fisher... more

    Innovative insurance scheme saves snow leopards

    17 July 2012
    Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) Photo: Shafqat Hussain
    In the rocky Himalayan Mountains of Baltistan, of northern Pakistan, the elusive and beautiful snow leopard (Panthera uncial) is in a battle for survival. Listed as Critically Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, numbers of snow leopards are dropping due to hunting and the trade of their skin and bones. But that is not the only reason they are killed. Farmers, who are heavily dependent on their animals for their livelihood, occasionally kill snow leopards in retaliation when their herds are attacked. To discourage these types of killings and to ensure that poor... more

    Pakistan's national animal makes a come-back

    17 July 2012
    Male markhor and kid © Grahm Jones/Columbus Zoo. Photo: Grahm Jones
    The SOS-Save our Species-supported project implemented by IUCN Member the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, is proud to report a remarkable rebound in the markhor population. These results are largely due to conservation efforts focused on strengthening local institutions. Community surveys led by WCS in the Kargah region in Northern Pakistan indicate a markhor population of roughly 300 individuals (up from 40-50 in 1991). These surveys suggest that the population in all of Gilgit-Baltistan may now be as high as 1,500 animals. This is a significant imp... more

    Baby born at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary

    02 July 2012
    Andatu; the first Sumatran Rhino born in captivity in Indonesia. Photo: International Rhino Foundation/S.Ellis
    The birth of a Sumatran Rhino in Indonesia, just a few weeks after the start of The International Year of the Rhino, has given extra hope for the conservation of this threatened species. Born on Saturday 23 June at Indonesia’s Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, Andatu is the first Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) to be born in captivity in Indonesia and only the fifth born in captivity worldwide. Listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, this breeding success is a significant event in the conservation of the Sumatran Rh... more

    Lonesome George, a farewell from a friend

    26 June 2012
    Anders Rhodin with Lonesome George in 1982 at the Charles Darwin Research Station (Photo: Anders G.J. Rhodin)
    When I saw the news yesterday I was overcome with sadness and spent a great deal of time thinking about Lonesome George and all he had meant to both me personally and to the world of species conservation in general, says Anders G.J. Rhodin, M.D., Chairman Emeritus, IUCN Species Survival Commission's (SSC) Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. My first thought was that it was as if I had lost a personal friend or close and dear relative--someone who had become very special to me and about whom I thought often. I met him in 1982 when Peter Pritchard introduced me to him at th... more

    Experts report highest elephant poaching and ivory smuggling rates in a decade

    22 June 2012
    Ivory. Photo: CITES
    Elephant poaching levels are the worst in a decade and recorded ivory seizures are at their highest levels since 1989, according to a report published today by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The findings, largely based on information submitted by governments, will be presented and discussed at the 62nd meeting of the CITES Standing Committee to be held in Geneva from 23 to 27 July 2012. The report analyses data from the CITES programme on Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), IUCN’s data on the status of elephant... more

    Securing the web of life

    19 June 2012
    King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) Photo: Bosse Jonsson
    The source of our food, medicines and clean water, as well the livelihoods of millions of people may be at risk with the rapid decline of the world’s animal, plant and fungi species. The latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, released today on the eve of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, shows that of the 63,837 species assessed, 19,817 are threatened with extinction, including 41% of amphibians, 33% of reef building corals, 25% of mammals, 13% of birds, and 30% of conifers. The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of t... more

    'Rhino under threat’ film premiere in Rio

    19 June 2012
    Black rhino (Diceros bicornis) Photo: IUCN / Jeffrey McNeely
    The United Nations TV (UNTV), and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) launched today at Rio + 20 the film Rhino under threat. From the massive parks in South Africa and Swaziland, to the crowded streets of Hanoi in Viet Nam, the film shows the brutality of the current spike in illegal killing of rhino and the impact it is having on local communities. The film investigates what is driving the demand for rhino horn in Asia and the powerful measures being taken by national authorities to fight this crime. UNTV obtained excl... more

    A Triumph for Species in the 2012 Rolex Awards Laureate Selection

    14 June 2012
    Sergei Bereznuk, a Russian conservationist and ecologist, is committed to saving the Amur tiger. Photo: Rolex Awards/Mark Latzel
    The 2012 Rolex Awards for Enterprise, announced yesterday at the Science Museum in London, UK, recognize pioneers whose work contributes to protecting the environment, or improving lives. Three of the 2012 Laureates, Sergei Bereznuk, Barbara Block and Erika Cuéllar have won Awards for projects devoted to saving species. Over the past year, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has been working with Rolex to promote the Rolex Awards for Enterprise on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ website. “It is greatly rewarding to see our efforts to promote the... more

    IUCN Red Listing for Mediterranean seagrasses

    14 June 2012
    Mediterranean Seagrass Workshop, Essaouira, 1 June 2012 (photo: Maria del Mar Otero)
    At present, five of the 59 species of seagrasses assessed at global level are at a high threat of extinction. IUCN organised an IUCN Red Listing workshop on 1 June in Essaouira during the Mediterranean Seagrass Workshop organised by the Ecole supérieure de technologie Essaouira and the polydisciplinary faculty Safi Université Cadi Ayyad (Morocco) and supported by the Mediterranean Seagrass Association – Seagrass 2000. The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria are the most widely accepted system for classifying the extinction risk at the species level. The assessmen... more

    Threat to the Amazon’s birds is greater than ever

    07 June 2012
    Hoary throated Spinetail (Synallaxis kollari) Photo: Mikael Bauer
    The risk of extinction has increased substantially for nearly 100 species of Amazonian birds, reveals the 2012 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ update for birds released today by BirdLife International. The new assessment is based on models projecting the extent and pattern of deforestation across the Amazon. Of particular concern are species with longer life spans, such as Rio Branco Antbird (Cercomacra carbonaria), for which even moderate rates of deforestation can be important. Some species, such as Hoary-throated Spinetail (Synallaxis kollari), appear likely to l... more

    2012 marks the start of The International Year of the Rhino

    07 June 2012
    Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) Photo: Lowveld Rhino Trust, Zimbabwe
    Increasing alarm for the fate of the two rarest rhinoceros species, and growing concern over the increased illegal hunting of rhinos and demand for rhino horn affecting all five species, has prompted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia to declare 5 June 2012 as the start of the International Year of the Rhino. President Yudhoyono took this step at the request of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and other conservation organisations, because the future survival of both the Javan and Sumatran Rhinos depends on effective conservation action in Indonesia. The governm... more

    Securing a safe future for sawfishes

    06 June 2012
    Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata) caught, tagged and released by the shark lab at Bimini field station (The Bahamas) on 5 May 2012. Photo: Emily Marcus
    Shark and ray experts from around the world gathered last week at the Zoological Society of London to address the plight of the most threatened marine fishes in the world – the sawfishes. The group, convened by the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Shark Specialist Group, is breaking new ground with the development of a focused global action plan to bring these iconic species back from the brink of extinction. Once found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world, all species of sawfish are now listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of T... more

    Project supported by IUCN wins Equator Prize

    06 June 2012
    Schisandra fruit is sustainably harvested by the project (Photo: TRAFFIC)
    An initiative developed between IUCN, TRAFFIC and WWF as part of the EU-China Biodiversity Programme (ECBP) to promote the sustainable harvesting of wild medicinal plants has been awarded the prestigious Equator Prize 2012. The initiative which has had positive results for both the conservation of wildlife and the livelihoods of people in the upper Yangtze River area of China, provides training in the implementation of organic wild crop harvesting principles and certification procedures, as well as application of the FairWild Standard principles. The FairWild standards, designed to allow sustai... more

    Full force of the law needed to save stricken dugongs

    25 May 2012
    Dugong feeding on seagrass. Photo: John Smallwood - dreamdiversltd.co.uk
    Law enforcement is key to saving one of the world’s most threatened marine mammals - the Dugong (Dugong dugon) - and a project funded by SOS - Save Our Species is on the case in Mozambique. The Dugong is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - its population has declined by 30% in the last six decades. Applying the correct penalties for illegal fishing is crucial for reducing the entanglement of dugongs in gill nets - one of the major threats to this shy species... more

    The hidden wonders of marine biodiversity

    25 May 2012
    Barreleye fish (Macropinna microstoma) Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
    Marine biodiversity is the theme of this year’s International Day for Biodiversity - 22 May. Oceans cover about 70% of our planet’s surface area and there are an estimated 250,000 marine species. Although about 40% of people live within 100km of the coast, there are many marine species that people have never heard of and most never see. Unique adaptations allow marine species to live in places that humans couldn’t, and while some of these adaptations are cool, some are just plain weird. Living in the icy Southern ocean where the water is between -2°C and 4°C, ther... more

    Saola still a mystery 20 years after its spectacular debut

    21 May 2012
    Female Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), Lak Xao, Bolikhamxay Province, Laos, 1996. Photo: William Robichaud
    Two decades after the sensational discovery of a new ungulate species called the Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), this rare animal remains as mysterious and elusive as ever. The Saola Working Group (SWG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) warn that the species is sliding towards extinction because of intensive hunting pressure and poor reserve management.  

    A cousin of cattle but resembling an antelope in appearance, the Saola was discovered in 1992 by a joint team from Vietnam’s Ministry of Forestry and... more

    New online elephant database launched

    21 May 2012
    African Elephant (Loxodonta africana). Photo: Alicia Wirz
    ElephantDatabase.org, a joint project of the IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group (AfESG) and Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG), is a new site where the latest information from elephant surveys across Africa and Asia is easily accessible. Clear, colourful and easy to understand maps show where African and Asian elephants are known to occur and where they might also possibly occur. Those who want more detailed information about African and Asian elephant distribution and abundance can also explore historical data, including those in previous African Elephant Status Reports and curren... more

    Oil pipeline may threaten newly discovered glass frog species

    15 May 2012
    Warty glassfrog (Centrolene heloderma) Photo: Jaime Garcia
    A newly discovered population of the Critically Endangered glassfrog species Centrolene heloderma is only located meters away from one of the two major oil pipelines of Ecuador, the OCP (Heavy Crude Oilpipe). For safety reasons, constant cutting and clearing is required around the pipeline; this job is performed by personnel from Reserva Las Gralarias to ensure that the habitat of C. heloderma is not altered. The SOS-funded project aims at improving the critical habitat of 9 specie... more

    IUCN bat expert wins prestigious conservation award

    12 May 2012
    Rodrigo Medellin receives the Whitley Fund for Nature Gold Award from HRH The Princess Royal at the Royal Geographical Society, London, May 9th, 2012 (Photo: James Finlay)
    Many congratulations to Rodrigo Medellín, co-chair of the IUCN SSC Bat Specialist Group, who has been awarded the 2012 Whitely Gold Award, donated by The Friends of Whitley Fund for Nature, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to conservation. Rodrigo received his award from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) during a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society, London, on 9th May, 2012. For the first time, the Whitley Gold Award has been presented to a previous Whitely Award winner in recognition of Rodrigo’s continued conservation efforts to prote... more

    Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day

    12 May 2012
    World Migratory Bird Day (photo: World Migratory Bird Day)
    May 12th – 13th 2012 is World Migratory Bird Day. This year’s theme is ‘Migratory birds and people - together through time’ and people all over the world will be celebrating migratory birds and the special relationship humans share with them. Humans have a long relationship with birds, using them as food, for sending messages and as symbols of power or prestige. Migratory birds connect continents, cultures and people as they display amazing endurance as their long distance journeys.   ... more

    SOS - Save Our Species: New call for proposals open!

    11 May 2012
    Adult Francois' Langur (photo: Xu-Jianming)
    The second SOS Call for Proposals has just opened. Non-governmental organisations (including IUCN members), community groups, and other civil society organisations are welcome to apply for an SOS grant for one of the following Strategic Directions: Threatened tropical terrestrial Asian vertebrates Threatened small marine mammals Threatened cycads Threatened freshwater African animals SOS - Save Our Species is a joint initiative of IUCN, the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank supported by Nokia and the Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM). I... more

    Conservation success for Mexican bat species

    11 May 2012
    Rodrigo Medellín in Peru (photo: Rodrigo Medellín)
    Since the age of 12, Rodrigo Medellín has had a passion for bats and other animals. As bats lack widespread appeal he promotes them through research and strong conservation education programmes with his team, and tries to make people aware of their value. In recognition of this dedication, Rodrigo won a Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2008, allowing him and his team to do more to protect bats in Mexico. Bats have vital roles in healthy ecosystems pollinating flowers, dispersing seeds and eating insect pests. Unfortunately there is a common misconception that these animals are disease-carry... more

    Biological invasions: a growing threat to biodiversity

    10 May 2012
    IUCN Expert on invasive species, Dr. Geoffrey Howard, monitors the growth of invasive water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) at the edge of Lake Tanganyika in Burundi. Photo: IUCN / Geoffrey Howard
    Biological invasions: a growing threat to biodiversity, human health and food security. Policy recommendations for the Rio+20 process drafted by IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group and IUCN's Invasive Species Initiative.

