Archived News

Iconic Okavango Delta becomes 1,000th World Heritage site

22 June 2014
The Okavango Delta
Photo: John Mendelsohn
Botswana’s Okavango Delta, one of the most iconic natural areas on the planet, has been listed as 1,000th World Heritage site today. The decision follows the recommendation of IUCN, UNESCO’s advisory body on nature. “The Okavango Delta has long been considered one of the biggest gaps on the World Heritage list and IUCN is proud to have been able to provide support to this nomination,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “We congratulate Botswana’s authorities on their extraordinary commitment to make this... more

Protection of key Timneh parrot breeding area underway

20 June 2014
Timneh Grey Parrot
Photo: World Parrot Trust
The Timneh Parrot breeding season is now underway on the Bijagós islands of Guinea-Bissau, according to SOS Grantee Rowan Martin of the World Parrot Trust, an IUCN member. The Vulnerable Timneh Parrot (Psittacus timneh) has long been subject to high levels of trapping for the pet trade, leading to dramatic declines in populations. While breeding should boost the population, it is during this time Timneh Parrots are especially vulnerable to poaching - chicks taken from nests and raised... more

IUCN welcomes emphatic ‘no’ to extractives in World Heritage

19 June 2014
Gorilla at Virunga National Park
Photo: IUCN Photo Library / © Gérard Collin
Following IUCN’s advice, the World Heritage Committee has sent a strong message to oil and gas and other extractive industries not to operate in World Heritage sites. The message came during discussions about World Heritage sites in Danger, including Africa’s iconic Virunga National Park, at the annual World Heritage Committee meeting taking place in Doha, Qatar. Four days before the meeting began, British oil company SOCO announced its intention to stay clear of all World Heritage sites and stop any exploratory activities in Virunga National Park within 30 days,... more

Illegal trade puts more World Heritage sites in danger

18 June 2014
Hippos in the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
Photo: Jim Thorsell
Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve has been listed as World Heritage in Danger due to unprecedented levels of illegal wildlife trade, as announced today at the 38th annual World Heritage Committee meeting in Doha, Qatar. The decision, which aims to trigger international action to protect the site, follows the advice of IUCN – the official World Heritage advisory body on nature. “Illegal wildlife trade and elephant poaching in particular remain at an alarmingly high level and Tanzania is one of the source countries that are most heavily affected by... more

Remembering Dra Ángela Leiva Sánchez

18 June 2014
Ángela Teresita Leiva Sánchez
Photo: IUCN SSC
It is with great sadness and shock that SSC has learned of the death of Dra Ángela Leiva Sánchez, Chair of the Cuba Plant Specialist Group. Ángela was a committed leader of the conservation community in Cuba. Members of SSC remember her as a brave woman responsible for creating a community of botanists in Cuba that is very well organized and doing excellent work. Ángela was thoroughly involved in the negotiation of the Global Plant Strategy for Plant Conservation and Jane Smart recalls Ángela as a great and forceful advocate for wild plant... more

Saola Field Notes: Reconnaissance patrol into the Kalo region of the Xe Sap National Protected Area, Viet Nam

17 June 2014
4-5 months old Saola female.
Photo: David Hulse
SOS grantee Michael Dine of WWF, an IUCN member, has been updating SOS on field activities from his project to help protect the Critically Endangered Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis). This is one of two SOS funded projects helping to protect the little known and rarely seen forest bovid – cousin to antelopes, cattle and goats