    Planet Under Pressure 2012 was the largest gathering of global change scientists leading up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) with a total of 3,018 delegates at the conference venue and over 3,500 that attended virtually via live webstreaming. The first ... more

    Most Pacific species still unknown

    10 May 2012
    Medinilla matasawalevu - a newly discovered plant in Kadavu, Fiji Islands. (photo: Marika Tuiwawa)
    The Pacific is blessed with amazing ecosystems and species diversity, but scientists say that there is still not enough known about species from this region to adequately inform conservation efforts for them.  The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species contains global assessments for 4907 species from the Pacific Islands. This figure is actually very small and represents only about 5% of the estimated number of known species for the region. Of this portion of species assessed by the Red List, many are listed as ‘Data Deficient’, meaning that there is simply not enough information... more

    Asian vultures fly back from brink of extinction

    27 April 2012
    Slender-billed Vulture (Gyps tenuirostris). Photo: Allan Michaud
    Once described as possibly the most abundant large bird of prey in the world, the Critically Endangered White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) has suffered a population decline of more than 99.9% in just 15 years. According to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, 10 of the world’s 23 vulture species are threatened with extinction, with the most rapid declines occurring in Asia. As scavengers, vultures have an important ecological role and these population declines have serious consequences for humans and the environment. Between 1992 and 2007, a large-scale decline in... more

    Top global platform on biodiversity and its benefits established

    27 April 2012
    Photo: Steve Maier
    After several years of international negotiations, the final operational design of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was agreed upon during the Second Plenary Session to build IPBES held in Panama City, Panama, from 16-21 April 2012. “Biodiversity won!” says Professor Sir Robert Watson, Chair of the meeting, Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). “Over 90 governments... more

    Innovation for conservation success

    23 April 2012
    Robert Lacy with Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti). Photo: Jim Schulz - Chicago Zoological Society
    Continuing our Conservation Heroes blog series is Robert Lacy who recently received the George Rabb Award for Conservation Innovation. Read Robert’s blog here where he reflects on his contribution to species conservation and shares his most memorable wildlife experiences.... more

    Sockeye Salmon Populations at Risk

    18 April 2012
    Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) Photo: Barrie Kovish
    The extinction risk to populations of Sockeye or Red Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is the focus of a PLoS ONE paper that was published today. The species’ global status is Least Concern on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, but there is growing concern about the status of individual wild populations, particularly in the southern portion of the species’ range in North America. Salmon are a cultural and biological keystone of life throughout the Pacific Rim and play a unique role in linking freshwater and marine ecosystems. The paper includes a description of chang... more

    Conservation Heroes Recognized by IUCN Species Survival Commission

    18 April 2012
    Dr Randall Reeves, one of the recipients of a SSC award (Photo: Dr Randall Reeves)
    Two groups and 24 individuals were recognized for their outstanding contribution to conservation at the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Chairs Meeting held in Abu Dhabi this February. The four award categories; The Harry Messel Award for Conservation Leadership, The George Rabb Award for Conservation Innovation, The Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit and the SSC Chair’s Citation of Excellence were presented to members of the Species Survival Commission who have demonstrated excellent leadership or involvement in on-the-ground species conservation. These committed conservati... more

    IUCN SSC takes on scaly anteaters

    09 April 2012
    Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) Photo: Daniel W.S. Challender
    Is it a cat? Is it a bear? Or, is it a crazy looking reptile? No, in fact, it's a pangolin! Unless you’ve seen a pangolin, otherwise known as a scaly anteater, you’re unlikely to know what these strange looking creatures are, or much about them. However, a new IUCN SSC (International Union for the Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission) specialist group has just been established with the aim of understanding more about these creatures, their threats and how they can be conserved.
     
    Pangolins, which are found in Africa and Asia, are unique among mammals.... more

    Communities rewarded as conservation ambassadors

    09 April 2012
    Golden Mantella Frog (photo: Madagasikara Voakajy)
    Newly created community-based organizations were rewarded for their efforts to protect the Critically Endangered Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) during a festival attended by government representatives and members of the local population. The event was held in the town of Moramanga in the Moramanga District in Madagascar. Each of Madagascar’s 97 districts has its own emblematic species. The Golden Mantella frog is endemic to the Moramanga district and, not surprisingly, is also its emblematic species. These frogs need both healthy rainforests and clean freshwater ponds to t... more

    Cameroon elephant poaching crisis spreads

    08 April 2012
    One of the hundreds of elephants poached this year in northern Cameroon (photo: © WWF/Bouba N’Djida Safari Lodge)
    Just weeks after a military offensive against elephant poachers in Bouba N’Djida National Park in the north of Cameroon, 12 suspected poachers have been arrested and 14 elephant tusks confiscated close to protected areas in the southeast of the country.  Read full story Related links:
  • TRAFFIC
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    Save Our Species funds Mangrove Finch project on Galapagos Islands

    07 April 2012
    Mangrove Finch (photo: Charles Darwin Foundation)
    Swen Lorenz, Chief Executive of the Charles Darwin Foundation, an IUCN member organization, visited IUCN HQs in order to sign a grant agreement with SOS - Save Our Species to protect the Mangrove Finch (Camarhynchus heliobates) which is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Mangrove Finch is the rarest of the 13 species of Darwin Finches with an estimated remaining population of 100 individuals found only in two locations on the Galapagos Islands. The limited distribution of the Mangrove Finch makes it more susceptible to threats such... more

    Nature in need: Half of world’s most important nature sites left unprotected

    23 March 2012
    Liben Lark (Heteromirafra sidamoensis) Photo © Greg Davis
    The world’s governments have committed to increasing the coverage of protected areas by 2020 to address rapid rates of environmental destruction, however, a new study led by BirdLife International, with contributions from IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), shows that only half of the most important sites for wildlife have been fully protected. These findings highlight an urgent need for improved targeting of new and expanded protected areas in order to protect the planet’s wildlife. “Protected areas are a cornerstone of conservation efforts, and co... more

    Spring flowers in bloom

    23 March 2012
    Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) Photo © R. Wilford
    Spring is in the air - flowers are beginning to bloom, snow is melting, plants are turning green, and Easter is around the corner. While many people are concerned with what floral arrangement to put on the dinner table, very few are aware that many European wild flowers are threatened with extinction, according to the European Red List of Vascular Plants, a project carried out by IUCN, financed by the European Commission. The Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is one of the first arrivals of spring, symbolizing a new start after winter. Native to many European countries and introduced... more

    World Water Forum: nature takes centre stage

    14 March 2012
    Cambodia (photo: Taco Anema / IUCN)
    Natural ‘infrastructure’ such as river basins, forests, lakes and wetlands, plays a key role in addressing today’s global water needs and must be an integral part of every country’s water management portfolio, says IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) at the World Water Forum starting in Marseille on Monday 12 March.

     With burgeoning populations, growing economies and a changing climate, universal access to water and sanitation is one of the key challenges of the 21st century. In Marseille, politicians, water managers, the private secto... more

    Worrying declines for world’s seabirds

    09 March 2012
    Campbell Island Albatross (Thalassarche impavida) Photo: Ben Lascelles
    The status of the world’s seabirds has deteriorated rapidly over recent decades and several species and populations are now perilously close to extinction, according to a new review by BirdLife International, a partner of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Across the globe, commercial fisheries pose the most serious threat to seabirds.

    The review reveals that seabirds are now more threatened than any other group of birds. Of the 346 seabird species, 97 (28%) are globally threatened, and a further 10% are listed as Near Threatened. Almost half of all seabird speci... more

    France joins 'Save Our Species'

    09 March 2012
    FFEM Logo (photo: FFEM)
    The quest to protect globally threatened species has taken a large leap forward today with the announcement of the French Global Environment Facility’s (FGEF) commitment to support SOS (Save Our Species) with a € 1 million grant. SOS, a global coalition initiated by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank, will use the new funding to protect the diversity of life on the planet through on-the-ground field conservation work. “If we do nothing to stop the decline of species we will not only lose many plants and an... more

    Sale of Elephant Meat Increases Threat to Elephants in Central Africa

    08 March 2012
    African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) Photo: Alicia Wirz
    Elephant meat in Central Africa has an earning potential that could exceed that of ivory according to a new report by the IUCN SSC African Elephant Specialist Group and the CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme. To prevent a future increase in elephant poaching, consumer demand for elephant products must be reduced and law enforcement efforts should be focused on those who commission and fund the elephant hunting parties.   An investigation into the dynamics, scale and impact of the trade in elephant meat in four Congo Basin countries has revealed that the dema... more

    Twelve percent of marine species in tropical eastern Pacific threatened

    24 February 2012
    Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) Photo: Rod Mast
    Twelve percent of marine species surveyed in the Gulf of California, the coasts of Panama and Costa Rica and the five offshore oceanic islands and archipelagos in the tropical eastern Pacific are threatened with extinction, according to a study by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and its partners. Main threats to the region’s marine flora and fauna include over-fishing, habitat loss and increasing impacts from the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

    Released this week, the study is the first IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ assessment available for al... more

    Follow The IUCN Red List on Facebook and Twitter

    22 February 2012
    Help promote species conservation and keep up with all the latest news from The IUCN Red List by following us on Facebook and Twitter! You will be among the first to know about IUCN Red List updates and you will never miss the latest Amazing Species! There will also be updates from the IUCN Species Programme and its worldwide network of species experts including news about on-the-ground conservation projects and new discoveries! . ... more

    Green Turtle nesting boom in Philippines

    22 February 2012
    Juvenile Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas). Photo: Andre Seale
    A turtle baby boom on the Baguan Island of Turtle Islands in the Philippines has produced a record 1.4 million eggs according to Conservation International (CI) Philippines citing figures from the Department of Environment and Resources (DENR). In 2011, a total of 14,220 Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nests were counted on Baguan Island, the highest number since recording at the site began in 1984. This adds up to over 1.44 million eggs which will provide a huge boost to the population of the Green Turtle which is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. &... more

    Body pop for polar bears! IUCN Member launches 'Creative Climate Change Challenge' for young people

    22 February 2012
    Wildscreen's Creative Climate Change Challenge (photo: Wildscreen)
    Wildlife charity Wildscreen, an IUCN Member, has launched a creative communications competition to raise awareness amongst young people about animals and plants affected by climate change.

    Whether it’s body popping for polar bears, rapping for ringed seals or painting for penguins, Wildscreen is encouraging young people to get creative and inspire friends and family to do their bit and act on climate change. Youngsters are asked to choose a climate change mascot, whether it be the polar bear, koala or emperor penguin, and let their creativity run wild! They can paint, draw, s... more

    Love you for life: Monogamous species celebrate Valentine’s Day

    12 February 2012
    White-cheeked gibbons (Nomascus leucogenys). Photo: Benjamin Radzun/flickr
    What do gibbons, swans, wolves, French Angelfish, and albatrosses have in common? This Valentine’s Day they will all be celebrating with their life-long partners—these species are some of the few creatures that mate for life. Gibbons: Love is in the air for these tree-dwelling primates, but for the Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) there are greater concerns than finding the perfect mate. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Western Hoolock Gibbon is listed as Endangered, as there is reason to believe the species has declined by at least 50% over the past... more

    Big boost for wildlife conservation: 23 new SOS projects

    09 February 2012
    Mother cub snow leopard (photo: John Stahl)
    Top wildlife experts from around the world have allocated $US 3.3 million to 23 species conservation projects. Gorillas, cockatoos, and frogs are some of the many threatened species that are receiving a helping hand from SOS (Save Our Species), a global conservation fund initiated by IUCN, the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Drawing on species conservation knowledge accrued over decades by IUCN, for the first call for proposals SOS focused on species groups that were completely assessed on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species™ and alre... more

    UKOTs Online Herbarium

    09 February 2012
    Rostkovia magellanica in the South Georgia. Photo: UKOTs Online Herbarium (2011), published on the internet at http://dps.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/UKOT (07.02.2012)
    The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, an IUCN Member, have launched the UKOTs Online Herbarium. It is a species and specimens database containing plant diversity information for all UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) and geographically related islands.  This virtual herbarium provides easy access to specimen level data that can be viewed and queried as well as links to botanical resources including species checklists. The database currently holds over 17,000 specimen records and 10,000 species names. 

    Funded by the U... more

    New plant discovered in Fiji

    20 January 2012
    The newly discovered flower system (photo: Marika Tuiwawa)
    A new flowering plant belonging to the Medinilla plant group has been discovered in the highlands of Matasawalevu village, on the island of Kadavu in Fiji. The plant was found during a biodiversity assessment of the Nakasaleka district carried out as part of IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative (WANI). There are around 193 known species of Medinilla, occurring in Madagascar, Africa, South Asia and the Pacific Islands. Of the 193 species, 11 can only be found in Fiji. One of them is the Tagimoucia flower, Medinilla waterhousei, the floral emblem of Fiji. IUCN&rsquo... more

    Hope in a hotspot – on a mission to save frogs in Colombia

    18 January 2012
    Andean Poison Frog (Photo: Robin Moore, CI)
    In Colombia, work is under way to save a group of species whose fate is intimately linked with our own. Amphibians—frogs, toads, salamanders and the lesser-known caecilians —are the most threatened of all vertebrates. Over 6,200 species have been identified; of those 41% are at risk of extinction and almost half are in decline. Their disappearance would have dramatic consequences for species that share the same ecosystems -including people. Medical marvels The permeable skin of amphibians makes them susceptible to changes in the environment, but also arms them with significant... more

    The IUCN Red List—Nature’s early warning system

    09 January 2012
    Yellow Presba (Syncordulia gracilis). 2008 IUCN Red List status: Vulnerable (photo: Michael Samways)
    How can we save biodiversity if we don’t know the threats facing our species and what the priorities are? The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is going from strength to strength in providing the world with the information needed to guide conservation action from the local to global level. Far more than a list of species and their status, the Red List is a powerful tool providing information on population size and trends, geographic range and habitat needs of species. Through the Red List we can find out if a species is being over-hunted, whether it is considered sacred, or wheth... more

    Endangered whales are crossing the Pacific

    09 January 2012
    Tail fin of Western Gray Whale (photo: Alexander Burdin)
    Two female western gray whales, Agent and Varvara, left the coast of Russia late last year and are now half-way across the Gulf of Alaska. For the second consecutive year, an international team of scientists successfully tagged endangered whales off Sakhalin Island and the team is now tracking the animals via satellite. The western gray whale population is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. The estimated population size in 2010 was about 136 whales, including only around 30 mature females. Little is currently known about the migrati... more

    EAZA-IUCN SSC Southeast Asia campaign launched

    08 January 2012
    Mekong River (photo: International Rivers - Flickr)
    The wildlife of Southeast Asia is beautiful and mysterious but under threat. To help raise awareness and conservation funds for selected threatened animals in Southeast Asia, the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) have teamed up to launch a new campaign. The EAZA-IUCN SSC Southeast Asia campaign was initiated by EAZA in response to findings from IUCN that large animals (over 1kg) in Southeast Asia are at particular risk of decline and extinction due to illegal trade and habitat loss. The c... more

    Out of sight, not out of mind

    08 January 2012
    Pygmy Hippo, Choeropsis liberiensis (photo: Tracy Lee)
    The mysterious life of the Pygmy Hippo in the jungle of West Africa is being uncovered in an SOS-funded conservation project to save the species from extinction. Pygmy Hippos are so secretive that their very existence was regarded as a myth by western zoologists until the mid-1800s. Fewer than 3,000 are believed to survive today, scattered across the forests of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Côte D’Ivoire and Guinea. Numbers have declined through habitat loss and hunting. A forest legend

    Unlike its gregarious larger cousin, the Common Hippo, the Pygmy Hippo doesn’t f... more

    Reindeer: not just for Christmas

    20 December 2011
    Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) "Cairngorm Reindeer" (Photo © Robin McConnell/Flickr)
    Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer may be famous for guiding Santa Claus through the night sky, but reindeer do more than just pull toy-laden sleighs—reindeer are an important food source and serve many ecological functions, yet are also in need of stronger conservation strategies, according to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Reindeer, also known as Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in North America, are members of the deer family and are the only deer species of which both males and females possess antlers. One of the most amazing things about wild reindeer is the s... more

    New mobile app features the amazing world of frogs

    20 December 2011
    Masked Tree Frog (Photo © Robin Moore, CI)
    The first ever IUCN mobile application developed together with Nokia is now available for consumer use, ready to download from the Nokia Store. The free-for-download app is the result of a partnership between Nokia and SOS (Save Our Species), a global species conservation fund to protect threatened species and their habitats. The app, “Fantastic World of Frogs,” is an image gallery of frogs for the Nokia N9 Sma... more

    Saving Nemo: Charisma is not enough

    13 December 2011
    Clown anemone fish (Amphiprion ocellaris). Photo: Natascia Tamburello
    If conservation action is not taken, there may come a time when no one will be able to find Nemo. One in every six species related to characters in the movie Finding Nemo is threatened by extinction, according to a new study by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and Simon Fraser University. A team of marine scientists have analyzed the extinction risk and reviewed successful conservation programmes for Nemo, the charismatic clownfish, as well as more than 1,500 other species related to characters in the 2003 Disney/Pixar animated movie, Finding Nemo. The study revealed that w... more

    New IUCN Red List map browser: visualize and explore

    08 December 2011
    New IUCN Red List map browser
    The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website has a brand new feature designed to facilitate the  exploration and visualization of species distribution ranges. This new ‘map browser’ allows Red List users to understand species’ distribution with the help of underlying imagery, both terrestrial and marine. Over 30,000 species maps can be explored in the browser, including all comprehensively assessed groups (such as amphibians, mammals, birds and several marine groups including corals, sharks and many others), as well as several freshwater groups.

    You can... more

    New research for Mediterranean canyons and cetaceans

    07 December 2011
    Olivier Laroussinie, Agence française des Aires Marines Protégées et Antonio Troya, UICN-Med le 25 novembre 2011 (Photo: Alain Jeudy)
    Conservation leading organisations join forces to improve field research on key marine habitats and species in the Mediterranean. On 19 May 2011 in Marseille (France), the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), the French Agency of Marine Protected Areas and the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS) have signed an agreement to bring together their scientific and technical knowledge, but also to put together the necessary technical and financi... more

    SOS boosts wild tiger conservation

    06 December 2011
    Amur Tiger Cub and Mother in Snow (Photo: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS)
    On-the-ground efforts to save the tiger have been given a major boost from SOS (Save Our Species) — a global conservation fund implemented by IUCN, the World Bank and GEF (Global Environment Facility) — the project will improve enforcement effectiveness in protecting and recovering tiger breeding populations and therefore addressing the biggest threat to wild ti... more

    Red means Act! – Launch event at the European Commission

    06 December 2011
    Red means Act! (Photo: IUCN/Chantal van Ham)
    “I am proud to support the development of the European Red List of Species. Excellent work!” With these words EU Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik addressed a red crowd gathered for the launch of the European Red List on 21 November at the Berlaymont building in Brussels. To show their commitment to biodiversity participants were asked to wear something red. The situation which many European species face today calls for more action to protect and conserve our precious natural heritage – so fundamental for our own survival and well-being. The latest data of the E... more

    European Environment: alarming decline in plants, molluscs and freshwater fish

    22 November 2011
    Beta patula, a close wild relative of cultivated beets. Photo © ISOPlexis GeneBank, Madeira University
    Europe's natural heritage is showing an alarming decline, according to new research published today. The European Red List, a part of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, assessed a considerable portion of Europe’s native fauna and flora, finding that a large proportion of molluscs, freshwater fish and vascular plants now fall into a threatened category. The assessment of some 6,000 species reveals that 44% of all freshwater molluscs, 37% of freshwater fish, 23% of amphibians, 20% of a selection of terrestrial molluscs, 19% of reptiles, 15% of mammals and of dragonflies, 13% of... more

    The battle for survival goes mobile

    17 November 2011
    Survival – an threatened species game for iOS and Android (Photo: ARKive)
    UK wildlife charity and IUCN Red List Partner, Wildscreen, has released a new threatened species gaming app to inspire the conservationists of tomorrow. Designed to to spark children's curiosity for the natural world and raise awareness amongst young people about the world’s most threatened animals, ‘Survival’ is packed full of stunning wildlife imagery and fascinating facts about the threatened species. Did you know, for example, that the blue whale has a heart the size of car? Or that polar bear skin is actually black? These and other intriguing facts await discovery in this... more

    Species on the Edge app is launched

    16 November 2011
    Species on the Edge app for iPad and iPhone (Photo: Harper Collins)
    Acclaimed by the US Apple Store as ‘New and Noteworthy’, the new Species on the Edge app is a detailed guide to 365 species from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Featuring stunning photos and thought-provoking information it allows users to learn about threatened species from around the world. Inspired by the IUCN Red List Species of the Day initiative and the Species on the Edge book, this app features 365 profiles of plants, animals and fungi from the IUCN Red List. Each profile has a description of the species along with its conservation status, geographic... more

    Another leap towards the Barometer of Life

    10 November 2011
    Southern White Rhino subspecies (Ceratotherium simum simum). Photo © Dr Richard Emslie
    The latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ illustrates the efforts undertaken by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and its partners to expand the number and diversity of species assessed, improving the quality of information in order to obtain a better picture of the state of biodiversity. With now more than 61,900 species reviewed, another big step forward has been made toward developing the IUCN Red List into a true ‘Barometer of Life,’ as called for by leading experts in the magazine Science in 2010.   ... more

    Swooping out of sight: Bats in need of greater protection

    02 November 2011
    Eastern Sucker-footed Bat Myzopoda Aurita, endemic to Madagascar (photo: Paul A. Racey)
    Nocturnal, furry and known for their spooky reputation around Halloween, bats are not only the mysterious mammals that haunt the dark; they are also an important part of nature and in need of greater protection. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, 20% of bats are threatened.
    “Bats are disappearing at an alarming rate, due largely in part to ignorance and a misunderstanding of the benefits they provide,” says Paul A. Racey, Co-Chair IUCN SSC Bat Specialist Group. “We need to build capacity for bat conservation and we must educate young people abou... more

    Action now to save polar bears

    26 October 2011
    Polar Bear (Image © http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkbeltrage)
    A study by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) predicts a dramatic reduction in polar bear habitats over the next 10 to 50 years, due largely to global warming. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species assesses Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) as Vulnerable, with trends that suggest the population is decreasing. Polar Bears rely almost entirely on the marine sea ice environment for their survival, so much so that large scale changes in their habitat will have a devastating impact on the population. “Now is the time to act in order to save the waning polar bear popul... more

    New national Red List highlights species at risk of extinction

    11 October 2011
    Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita), listed as Endangered on the Irish Red List. Photo © Dominic Berridge, NPWS
    Six of Ireland’s 15 native fish species (40%) and one of its three amphibians (33%) have been classified as Threatened on the recently published Red List of Irish Amphibians, Reptiles and Freshwater Fish. The Irish Red List was compiled by scientists from organisations across the island, including Inland Fisheries Ireland, the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the National Biodiversity Data Centre. It provides a comprehensive assessment of Ireland’s native amphibians, reptiles and freshwater fish, identifying those speci... more

    Managing deep-seas fisheries: Challenges and opportunities

    07 October 2011
    Trawler, Hobart harbour, Australia (Photo: Imène Meliane)
    During a meeting held recently at the United Nations in New York, IUCN and The Nature Conservancy provided information on policy recommendations on how to improve the management of deep-sea fisheries and ecosystems. The recommendations were developed following a workshop jointly organized by TNC and IUCN. Whilst acknowledging that considerable progress has been made by States and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) on deep sea fisheries management, including areas closures and the creation of new regional management structures, full implementation of existing agreement... more

    Striking a balance

    07 October 2011
    Conserving the grasslands of northern Kenya for people and wildlife (Photo: Grevy's Zebra Trust)
    There’s a growing realisation that successful conservation comes from involving the people who live with and depend on nature. In northern Kenya, IUCN and partners are helping to secure a future for the endangered Grevy’s zebra and the people who share a land with this iconic species. Grevy’s Zebra (Equus grevyi) is the largest of the three zebra species—distinguished from the more common plains zebra by its large size, narrow stripes and huge fuzzy ears. Once occurring across large tracts of the Horn of Africa, Grevy’s zebra is now confined to the dryland... more

    Experts Identify World’s Most Threatened Sea Turtle Populations

    29 September 2011
    Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) Photo: Gary Rinaldi
    Top sea turtle experts from around the globe have discovered that almost half (45%) of the world’s threatened sea turtle populations are found in the northern Indian Ocean. The study also determined that the most significant threats across all of the threatened populations of sea turtles are fisheries bycatch, accidental catches of sea turtles by fishermen targeting other species, and the direct harvest of turtles or their eggs for food or turtle shell material for commercial use. The recent report, produced by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Marine Turtle Specialist... more

    Collateral damage: Western Ghats freshwater species in peril

    22 September 2011
    Miss Kerala (Puntius denisonii). Photo: Will Darwall
    Freshwater species in the Western Ghats, India, are being sacrificed as collateral damage in the race for rapid economic development. For the first time, comprehensive data are available on the conservation status and distribution of all freshwater fishes, molluscs, dragonflies, damselflies and aquatic plants across peninsular India. Water pollution from agricultural and urban sources, overharvesting and invasive species are the major threats that have led to 16% of freshwater species in the region for which we have sufficient data being classified as threatened with extinction on The IUCN Red... more

    Whales & dolphins need more protected areas

    06 September 2011
    Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises. Photo: E. Hoyt
    A new book, Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises is released, calling for accelerated efforts to conserve marine mammals by protecting a greater area of the ocean. Currently only 1.3% of the ocean is protected but many new Marine Protected Areas are being created. Erich Hoyt, the book’s author and IUCN’s cetacean specialist, examines current and future developments in ocean protection. “At least 300,000 whales and dolphins a year end up dead in fishing nets alone, as so-called by-catch,” says Erich Hoyt, author, member of IUCN’s Species Surviva... more

    Species on the Edge of Survival – The ultimate guide to nature in need

    30 August 2011
    Tiger (Panthera tigris). Photo: Alex Sliwa
    Why is the Javan Rhino one of the world’s most threatened large mammals? What efforts are underway to help conserve the 47 remaining Floreana Mockingbirds of Ecuador? Why is there a dramatic decline in the Globosa Mangrove? You can find answers to these and many more questions in a unique anthology, Species on the Edge of Survival, published by Collins.

    The book, inspired by IUCN’s Species of the Day initiative, features a selection of 365 plants, animals and fungi listed on The IUCN Red... more

    Removing rats, restoring islands

    23 August 2011
    Henderson lorikeet (Photo: Richard Cuthbert, RSPB)
    A unique international project partnership involving IUCN Member organizations, the Royal Society for Protection of Birds, The Nature Conservancy and the US Fish & Wildlife Service is helping to restore a series of islands and seabird habitats in the Pacific by removing alien invasive rats which have wreaked havoc on native biodiversity. Introduced rats prey on seabird eggs and chicks causing severe declines in bird populations. They also compete with native species for food and degrade ecosystems by eating the seeds of native plants. The Research vessel MV Aquila is making a &lsqu... more

    Depletion of the body snatchers: bad news for marine environment

    28 July 2011
    Broadgilled Hagfish (Eptatretus cirrhatus). Photo © Paddy Ryan / Ryan Photographic
    A recent study conducted for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ has determined that 20% of hagfish species are at an elevated risk of extinction*. Scientists warn that this figure could be much higher. The results of this research, carried out in association with Conservation International (CI), indicate that the primary causes of hagfish declines are the direct and indirect effects of fisheries. Hagfish represent an ancient and unique evolutionary lineage; as bottom feeders they play an important role by cleaning the ocean floor and recycling nutrients into the food web which maint... more

    Top scientists rally together in fight against invasive species

    21 July 2011
    Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Photo © Bertolino Sandro
    A flurry of articles in influential scientific journals in recent months has questioned the urgency to address the growing threat to biodiversity from invasive species. The assertion is that the concern with invasive species derives from an unreasonable desire to maintain pristine ecosystems and exclude all alien species. Such criticism is, in fact, unfounded. Conservationists recognize that ecosystems are dynamic, that alien species enter and are introduced into natural communities, and that modified (and even degraded) ecosystems have conservation value. In certain cases, alien species may pr... more

    Increased protection urgently needed for tunas

    08 July 2011
    Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) Photo: OCEANA/Keith Ellenbogen
    For the first time, all species of scombrids (tunas, bonitos, mackerels and Spanish mackerels) and billfishes (swordfish and marlins) have been assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Of the 61 known species, seven are classified in a threatened category, being at serious risk of extinction. Four species are listed as Near Threatened and nearly two-thirds have been placed in the Least Concern category. The results show that the situation is particularly serious for tunas. Five of the eight species of tuna are in the threatened or Near Threatened IUCN Red List Categories. Th... more

    SOS Call for Proposals now open

    27 June 2011
    Photo: SOS
    The first SOS Call for Proposals is now open, accepting Threatened Species and Rapid Action Grants. Deadline for applications is August 12, 2011.  SOS (Save Our Species) is a global coalition initiated by the 3 founding partners IUCN, GEF and World Bank to build the biggest species conservation fund, supporting on-the-ground field conservation projects all over the world. Grants will be allocated according to strategic directions identified in consultation with IUCN`s Species Program and Species Survival Commission. The... more

    A grain of hope in the desert

    16 June 2011
    Arabian Oryx (photo © D. Mallon/Antelope Specialist Group)
    The regal Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx), which was hunted to near extinction, is now facing a more secure future according to the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Its wild population now stands at 1,000 individuals. 

    “To have brought the Arabian Oryx back from the brink of extinction is a major feat and a true conservation success story, one which we hope will be repeated many times over for other threatened species,” says Ms Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Director General of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi. “It is a classic... more

    The fight against invasives

    15 June 2011
    Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) invading a river delta in Burundi. 
Photo: Geoffrey Howard/IUCN
    The words ‘invasive aliens’ tend to conjure up images of little green men flying in from outer space and waging war against Earth. Granted, if this were to occur it would be a rather frightening experience, but the fact is we have a far more serious and immediate issue to tackle: the invasive aliens that are already here. Biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate, with a whole host of factors contributing to the disastrous declines. Habitat destruction is well-documented as being one of the leading causes of species extinctions, but invasive alien species are also to blame... more

    Lifeline for Africa’s freshwater species

    09 June 2011
    Cadiscus aquaticus, Critically Endangered
Photo: Nick Helme
    Africa is being given a unique opportunity to conserve its tremendous diversity of freshwater species – a critical resource for many of Africa’s poorest people. African countries can now decide to use their water resources sustainably, and avoid paying millions of dollars, as is the case in Europe, to rectify poorly planned wetland development. Decision makers across Africa are now able to benefit from an online interactive map, released by IUCN, for each of the 7,079 river and lake sub-catchments across mainland Africa that reveals information on the distribution, conservation and... more

    Big birds lose out in a crowded world

    07 June 2011
    Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps)
Photo: Asad R Rahmani
    One of the world’s largest species of bird is on the brink of extinction according to the 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ for birds, just released by BirdLife International, an IUCN Red List partner.  The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) has been uplisted to Critically Endangered, the highest level of threat. Hunting, disturbance, habitat loss and fragmentation have all conspired to reduce this magnificent species to perhaps as few as 250 individuals. Standing a metre in height and weighing in at nearly 15 kg, the Great Indian Bustard was once widespre... more

    New international report to secure natural riches of North Africa and the Middle East

    01 June 2011
    Important Plant Areas of the south and east Mediterranean region: priority sites for conservation’ (eds E. A. Radford, G. Catullo and B. de Montmollin) Photo: IUCN-Med
    An international conservation project has brought together botanists and scientists from the Middle East and North Africa - Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Syria and Tunisia - in an unprecedented bid to secure the future of the region’s wildlife. A new report published today by IUCN, Plantlife and WWF - Important Plant Areas of the south and east Mediterranean region: Priority sites for conservation - shows that there are more than 200 internationally significant areas for wild plants in the region, rivalling those found... more

    Spectacular Mammal Rediscovered after 113 Years

    01 June 2011
    Red-Crested Tree Rat (photo © Lizzie Noble/ProAves www.proaves.org)
    Washington, D.C. — A unique and mysterious guinea-pig-sized rodent, not seen since 1898 despite several organized searches, bizarrely showed up at the front door of an ecolodge at a nature reserve in Colombia, South America. The magnificent red-crested tree rat (Santamartamys rufodorsalis), stayed for almost two hours while two research volunteers took the first photos ever of a creature the world thought would never be seen again. Read full story (also ... more

    Better knowledge for Mediterranean canyons and cetaceans

    31 May 2011
    Short-beaked Common Dolphins - Endangered (photo © Giovanni Bearzi Tethys)
    Conservation leading organisations join forces to improve field research on key marine habitats and species in the Mediterranean. On 19 May 2011 in Marseille (France), the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), the French Agency of Marine Protected Areas and the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS) have signed an agreement to bring together their scientific and technical knowledge, but also to put together the necessary technical and financi... more

    Laying the foundation for an IUCN Red List of Ecosystems

    17 May 2011
    Relic forest (Photo: Ed Barrow / IUCN)
    Momentum is gathering behind the case for a Red List of Ecosystems which, modeled on the influential IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, is hoped will generate better environmental management. Experts gathered at the Smithsonian Institution recently to develop the scientific basis for the initiative. Examples from Australia, South Africa, the United States and Venezuela of how ecosystems could be listed were discussed and the proposed criteria refined. How to make sure the ecosystems Red List is compatible with the Red List of Threatened Species was a key focus of the discussion. “There... more

    Illegal bear bile trade rampant in Asia

    17 May 2011
    Whole bear gall bladders and pills are the most frequently encountered products (Photo: TRAFFIC Southeast Asia)
    Poaching and illegal trade of bears, driven largely by the demand for bile, used in traditional medicine and folk remedies continues unabated across Asia on a large scale, a new report by TRAFFIC, a joint programme of IUCN and WWF, has found. Bear bile products were found on sale in Traditional Medicine outlets in all but one of the 13 countries/territories surveyed says the report entitled Pills, Powders, Vials & Flakes: The bear bile trade in Asia. The exception is Macao. Products were most frequently observed in mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar and Viet Nam, where they were r... more

    Plenty more fish in the sea? Not for much longer

    05 May 2011
    The Small Red Scorpionfish (Scorpaena notata) on Mediterranean coralligenous assemblage (Photo © Andrea Molinari)
    More than 40 species of marine fish currently found in the Mediterranean could disappear in the next few years. According to a study for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ on the status of marine fish in the Mediterranean Sea, almost half of the species of sharks and rays (cartilaginous fish) and at least 12 species of bony fish are threatened with extinction due to overfishing, marine habitat degradation and pollution. Commercial species like Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus), Dusky Grouper (Epinephelus marginatus), Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) or Hake (<... more

    Following Flex - the western gray whale

    04 May 2011
    Tail fin of Western Gray Whale (photo © Alexander Burdin)
    Meet Flex. Flex belongs to the highly threatened population of western gray whales. He has been tagged by satellite and tracked by scientists in the hope to discover the migration routes of the species and ways to better protect it from threats such as accidental entanglement in fishing gear, underwater noise and exposure to spilled oil. The western gray whale is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. In 2010, its estimated population size was about 136 whales, including only around 30 mature females. Western gray whales fast during the winter, migrat... more

    Sneezing in the rain

    04 May 2011
    Hunting communities displaying the body of the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey, a species new to science (photo © FFI/BANCA)
    Ngwe Lwin - Myanmar

    It may be more common these days to hear doom and gloom stories of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, but exciting discoveries of new species do happen and give heart to conservationists the world over. While discoveries of new invertebrate or fish species may be relatively frequent, it’s not often that a new species of primate is discovered.  Ngwe Lwin, a vigilant young Burmese conservationist, was lucky enough to come across a new species of snub-nosed monkey in the Himalayan Mountains of Myanmar whilst taking part in primate surveys i... more

    Africa’s rhinos face worst poaching crisis in decades

    25 March 2011
    White Rhino, Ceratotherium simum (photo © Lucky Mavrandonis, Black Rhino Monitoring Project sponsored by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation)
    Well-equipped, sophisticated organized crime syndicates have killed more than 800 African rhinos in the past three years - just for their horns. With the most serious poaching upsurge in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, Africa’s top rhino experts recently met in South Africa to assess the status of rhinos across the continent and to identify strategies to combat the poaching crisis. “Although good biological management and anti-poaching efforts have led to modest population gains for both species of African rhino, we are still very concerned about the increasing involvement of orga... more

    Few hopes to save the most threatened bird in the Middle East

    23 March 2011
    Zenobia resting during migration, photographed in the desert of northern Saudi Arabia in February 2011, by the companions of the hunter who shot the Ibis Julia in 2009 (photo © Saudi Wildlife Commission)
    The Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita is listed on the IUCN Red List as a “Critically Endangered” species on a global scale. It was rediscovered on a remote cliff of the Syrian desert in April 2002, following clues from local hunters and Bedouin nomads, in the framework of a UN/DGCS (Italian Development Cooperation) general fauna survey of the area. It suddenly became the rarest and most threatened bird in the Middle East! It is a fascinating bird not only because of the symbolic values attached to it during millennia: it is also the contrast between its wrinkled and ba... more

    The 25 most endangered turtles and tortoises

    04 March 2011
    Pinta Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdoni) (Photo ©: Anders G.J. Rhodin)
    Without concerted conservation action, many of the planet’s turtles and tortoises, iconic survivors from the Age of Dinosaurs, will become extinct within the next few decades. That’s according to a new report from the Turtle Conservation Coalition, a global alliance of conservation groups, including the IUCN Species Survival Commission's Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG), which names the world’s 25 most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles. “Turtles are in serious trouble. They are some of the world’s most endangered vertebrates, more t... more

    Global Search for 'lost' frogs yields few findings, important warnings

    18 February 2011
    Chalazodes Bubble-nest Frog (Raorchestes chalazodes), one of the rediscovered species in the Lost Frogs/Amphibian Campaign (photo © SD Biju)
    Concerns Raised about Species' Future as Unprecedented Search for Threatened Amphibians Finds 15 'Missing' Species — including new Rediscoveries in India & Ecuador — but Falls Short Locating Many More A glimmer of hope, but much cause for concern. Those are the reactions from teams of scientists from around the world that have returned from an unprecedented search for 100 species of "lost" amphibians — frogs, salamanders, and caecilians  that have not been seen in a decade or longer, and may now be extinct.  The Search for Lost Frogs, launched in A... more

    Mystery of Brown Bears in Syria

    18 February 2011
    Syrian Bear tracks (photo © Issam Hajjar)
    Various written accounts and artefacts indicate that the Syrian Bear (Ursus arctos syriacus), a subspecies of the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), once ranged throughout the Middle East, as far south as the Sinai Peninsula. The bears were often viewed as pests or as threats to human safety, and were killed as a result. These killings, combined with the loss of suitable habitat through deforestation and subsequent desertification, led to a marked reduction in the bears’ range. Today, the Syrian Bear still ranges from Turkey to Iran, including the Caucasus Mountains of Russia, Georg... more

    Year of the Rabbit – species hopping out of view?

    12 February 2011
    Pygmy Rabbit (photo © Jim Witham)
    Celebrations begin on Thursday 3 February 2011 to mark the Chinese New Year and the start of the Year of the Rabbit. However, as we enter this new cycle in the Chinese zodiac, conservationists are warning that, in spite of their reputation as prolific breeders, nearly one in four rabbits, hares and pikas - from the order known as lagomorphs - are classified as Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The IUCN SSC (Species Survival Commission) Lagomorph Specialist Group says that habitat loss, overhunting and disease are some of the main threats faced by lagomorphs. ... more

    Rwanda – restoring nature for future prosperity

    12 February 2011
    Gorilla in Volcano National Park, Rwanda (Photo: IUCN Photo Library © Jim Thorsell)
    The Rwandan government’s plans to restore the country’s lost forest lands and boost national development, show real political commitment to deal with ecosystem degradation and its impacts on the rural poor, says IUCN. IUCN urges other countries to recognize the potential of healthy forests for sustainable economic growth. Rwanda has enjoyed relatively strong economic growth recently but it still remains one of the world’s poorest and most densely populated countries with 320 people per square kilometre. Of these 85% make their living from subsistence farming of degraded lands.... more

    Rolex Awards invites applicants with innovative conservation projects

    18 January 2011
    Rolex Awards seek applicants for conservation funding
    Since their initiation in 1976, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise have supported more than 30 environmental projects impacting over 60 species of rare and endangered plants and animals. On many occasions, Rolex Laureates and Associate Laureates have been supported and guided in their work by IUCN. Laureates have in some cases been members of and even led SSC Specialist Groups. The Rolex Awards for Enterprise recognize pioneers whose work contributes broadly to the betterment of humankind and the natural environment; and Rolex provides selected individuals with US$100,000 towards their projects, a... more

    Freshwater species at risk in Eastern Himalaya development surge

    14 January 2011
    Harvesting fish from an agricultural irrigation channel between Taungoo and Mandalay Ayeyarwaddy Division in Myanmar
Photo: Ritva Roesler
    Development of water resources in the Eastern Himalaya region is expanding at a rapid rate and there is a serious lack of information to guide conservation and development planning. This is putting freshwater ecosystems and the species within them at risk, along with the livelihoods and economies of local communities which they support. In a recent study for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ carried out by IUCN and Zoo Outreach Organisation (ZOO), scientists found that 31.3% of the 1,073 freshwater species of fishes, molluscs, dragonflies and damselflies currently known in the East... more

    Mozart and ventriloquial frogs sound a note of hope and warning for Haiti’s recovery

    13 January 2011
    Macaya Burrowing Frog, Eleutherodactylus parapelates. Critically Endangered
Photo: Robin Moore iLCP
    As the people of Haiti mark a painful anniversary this week and slowly rebuild their earthquake-torn country, scientists from Conservation International (CI) and the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) report news they hope might become a source of pride and hope for the country’s environmental future: the surprising re-discovery of six species of globally unique frogs in the country’s severely degraded tropical forests, which had been lost to science for nearly two decades. Inspired by Conservation International’s global search for “lost frogs”, the announc... more

    IUCN welcomes ‘Forests 2011’ - International Year of Forests

    11 January 2011
    The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. Photo: www.un.org/en/events/iyof2011/
    The world’s forests are essential to life in all its diversity and to attaining humanity’s biggest goals such as reducing poverty, curbing climate change and achieving sustainable development. Throughout 2011 IUCN will work towards making sure that forests deliver their maximum potential for human well-being and biodiversity conservation. 'Forests 2011’ will be an international celebration of the central role of people in the management, conservation and sustainable development of our world’s forests,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. &... more

    UN green light for science-policy platform on biodiversity

    11 January 2011
    Whitetip Reef Shark over Palau coral reef (photo © Jerker Tamelander)
    IUCN welcomes the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly to establish a new international body designed to boost the global response to the loss of the world's biodiversity and ecosystems. The new independent body, the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) aims to bridge the gulf between the wealth of scientific knowledge about the accelerating degradation of the natural world and government action needed to reverse it. IPBES is being widely compared to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has helped global understa... more

    Protection for new toad species discovered in Colombia

    10 January 2011
    Chocó harlequin toad (photo © Robin Moore)
    A new species of harlequin toad has been found in Chocó, Colombia during a field project supported by the SOS-Save our Species initiative in which IUCN is a partner. IUCN Member Conservation International leads the project together with its project partner Fundación ProAves who is implementing conservation work on the ground. Protecting and restoring key sites for globally threatened amphibians is the project's main objective. “To find a new species is incredible - and very important”, says project leader Robin Moore of Conservation International, and member... more

    IUCN and Royal Botanic Garden create synergies to conserve biodiversity in Jordan

    06 December 2010
    Royal Botanic Garden. Photo © Royal Botanic Garden
    Creating synergies towards biodiversity conservation in Jordan was the main aim of the partnership between IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Royal Botanic Garden. This partnership was officially announced through a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed recently between both parties to jointly pursue their conservation efforts that promote equitable and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources in Jordan and the West Asia region. IUCN and RBG will work jointly to develop programmes and projects in Jordan, focusing mainly on capacity building activities an... more

    International scientists track endangered whale to discover breeding grounds

    06 December 2010
    Western Gray Whale breaching. Photo © David Weller
    A team of scientists from Russia and the United States has successfully tagged and is tracking by satellite an individual from one of the world’s most endangered whale populations – a western gray whale - off the coast of Russia’s Sakhalin Island. IUCN has been involved in the tagging and tracking process, providing scientific advice and logistical support. There are only about 130 western gray whales left. The species is listed as Critically Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, with perhaps only about 33 mature and reproductively active... more

    Deadline Life – Nagoya defines future for life on earth

    29 October 2010
    Cozumel Emerald Hummingbird. Photo © Roy Toft / International League of Conservation Photographers
    Governments meeting at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP10) have approved a step change for biodiversity: a new Strategic Plan for the next ten years to reduce the current pressures on the planet’s biodiversity and take urgent action to save and restore nature; an agreed new protocol on access and benefit sharing; and have pledged some serious new resources to bring the agreements to life.   The plan consists of 20 targets designed to tackle the extinction crisis and restore the earth’s natural capital. There is also a deal, f... more

    SOS – A new call on businesses to respond to extinction crisis

    29 October 2010
    www.sospecies.org
    The Global Environment Facility, the World Bank, and IUCN today announced they had established the Save Our Species (SOS) initiative with more than $US10 million in financing commitments and called on businesses to help build the biggest global species conservation fund by 2015. The initiative is in response to thousands of animals and plants around the world facing extinction, with species currently disappearing at a rate of up to 1,000 times higher than normal. This loss of wild plants and animals threatens basic human economic security and way of life. Healthy biodiversity is essential to hu... more

    Evolution Lost

    27 October 2010
    Evolution Lost cover
    Status and Trends of the World’s Vertebrates Extinction rates are now fast outpacing speciation rates, resulting in the loss of entire groups of species that have evolved on this planet for millions of years.

    Within the next century we stand to lose what could amount to one quarter of all vertebrates. The report ‘Evolution Lost’ has been produced by ZSL in collaboration with WWF, IUCN and SSC. It considers for the first time the current status and trends of global vertebrates in the context of human pressures, with a particular focus on threatened, novel and evolu... more

    Nature’s Backbone at Risk

    27 October 2010
    Vicuna (Vicugna vicugna) Least Concern. Photo © Chris Gomersal
    The most comprehensive assessment of the world’s vertebrates confirms an extinction crisis with one-fifth of species threatened. However, the situation would be worse were it not for current global conservation efforts, according to a study launched today at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, in Nagoya, Japan.  The study, to be published in the international journal Science, used data for 25,000 species from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, to investigate the status of the world’s vertebrates (mammals, birds, amphib... more

    New study shows over one fifth of the world’s plants are under threat of extinction

    29 September 2010
    The snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is widely naturalised but is listed as Near Threatened due to a reduction in its native distribution in the last decade. Photo © RBG Kew
    Japan in mid-October 2010 to set new targets at the United Nations Biodiversity Summit. Scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Natural History Museum and IUCN Specialist Groups carried out the Sampled Red List Index assessments on a representative sample o... more

    'Lost' frogs found after decades

    21 September 2010
    The Omaniundu Reed Frog was last seen in 1979, until the recent expedition. Photo © Jos Keilgast / CI
    A mission aimed at rediscovering amphibian species thought to be extinct has yielded its first results. Article by Richard Black, Environment correspondent, BBC News Science & Environment Conservationists have turned up live specimens of two West African frogs and a cave-dwelling salamander from Mexico. The salamander was last seen in 1941, and was rediscovered by abseiling into caves deep in the forest. The expeditions are partially designed to bring attention to the plight of amphibians around the world, with a third of species at risk of extinction. "It's pretty extraordinary to thi... more

    Asian ‘Unicorn’ sighted for first time in over ten years

    20 September 2010
    Saola captured by villagers in Laos (photo © Bolikhamxay Provincial Conservation Unit)
    For the first time in more than ten years, there has been a confirmed sighting of one of the rarest and most enigmatic animals in the world, the Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) from the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam. The Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (also known as Laos) has announced that in late August villagers in the central province of Bolikhamxay captured a Saola and brought it back to their village. When news of the Saola's capture reached Lao authorities, the Bolikhamxay Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office immediately sent a technical team,... more

    From government policy to personal choices, we must recognize the value of biodiversity

    10 September 2010
    2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. Photo © Dom Dada; flickr.
    BirdLife International, Cambridge. As the world’s governments prepare to meet in Nagoya, Japan, to set new targets for halting biodiversity loss, authors from BirdLife International are among a group of leading conservation scientists and practitioners calling for a fundamental shift in the way we view biodiversity. In their paper, published today in the journal Science, they argue that conservation of biodiversity is essential for the maintenance of vital ecosystem services, and ultimately for human survival. But they make clear that until governments, businesses and individual people be... more

    Why is biodiversity in crisis?

    03 September 2010
    Biodiversity in crisis
    The escalating extinction crisis shows that the diversity of nature cannot support the current pressure that humanity is placing on the planet. Every day biodiversity is being lost at up to 1,000 times the natural rate. The extinction of individual species, but also habitat destruction, land conversion for agriculture and development, climate change, pollution and the spread of invasive species are only some of the threats responsible for today's crisis. With the current biodiversity loss, we are witnessing the greatest extinction crisis since dinosaurs disappeared from our planet 65 million ye... more

    African freshwater species threatened - livelihoods at stake

    02 September 2010
    Purple Marsh Crab (Afrithelphusa monodosa) © Piotr Naskrecki
    Gland, Switzerland, Thursday 2 September 2010 (IUCN) – Twenty-one per cent of freshwater species in continental Africa are threatened with extinction, putting the livelihoods of millions of people at risk. With so much to lose, inland waters must be managed not just for their supply of freshwater but also to sustain the abundant life within. In the most comprehensive assessment of its kind, 5,167 African freshwater species were evaluated by 200 scientists over a five-year period for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, including all known freshwater fish, molluscs, crabs, drago... more

    Rare water lily species protected by the Royal Thai Government

    11 August 2010
    Water Lily: Crinum thaianum (Photo: IUCN)
    IUCN Thailand has been working for three years to achieve national recognition of the endemic and threatened water lily crinum thaianum. Now, the tireless efforts of the team, led by Thailand Programme Manager Somsak Soonthornnawaphat, have paid off. The species has gone from oblivion to national recognition as among the 10 most rare and endangered plants and animals in Thailand that need protection and funding.

    The Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) recognized the species as an endangered plant that needs better protection. ONEP declared that... more

    Search for lost amphibians

    11 August 2010
    Golden toad, Incilius periglenes (Photo: public domain)
    Teams of scientists around the world have launched an unprecedented search in the hope of rediscovering 100 species of "lost" amphibians – animals considered potentially extinct but that may be holding on in a few remote places – Conservation International and the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group announced today. This search, which is taking place in 14 countries on five continents, is the first ever coordinated effort to find such a large number of "lost" creatures and comes as global amphibian populations are suffering a shocking decline – with more than 3... more

    Biodiversity climbs the corporate agenda

    01 August 2010
    TEEB for Business (Photo: TEEB)
    Business leaders in biodiversity-rich developing economies are concerned about losses of ‘natural capital’, a new report highlights. Over 50 per cent of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) surveyed in Latin America and 45 per cent in Africa see declines in biodiversity as a challenge to business growth. In contrast, less than 20 per cent of their counterparts in western Europe share such concerns. The findings, compiled by a study of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), indicate that those corporate chiefs who fail to make sustainable management of biodiversity part of t... more

    IUCN expanding Red List in Brazil

    01 August 2010
    IUCN and ICMBio sign cooperation deal (Photo: IUCN)
    IUCN and the Instituto Chico Mendes para conservação da biodiversidade (ICMBio) today signed an agreement to build the Brazilian Red List of Threatened Species.   Brazil is a mega-biodiverse country and the status of its species is an important barometer at the global level. ICMBio is the official assessor of species for the Brazilian Ministry of Environment. So far however, Red List data for Brazil does not cover comprehensively all species and does not yield data that could be easily compared internationally. Through this agreement, IUCN will bring training and capacity bui... more

    Russia Tiger habitat gets a boost with protection of key tree species

    29 July 2010
    Russia has put in place measures to prevent illegal logging of Korean Pines (Photo © TRAFFIC)
    Moscow, Russia, 29 July 2010, World Tiger Day — the Russian government has introduced measures to protect the Korean Pine, a key species found in Amur Tiger habitat in the Russian Far East.

    Rising global demand for Korean Pine has led to a massive increase in logging, much of it carried out illegally, in Russia’s remaining temperate forests.

    To help regulate the logging, Russia has listed the Korean Pine in Appendix III of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

    The listing means exports of... more

    Rarest otter discovered in Sabah, Borneo

    28 July 2010
    A hairy-nosed otter recorded again in the Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sabah, Borneo ((Photo © CONCASA)
    The world's rarest otter has been rediscovered in Borneo, after a single individual was photographed by a camera trap set by conservation scientists. The hairy-nosed otter was pictured in the Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sabah. The last confirmed record of the hairy-nosed otter in the state of Sabah was more than 100 years ago, and it has not been seen in Borneo since an individual was killed by a car in 1997. The otter only occurs in a handful of locations outside of Borneo. Experts only realised they had recorded a hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) after examining photos of three diff... more

    World first for vultures facing extinction

    29 June 2010
    Three Indian Vulture chicks have been fledged in captivity for the first time (photo © Chris Bowden; rspb-images.com)
    Globally extinct within 10 years: that has been the worst prediction for three species of vulture which have disappeared from huge swathes of southern Asia. But the latest exciting news from a conservation partnership in India reveals that all three species have now successfully reared young in a captive breeding centre, providing some long-term hope for these three Critically Endangered species, especially as the ultimate aspiration will be to return birds to the wild. Reportedly, before their population crash, Asia's vulture population extended to tens of millions of birds, but now the combin... more

    96% of chimpanzees could be saved by African action plan

    29 June 2010
    Eastern chimpanzee (photo © Andrew Plumptre/Wildlife Conservation Society)
    Ninety-six per cent of known populations of eastern chimpanzees, that’s an estimated 50,000 individuals, could be protected with a new action plan, which puts stamping out illegal hunting and trafficking as key to saving one of man’s closest relatives. The nations of East and Central Africa have developed a 10-year plan to save the eastern chimpanzee from hunting, habitat loss, disease, the capture of infants for the pet trade and other threats, IUCN and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today. “Eastern Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii): Stat... more

    Mass mortality among Saigas in Kazakhstan: 12,000 dead

    28 May 2010
    Female Saiga Antelope. Photo © Navinder Singh.
    Nearly 12,000 Critically Endangered Saiga antelopes have been found dead over the last week in the Ural population in western Kazakhstan.     “This is a tragic and shocking event. It's particularly unfortunate that the population was just emerging from an unusually harsh winter, and that those struck down are mostly females and this year's calves,” said Prof. E.J. Milner-Gulland, Chair of the Saiga Conservation Alliance and a member of IUCN Species Survival Commission Antelope Specialist Group. The official 2009 estimate of the size of the Ural population was 26,000 anima... more

    Wetland aliens cause bird extinction

    28 May 2010
    Alaotra Grebe has been declared Extinct in the 2010 Red List update for birds. Photo © Chris Rose.
    BirdLife International announces today, in an update to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ for birds, the extinction of Alaotra Grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus. Restricted to a tiny area of east Madagascar, this species declined rapidly after carnivorous fish were introduced to the lakes in which it lived. This, along with the use of nylon gill-nets by fisherman which caught and drowned birds, has driven this species into the abyss.   “No hope now remains for this species. It is another example of how human actions can have unforeseen consequences”,... more

    One step forward to halting biodiversity loss?

    28 May 2010
    Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park, Phillipines. Photo © Wikipedia.
    Governments have made “positive moves” towards coming up with a plan to reduce the current loss of biodiversity, which is threatening the future of our planet. Over the past two weeks, delegates at a meeting in Nairobi have been discussing the scientific and technical aspects behind a new “big plan” to save all life on earth, the planet’s biodiversity. Scientists from IUCN, who have been taking part in the discussions, say that they’re encouraged by the commitment shown by governments to develop a new Strategic Plan for the next ten years, which would set tar... more

    Governments to debate planet "bailout"

    11 May 2010
    Cozumel Emerald Hummingbird. Photo: Roy Toft / International League of Conservation Photographers.
    Never has the world faced a more pressing crisis than the current loss of biodiversity, which affects every man, woman and child. The gap between the pressure on our natural resources and governments’ response to the deterioration is widening. IUCN is calling for governments to come up with a “bailout plan,” a 10-year strategy that will help countries halt and reverse this loss. “Twenty-one percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of all known amphibians,12 percent of all known birds, 35 percent of conifers and cycads, 17 percent of sharks and 27 percent of reef-buil... more

    Scientists call for biodiversity barometer

    08 April 2010
    Orange-eyed green tree frog. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rainforest_harley/
    For the first time scientists have put a figure on how much it would cost to learn about the conservation status of millions of species, some of which have yet to be identified. The price tag is US$60 million, according to a team of scientists, including those from IUCN and Conservation International, who presented their case in this week’s Science magazine in an article called “The Barometer of Life.” “Our knowledge about species and extinction rates remains very poor, and this has negative consequences for our environment and economy,” says Simon Stuart,... more

    Mangrove forests in worldwide decline

    08 April 2010
    Mangroves, Vanua Levu, Fiji. Photo © Stuart Chape
    More than one in six mangrove species worldwide are in danger of extinction due to coastal development and other factors, including climate change, logging and agriculture, according to the first-ever global assessment on the conservation status of mangroves for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. As a result, 11 out of 70 mangrove species (16 percent) which were assessed will be placed on the IUCN Red List. The Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Central America, where as many as 40 percent of mangrove species are considered threatened, are particularly affected. Mangroves are vital to... more

    Sturgeon more Critically Endangered than any other group of species

    22 March 2010
    Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser sturio). Photo © Jean Francois Hellio and Nicolas van Ingen (www.hellio-vaningen.fr).
    Eighty five percent of sturgeon, one of the oldest families of fishes in existence, valued around the world for their precious roe, are at risk of extinction, making them the most threatened group of animals on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The latest update of the Red List assessed the status of 18 species of sturgeon from all over Europe and Asia and found that all were threatened.  Twenty seven species of sturgeon are on the IUCN Red List with 63 percent listed as Critically Endangered, the Red List’s highest category of threat. Four species are no... more

    Habitat loss blamed for more species decline

    16 March 2010
    Coenonympha orientalis. Photo © Neil Thompson
    Habitat loss is having a serious impact on Europe’s butterflies, beetles and dragonflies. The release of the European Red List, commissioned by the European Commission, shows that nine percent of butterflies, 11 percent of saproxylic beetles (beetles that depend on decaying wood) and 14 percent of dragonflies are threatened with extinction within Europe. Some species are so threatened that they are at risk of global extinction and are now included in the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. “When talking about threatened species, people tend to think... more

    Year of the Tiger

    23 February 2010
    Year of the Tiger. Photo © Craig Hilton-Taylor.
    2010 is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar, a zodiac sign associated with power, passion and courage, yet these majestic animals remain under threat from human activity. The BBC Wildlife Finder collection of video clips highlights the Tiger's plight while celebrating the beauty and majesty of one of the world's great predators. Note: The video below may not work outside the United Kingdom.   Links: BBC Wildlife Finder Collection: Year of the Tiger ... more

    The Mediterranean Red List On Line

    22 February 2010
    Species richness of threatened endemic freshwater fish in the Mediterranean basin. Photo © IUCN.
    The IUCN Mediterranean Red List programme is pleased to announce a new regional section on the IUCN Red List website, which highlights the outcomes of the Mediterranean Red List initiative. An ongoing process that aims at assessing more than 2000 Mediterranean species according to the IUCN Regional Red Listing Guidelines, the initiative provides information on the conservation status of the fauna and flora of the Mediterranean region, an area considered as a global biodiversity hotspot at both terrestrial and marine levels. Throughout 2010 we will be celebrating biological diversity – the... more

    World's most endangered primates revealed

    22 February 2010
    Female Sclater's Black Lemur. Photo © Nora Schwitzer of Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation.
    Mankind’s closest living relatives – the world’s apes, monkeys, lemurs and other primates – are on the brink of extinction and in need of urgent conservation measures according to Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2008–2010. The report, compiled by 85 experts from across the world, reveals that nearly half of all primate species are now in danger of becoming extinct from destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade and commercial bushmeat hunting. The list includes five primate species from Madagascar, six from Af... more

    Beating back biofuel crop invasions

    17 February 2010
    Calotropis gigantean. Photo © Dinesh Valke
    The risk of biofuel crops becoming invasive and outcompeting native species is increasing as more advanced crops are planted. This can be managed to reduce the impact on local livelihoods and the environment, according to a new report by IUCN. Ways to reduce this risk have received little or no attention until now. The report sets out recommendations for decision makers and biofuel producers to minimize the risk of crops becoming invasive, ranging from assessing potential traits of biofuel species in a given environment to effective controls when biofuel crops are being transported. ... more

    Red List Web site may not be displaying or working correctly in Windows Internet Explorer 8

    25 January 2010
    Internet Explorer 8
    The Red List Web site may not be displaying or working correctly in Windows Internet Explorer 8. This problem does not occur in earlier versions of Internet Explorer, and the Red List Web site continues to be displayed correctly and to work correctly in Windows Internet Explorer 7.

    For example, you may experience any of the following symptoms in Internet Explorer 8: Menus, images, or text are in the wrong positions (often on top of each other). Some Web site features do not work. You receive script error messages on the Web site. Internet Explorer stops working or crashes on t... more

    Impact of nature’s invading aliens measured for first time

    25 January 2010
    House mice kill chicks of the Endangered Atlantic Petrel. Photo © Andrea Angel and Ross Wanless.
    Invasive Alien Species, ranging from disease and plants, to rats and goats, are one of the top three threats to life on this planet, according to a new publication coordinated by the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP), of which IUCN is a partner. Most countries have made international commitments to tackle this threat, but only half have introduced relevant legislation and even fewer are taking adequate action on the ground.
      The publication, “Global indicators of biological invasion: species numbers, biodiversity impact and policy responses”, looked at 57 countri... more

    Celebrate 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, with 'Species of the Day'

    29 December 2009
    IUCN Red List Species of the Day. Photo © K. Pintus.
    The United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). Biodiversity is the backbone of all life on Earth, and its conservation lies at the very core of IUCN’s work. With mounting scientific evidence of a serious extinction crisis, it’s time to take action. “The latest analysis of the IUCN Red List shows the 2010 target to reduce biodiversity loss will not be met,” says Jane Smart, Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group. “It’s time for governments to get serious about saving species and make sure it&rs... more

    Copenhagen climate summit: Copenhagen Accord a step in right direction, but insufficient

    22 December 2009
    Snow cover melting. Photo © IUCN.
    Copenhagen, Denmark, IUCN - World leaders in Copenhagen have taken a first and useful step to slow the course of climate change – a threat that is already affecting people, ecosystems and biodiversity in many parts of the world. A global, legally-binding climate change treaty must be the next step. Although the Copenhagen Accord goes some way to address some of the critical issues that have been on negotiators’ agenda for the past two years, such as a financing package of US$ 100 billion per year by 2020 to assist developing countries to adapt to climate change and to reduce their e... more

    Oji Paper makes landmark commitment to biodiversity conservation in Japan

    15 December 2009
    Sea Run Taimen in the Sarufutsu River. Photo © Wild Salmon Center.
    Tokyo, Japan (Wild Salmon Centre) – Japan's largest paper company and the Wild Salmon Center move to protect one of the country's last wild salmon rivers.   Oji Paper, the largest paper company in Japan, has made a landmark commitment to create a protected area on private timber lands surrounding the Sarufutsu River, one of the last wild and free-flowing rivers in Japan. The protected area will safeguard critical habitat for the endangered sea run taimen, the largest fresh water fish in Japan which can reach up to one meter in length and live over 20 years. "We believe the c... more

    Species on climate change hit list named

    14 December 2009
    Ringed Seal. Photo © Kit M. Kovacs/Christian Lydersen.
    The Arctic Fox, Leatherback Turtle and Koala are among the species destined to be hardest hit by climate change, according to a new IUCN review. The report, Species and Climate Change, focuses on 10 species, including the Beluga Whale, Clownfish, Emperor Penguin, Quiver Tree, Ringed Seal, salmon and staghorn corals, which all highlight the way climate change is adversely affecting marine, terrestrial and freshwater habitats. “Humans are not the only ones whose fate is at stake here in Copenh... more

    Stop our oceans souring

    11 December 2009
    Healthy coral reef in the Philippine's Verde Island Passage. Photo © Sterling Zumbrunn/Conservation International.
    Copenhagen, Denmark – Deep and immediate cuts in emissions are needed to stall ocean acidification and prevent mass extinction of marine species, food insecurity and serious damage to the world economy, according to IUCN. Released today at UNFCCC COP 15 in Copenhagen, ‘Ocean acidification – the facts’ takes stock of the latest science on oceans acidification and spells out the steps that are urgently needed to stop its acceleration. Increased release of CO₂ in the atmosphere is making seawater more acidic and is threatening ecosystems and species precious for our food an... more

    Protected areas - natural solutions to climate change crisis

    10 December 2009
    Green Heron. Photo © Vimukthi Weeratunge.
    Copenhagen, Denmark –  Protected Areas offer a cost effective solution to the impacts of climate change, according to a new book from IUCN, The Nature Conservancy, the United Nations Development Programme, Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Bank and WWF. “This book, Natural Solutions: protected areas helping people cope with climate change, clearly articulates for the first time how protected areas contribute significantly to reducing the impacts of climate change and what’s needed for them to achieve even more,” says Lord Nicholas Stern, who wrote a... more

    Turn the tide - turn to nature: IUCN Opening Statement to UN climate change meeting

    08 December 2009
    DMoore's shrub frog. Photo © Vimukthi-Weeratunga.
    Copenhagen, Denmark, 7 December 2009 (IUCN) - It’s now time for governments to make robust commitments and a timeline towards achieving a post-2012 deal on climate change. IUCN urges leaders meeting at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, 7-18 December, to include nature’s solutions to reduce emissions and cope with climate change impacts in a post-2012 deal.  “Managing nature will play a key role in our ability to cope with the changing climate and reduce emissions,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN. &ldqu... more

    Birds and climate change: indicators of a changing world

    08 December 2009
    Purple Finch is shifting its range northwards. Photo © Ashok Koshla.
    This week, the world's governments are meeting at the United Nation's Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark to attempt to agree action to tackle climate change. The outcomes of this will have resounding consequences for biodiversity. Studies by the BirdLife Partnership show that climate change is already having multiple impacts on birds and their habitats, and is exacerbating many of the factors which have put one in eight of the world's birds at risk of extinction. Many species may have to shift their ranges to survive, and considerably more losers than winners are expected. On... more

    Rhino poaching surges in Asia and Africa

    01 December 2009
    African Black Rhino in Ngorongoro (Photo © IUCN/Richard Emslie)
    Rhino poaching worldwide is on the rise, according to a new report by TRAFFIC and IUCN. The trade is being driven by Asian demand for horns and is made worse by increasingly sophisticated poachers, who now are using veterinary drugs, poison, cross bows and high caliber weapons to kill rhinos, the report states. Since 2006 the majority (95 percent) of the poaching in Africa has occurred in Zimbabwe and South Africa, according to new data. “These two nations collectively form the epicentre of an unrelenting poaching crisis in southern Africa,” said Tom Milliken of TRAFFIC. T... more

    North Pacific Albatrosses added to ACAP

    06 November 2009
    Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis has been added to Annex 1 of ACAP. Photo © Matt Knoth / Flickr.
    The Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) have added the three North Pacific species of albatross, Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus, Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis and Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes to Annex 1 of the Agreement. ACAP is a legally binding international treaty which requires signatory governments to take action to reduce albatross and petrel bycatch in fisheries, and to protect breeding colonies. Annex 1, which lists the species cover... more

    Extinction crisis continues apace

    03 November 2009
    Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis) Extinct in the Wild. Photo © Tim Herman.
    The latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ shows that 17,291 species out of the 47,677 assessed species are threatened with extinction. The results confirm that 21% of all known mammals, 30% of all known amphibians, 12 per cent of all known birds and 32% of all known gymnosperms (conifers and cycads) are threatened with extinction. Results for other species-groups that have not yet been comprehensively assessed such as freshwater fishes and dragonflies, indicate similar high levels of threat. “The scientific evidence of a serious extinction crisis is mounting,... more

    Leopards still hanging on in Yemen

    02 November 2009
    Arabian Leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) 2008 IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered. Photo © Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah.
    Two field trips were made to Yemen to look for signs of remaining Arabian leopards, to train local scientists, and to develop a national leopard survey strategy. Yemen is a key site for conservation of the Arabian leopard because it contains a large part of the species’ former range. The main obstacle to an effective conservation programme is the lack of information on its current status. December 2007 saw the launch of a collaborative project between the IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, University of Sana’a, Environmental Protection Agency in Yemen and the Breeding Centre for Endange... more

    Our Planet Reviewed

    02 November 2009
    Madagascar baobabs
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmontesi/66753981/
    On the eve of 2010, International Year of Biodiversity, the National Museum of Natural History and Pro-Natura International are working in partnership with IUCN to launch “Our Planet Reviewed”, an unprecedented programme of naturalist expeditions. The expeditions will span ten years to conduct a massive inventory of biodiversity in geographical areas which, up until now, have been little explored. The objective is to accelerate the scientific discovery of new species, by focusing our efforts on the regions of the planet which are considered a priority in terms of nature conservation... more

    Dragonflies go thirsty in the Mediterranean

    02 October 2009
    The Banded Darter (Sympetrum pedemontanum) Photo &copy; Fabio Pupin
    One fifth of Mediterranean dragonflies and damselflies are threatened with extinction at the regional level as a result of increasing freshwater scarcity, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Climate change and habitat degradation, due to the way land is managed, are also affecting the insects, says the report. The assessment of 163 Mediterranean dragonflies and damselflies shows five are Critically Endangered, 13 are Endangered, another 13 are Vulnerable, 27 are Near Threatened, 96 are Least Concern and six are Data Deficient, meaning there is not enough information to... more

    Last chance to save Saola from extinction - IUCN

    03 September 2009
    The only live adult Saola ever seen by the outside world. (photo &copy W. Robichaud/WCS)
    One of the world’s most enigmatic mammals, the Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), could be on the brink of extinction, according to a group of experts who held an emergency meeting in Lao PDR to try to save the animal. The Saola, which was only discovered to world science in 1992, resembles the desert antelopes of Arabia, but is more closely related to wild cattle. It lives in the remote valleys of the Annamite Mountains, along the border of Lao PDR and Vietnam. “We are at a point in history when we still have a small but rapidly closing window of opportunity to conserve thi... more

    Deadly frog fungus targeted by amphibian experts

    26 August 2009
    Golden Mantella (Photo &copy; Jean-Christophe Vié)
    The world’s leading amphibian experts have come together and for the first time identified two major conservation initiatives to stop amphibians going extinct. A new coalition of organizations, the Amphibian Survival Alliance, will be set up to focus on containing the spread of the amphibian chytrid fungus and protecting habitats which are home to amphibians that occur nowhere else in the world. Amphibians are the most threatened group of animals in the world, with one in three of the 6,000 recognized amphibian species at risk of extinction. Link: ... more

    Recovery plan for Philippine Crocodiles

    24 August 2009
    Philippine crocodile being released into Dicatian Lake Photo &copy; Merlijn van Weerd
    On 31 July 2009, 50 captive-bred Philippine Crocodiles were released into the wild in Dicatian Lake, Barangay Dicatian, Municipality of Divilacan, Isabela Province, Luzon Island. The Philippine Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis), which is endemic to the Philippines, is one of the most severely threatened crocodile species in the World. Listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, the total population surviving in the wild is estimated at only 100 mature individuals found only in northern Luzon and southwest Mindanao. Philippine Crocodiles are relativ... more

    Toothless laws fail toothless anteaters

    14 July 2009
    Malayan Pangolin (Manis javanica) photo © Bjorn Olesen
    Rising demand for pangolins, mostly from mainland China, compounded by lax laws is wiping out the unique toothless anteaters from their native habitats in Southeast Asia, according to a group of leading pangolin experts. Illegal trade in Asian pangolin meat and scales has caused the scaly anteaters to disappear from large swathes of Cambodia, Viet Nam and Lao PDR, concluded a panel of experts whose findings were announced today by the wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, a joint programme between IUCN and WWF. “China has a long history of consuming pangolin as meat and in tradition... more

    Poaching crisis as rhino horn demand booms in Asia

    09 July 2009
    African Black Rhino in Ngorongoro (Photo © IUCN/Richard Emslie)
    Geneva, Switzerland (IUCN/WWF/TRAFFIC) – Rhino poaching worldwide is poised to hit a 15-year-high driven by Asian demand for horns, according to new research. Poachers in Africa and Asia are killing an ever increasing number of rhinos—an estimated two to three a week in some areas—to meet a growing demand for horns believed in some countries to have medicinal value, according to a briefing to a key international wildlife trade body by WWF, IUCN and their affiliated wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC. An estimated three rhinos were illegally killed each month in all of A... more

    Wildlife crisis worse than economic crisis – IUCN

    02 July 2009
    Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) (photo © Joe Zammit Lucia)
    Life on Earth is under serious threat, despite the commitment by world leaders to reverse the trend, according to a detailed analysis of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The IUCN analysis, which is published every four years, comes just before the deadline governments set themselves to evaluate how successful they were in achieving the 2010 target to reduce biodiversity loss. The IUCN report, Wildlife in a Changing World, shows the 2010 target will not be met. "When governments take action to reduce biodiversity loss there are some conservation successes, but we are still a... more

    Third of open ocean sharks threatened with extinction

    25 June 2009
    Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) (photo © Steven Campana)
    The first study to determine the global conservation status of 64 species of open ocean (pelagic) sharks and rays reveals that 32 percent are threatened with extinction, primarily due to overfishing, according to the IUCN Shark Specialist Group. The percentage of open ocean shark species threatened with extinction is higher for the sharks taken in high-seas fisheries (52 percent), than for the group as a whole. "Despite mounting threats, sharks remain virtually unprotected on the high seas," says Sonja Fordham, Deputy Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Policy Director for th... more

    Wader populations decline faster than ever

    04 June 2009
    Ruff (Photo © Flickr / Silvanin De Munck)
    According to a new publication by Wetlands International, more than half the populations of waders in Europe, West Asia and Africa are declining at an accelerating rate. Waders are a group of relatively small waterbirds including species like lapwings, plovers, godwits, curlews and sandpipers. Many of them undertake long distance migrations from their Arctic breeding grounds to wintering areas as far away as southern Africa. Some concentrate in huge numbers at just a few sites, making these wetlands critical for their survival. The new 'Wader Atlas' is the first comprehensive overview of key si... more

    International Biodiversity Day sounds the alarm on invasive species

    22 May 2009
    Alien Invasive Water Hyacinth (Photo © IUCN)
    International Biodiversity Day, celebrated each year on May 22, pays tribute to the global importance of biodiversity, both as an asset for posterity and a vital resource for people and their livelihoods. This year, International Biodiversity Day focuses on alien invasive species as major threats to biodiversity. Biological invasions are the result of species that are introduced to a new ecosystem in which they are not indigenous. They often cause great harm to their new environments. These invasions are high on the list of current threats to biodiversity, ecosystems, species and the protected... more

    Europe's amphibians and reptiles under threat - IUCN

    21 May 2009
    Tenerife Speckled Lizard (Photo © Philippe Geniez)
    One fifth of Europe's reptiles and nearly a quarter of its amphibians are threatened, according to new studies carried out by IUCN for the European Commission. The studies, released on International Biodiversity Day, are the first European Red Lists for amphibians and reptiles, and reveal alarming population trends. More than half of all European amphibians (59 percent) and 42 percent of reptiles are in decline, which means that amphibians and reptiles are even more at risk than European mammals and birds. For 23 percent of amphibians and 21 percent of reptiles the situation is so severe that t... more

    World's smallest pigs 'thriving'

    08 May 2009
    Pygmy Hog (Porcula salvania). Photo © Roland Seitre
    Conservationists report that the world's smallest and rarest pigs are "thriving" following their release into the wild last year. Camera-trap footage and surveys suggest that the captive-bred pygmy hogs have adapted well to their new home in the grasslands of Assam in India. The team now plans to reintroduce more of the little pigs to this habitat. In 1996, conservationists began a captive-breeding programme in a bid to boost the pigs' numbers, and in May 2008, 16 of these pygmy hogs (seven males and nine females) were released into the Sonai Rupai wildlife sanctuary. Professor Fa, di... more

    Stop all oil and gas activities that could harm Western Gray Whales, says panel

    26 April 2009
    Western Gray Whale and ship (Photo © Dave Weller)
    An independent panel of scientists has recommended a moratorium on all activities by oil and gas companies in eastern Russia that could adversely affect the Western Gray Whale population. The Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel, set up by IUCN in 2005, said it is extremely concerned by observations in 2008 suggesting whale distribution and behaviour have changed. The panel has therefore concluded that all activities planned for 2009, including Sakhalin Energy’s seismic survey, should be postponed until the Western Gray Whale population has been fully monitored and assessed. If the monitorin... more

    Fighting for forest frogs

    26 April 2009
    Philautus poppiae (Photo: © Madhava Meegaskumbura)
    The Philautus poppiae frog is native to Sri Lanka and lives in closed canopy cloud forest. It is classified as Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ due to the ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its forest habitat. Nineteen species of frogs native to Sri Lanka have gone extinct due to continuing habitat loss essentially caused by smallholder farming activities and logging. Drought and the use of agrochemicals in cardamom cultivation are additional threats. No other country in the world has more documented amphibian extinctions. Therefore, it is an urgent... more

    Florida leads the way for freshwater turtles

    20 April 2009
    Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox) Photo: Matt Aresco
    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted unanimously to ban the commercial harvest of freshwater turtles throughout the state on Wednesday, April 15. The move comes after several of the world’s leading turtle scientists called on Florida's Governor Charlie Crist to end the commercial hunting of turtles which supplies eastern Asia. The experts, brought together by the Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, alerted the Governor that the state's turtles were at high risk of being wiped out by the expanding global trade... more

    A users' guide to The IUCN Red List web site

    03 April 2009
    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™
    In October 2008, the IUCN Red List web site was given a brand new look. The new site has more functionality than ever before. This also means that the site has more detailed search pages that allow increased flexibility in the searches that can be carried out, introduces the ability to store searches for future use or to share search results with others, and allows users to download range data for mammals and amphibians. In order to help users to navigate their way through the wider range of functions on the web site, a set of instructions have been developed (The Users’ Guide to th... more

    Southern Africa's freshwater species in firing line

    19 March 2009
    Fishing on Lake Kosi, St Lucia, South Africa (Photo: IUCN Photo Library © Jim Thorsell)
    Many freshwater fish, crabs, dragonflies, molluscs and aquatic plants are at risk of extinction in southern Africa if its rivers and lakes are not protected from developers, according to IUCN. The study by the IUCN Species Programme, in collaboration with the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and the South African National Biodiversity Institute, shows that seven percent of species are known to be regionally threatened or extinct. But this figure will skyrocket unless freshwater species conservation is considered in development planning. These species provide food for local peopl... more

    Invasive species put dragonfly in the shade

    12 March 2009
    Yellow Presba (Syncordulia gracilis) - Photo © Michael Samways
    The Yellow Presba is a rare dragonfly from the fast flowing mountain rivers of Southern Africa. Its conservation status is Vulnerable on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ because of the spread of introduced trees throughout its native habitat. The Yellow Presba (Syncordulia legator) is one of many Southern African dragonflies currently under threat. Others have also suffered catastrophic declines because of human related problems like pollution, habitat loss to farming and the introduction of non-native trees. The spread of invasive species is now recognized as one of the gr... more

    Quarter of antelope species in danger of extinction

    05 March 2009
    Dama Gazelle (Photo © Thomas Rabeil)
    A quarter of all antelope species are threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The results, compiled by the Antelope Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, show that out of 91 species of antelope, 25 are threatened with extinction. The status of several species has become worse since the last complete assessment of all antelopes in 1996. “Unsustainable harvesting, whether for food or traditional medicine, and human encroachment on their habitat are the main threats facing antelopes,” says Dr Philippe Chardonnet,... more

    Rabbits at risk in home range

    05 March 2009
    European Rabbit (Photo © www.flickr.com/photos/53366513@N00/)
    In some parts of the world they thrive, to the extent they are regarded as pests, yet in their native range on the Iberian Peninsula rabbits are Near Threatened with extinction, according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Their decreasing numbers have also had alarming impacts on the Critically Endangered Iberian Lynx and the Spanish Imperial Eagle. The European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was introduced to Western Europe by man as early as the Roman period, and since then to South America and Australasia. Only Spain, Portugal and areas of North Africa are its native... more

    Delete? French artist offers to work with IUCN to save species

    02 March 2009
    Les Murs de l’Arche (Photo © Thierry Bisch)
    French wildlife artist Thierry Bisch is developing a project with IUCN to deliver a powerful message about the need to protect threatened species. Called “Les Murs de l’Arche” (the Ark’s Walls), the project would create awareness by painting large murals of animals on buildings and outside walls in city centres. Bisch plans to use his talent to serve a cause close to his heart. “I’ve been painting animals for many years and sharing my appreciation for their beauty and dignity with a wide public,” said the artist. “Now is the time to get involved i... more

    The state of Australia's birds

    27 February 2009
    Grey-crowned Babbler (Photo © Chris Tzaros)
    Many native Australian bird species are declining. Birds of garden, water, scrub and woodland are showing marked falls in their populations says a new report by Birds Australia (BirdLife in Australia). The encouraging news is that the status of some species is improving as a result of conservation action. This is the sixth 'the state of Australia's birds' report, and presents an up-to-date overview of the health of bird populations in Australia and the main challenges to their sustainability. This 2008 report focuses on trends in bird populations revealed by around 50 long-term monitoring progr... more

    Box turtles face knockout as Indonesian traders export 100 times quota

    27 February 2009
    Southeast Asia Box Turtle (Photo © Chris R Shepherd / TRAFFIC)
    Unregulated trade—at 10 to 100 times legal levels—has caused Southeast Asian Box Turtles almost to vanish from parts of Indonesia, where once they were common,according to a new report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. The turtles are used for meat and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, with major markets in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia, mostly supplied from Indonesia. Animals are also exported as pets, mainly to the US, Europe and Japan. The study found at least 18 traders operating in Java, Sulawesi, Sumatra and Kalimantan dealing illegally in Southeast... more

    Dive into the oceans with Google Earth

    03 February 2009
    Aldabra (Photo © Jerker Tamelander IUCN)
    Very little is known about oceans. That's why very little - less than one percent - of the Earth's oceans are protected, compared to 12 percent of the land surface. 'Ocean in Google Earth', launching today, lets virtual voyagers find out what marine species live where and discover marine protected areas, one of the best tools for protecting our oceans. Internet users can now travel in 3D through the vast and largely unknown underwater world of the planet’s oceans, allowing visitors to fly over and around underwater seamounts or follow scientific research expeditions as they mine the depth... more

    Tanzanian toad makes a colourful debut

    30 January 2009
    New toad species (Photo © P. Whitehorn/Frontier)
    News in Brief report from the journal Nature 457, 523 (2009): The South Nguru Mountains in eastern Tanzania are home to this ornate toad (pictured), a still-unnamed member of the genus Nectophrynoides reported last month (see link below). It was among 15 amphibian species new to science that were discovered between 2004 and 2006 during surveys by a team led by Nisha Owen of the Frontier Tanzania Forest Research Program in Dar es Salaam. The palm-sized toad's distinctive orange protuberances are glands, which may also be yellow and green or red. The glands' secretions are as yet un... more

    Chinese year of the babbler

    30 January 2009
    Nonggang Babbler (Photo © James Eaton; Birdtour Asia)
    News Release from BirdLife International A new species of babbler has been described from Guangxi province in southwest China close to the border with Viet Nam. Named Nonggang Babbler Stachyris nonggangensis, after the reserve at which it was discovered, this new species is closely related to Sooty Babbler S. herberti but is larger and has white crescent patches behind the ear coverts and dark spots on the upper breast and throat. Ornithologists, Zhou Fang and Jiang Aiwu from Guangxi University first sighted the birds in surveys during 2005 and confirmed its identity as an undescr... more

    Google Earth reveals hidden oasis

    26 January 2009
    Pygmy chameleon (Photo © Julian Bayliss RBG Kew)
    Space may be the final frontier, but scientists who recently discovered a hidden forest in Mozambique show the uncharted can still be under our noses. BirdLife were part of a team of scientists who used Google Earth to identify a remote patch of pristine forest. An expedition to the site discovered new species of butterfly and snake, along with seven globally threatened birds. The team were browsing Google Earth – freely available software providing global satellite photography – to search for potential wildlife hotspots. A nearby road provided the first glimpses of a wooded mountai... more

    Penguins are Walking an Increasingly Rocky Road

    19 January 2009
    Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Photo © Richard Cuthbert, RSPB)
    A new study, published in BirdLife International's journal, Bird Conservation International, has revealed that the Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi – which is principally found on UK territories in the South Atlantic – has declined by 90% over the last 50 years. Historical records estimate that millions of penguins used to occur on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island, but, declines (of more than 90%) have dramatically reduced their numbers in the last half century. Links: ... more

    Illegal Trade in Malayan Box Turtles Continues

    19 January 2009
    Malayan Box Turtle (Photo © Sabine Schoppe - TRAFFIC Southeast Asia)
    The Malayan Box Turtle is disappearing across Malaysia despite a ban on its export, finds a new report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network and a joint programme between IUCN and WWF. The turtles are in high demand in East Asia for their meat and for use in traditional Chinese medicine. The Malayan Box Turtle is a subspecies of the widespread South Asian Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis), which is considered the commonest freshwater turtle in Southeast Asia, but despite this, and even its tolerance of man-made artificial habitats, the species is in peril due to over-exploitatio... more

    Florida turtles need a reprieve

    25 November 2008
    Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox) Photo © Matt Aresco
    Several of the world's leading turtle scientists have called on the Governor of Florida to end the commercial hunting of turtles which supplies eastern Asia. The experts, brought together by the Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group of IUCN's Species Survival Commission, made their plea in a letter to Governor Charlie Crist. "Florida's freshwater turtles are being harvested at an unsustainable rate to supply East Asian food and medicinal markets," the letter said. "New rules recently implemented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) do not resol... more

    India's wild medicinal plants threatened by over-exploitation

    24 November 2008
    A close shot of medicinal plant Timur (Zanthoxylum arnatum). Photo © Giridhar Amatya, IUCN Nepal
    India is a hub of the wild-collected plant medicine industry in Asia, but key species have declined due to over-collection to supply domestic and foreign medicinal markets, according to IUCN and TRAFFIC researchers. The report focuses on seven plant species of conservation concern protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Wild plant species form the foundation of healthcare practices throughout much of Asia, particularly traditional practices, such as traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Tibetan medicines. C... more

    Vaccine hope for endangered wolf

    13 November 2008
    Ethiopian Wolf (Photo © Nick Jacobsen)
    Scientists battle to save the world's rarest wolf from rabies by creating 'barrier' of vaccinated wolf packs. A dedicated team of conservationists are hard at work in the remote Bale Mountains of southern Ethiopia in a race to conserve less than 500 remaining Ethiopian Wolves. The species Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis), is classified as Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The intervention against this deadly disease is endorsed by the IUCN SSC Canid Specialist Group and the IUCN SSC Wildlife Health Specialist Group. Links: ... more

    Quarter of northeast Atlantic sharks and rays threatened with extinction

    10 November 2008
    Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) (photo © Steven Campana)
    The release of the first ever IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ assessment of northeast Atlantic sharks, rays and chimaeras reveals that 26 percent are threatened with extinction and another 20 percent are in the Near Threatened category. The total number of threatened species may well be higher as there was insufficient information to assess more than a quarter (27 percent) of the species. The report, released by the IUCN Shark Specialist Group (SSG), reveals that shark, ray and chimaera species are much more threatened in the northeast Atlantic than they are globally. Specifically, s... more

    Largest environmental meeting sends wake-up call to the world

    11 October 2008
    IUCN World Conservation Congress, Barcelona
    It's time to wake up and take action to protect the planet's natural wealth, that's the message of the first part of IUCN's World Conservation Congress. More than 8,000 specialists from the conservation community, governments, NGOs, academia, private sector, women and indigenous groups have gathered in Barcelona to discuss the most pressing issues of our time. "In the last four days the call to protect the planet has been heard from both government leaders and the NGO community," says Valli Moosa, President of IUCN. "Environmental concerns are now at the top of the decision-maker... more

    Global Reef expedition to save the coral reefs

    11 October 2008
    Coral Reef (Photo: CI / Sterling Zumbrunn)
    One-third of the reef building corals are threatened with extinction. What can be done to protect our oceans and the marine ecosystems on which the health of our planet depends. HRH Prince Khaled bin Sultan announced the launch of a three-year expedition and gave an exclusive interview for IUCN web TV. Links: Interview ... more

    The 2008 Review of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™

    10 October 2008
    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™
    The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is long established as the world's most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of plants and animals. This week a new publication entitled "Review of the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™" was released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Each section explores a different aspect or biodiversity realm of the IUCN Red List, including: - The IUCN Red List: a key conservation tool - Freshwater biodiversity: a hidden resource under threat - Status of the world's marine species -... more

    IUCN Red List reveals world’s mammals in crisis

    10 October 2008
    Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) Threat category: ENDANGERED Photo: Antonio Ribas / Iberian Lynx Ex-situ Conservation Programme
    Barcelona, Spain – The most comprehensive assessment of the world's mammals has confirmed an extinction crisis, with almost one in four at risk of disappearing forever, according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, revealed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. The new study to assess the world's mammals shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction. At least 76 mammals have become extinct since 1500. But the results also show conservation can bring species back from the brink of extinction, with five percent o... more

    Mammals face extinction crisis – results of global assessment revealed

    10 October 2008
    Grey-faced Sengi (Rhynchocyon udzungwensis) Photo: F. Rovero, Trento Museum of Natural Sciences, Italy
    The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ announced on Monday that the world's mammals face an extinction crisis, with almost one in four at risk of disappearing forever. The paper summarizing this comprehensive assessment is published today in the esteemed journal Science. The new study to assess the world's mammals shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction. At least 76 mammals have become extinct since 1500. But the results also show conservation can bring species back from the brink of extinction, with five percent of currently threate... more

    UN uses IUCN Red List to measure success of Millennium Development Goals

    26 September 2008
    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™
    For the first time, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is monitoring the world’s plants and animals using the IUCN Red List Index. Until now, the seventh Millennium Development Goal, to ensure environmental sustainability, has not included any mention of biodiversity or the need to save species as a critical contribution to human development. But with the launch of the latest Annual Report on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, in advance of the High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals at UN Headquarters in New York on 25 September, 2008, the goal n... more

    Birds indicate biodiversity crisis – and the way forward

    23 September 2008
    European Turtle Dove has declined by 62% in the last 26 years (photo © Denis Cachia)
    Common birds are in decline across the world, providing evidence of a rapid deterioration in the global environment that is affecting all life on earth – including human life. All the world’s governments have committed themselves to slowing or halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010. But reluctance to commit what are often trivial sums in terms of national budgets means that this target is almost certain to be missed. These are some of the stark messages from State of the Worlds Birds, a new publication and website (www.birdlife.org/sowb) launched today at BirdLife International&rs... more

    Coming soon: The 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

    01 September 2008
    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™
    The most comprehensive update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ will be unveiled at IUCN's World Conservation Congress in Barcelona on Monday, October 6, 2008. The IUCN Red List is now expected to cover more than 45,000 species. Not all the world’s species have been assessed, but coverage is increasing every year. This year's update will include the results of the Global Mammal Assessment covering 5,490 mammals. An in-depth analysis of the latest IUCN Red List will be released with The 2008 review of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. In addition, a new IUCN R... more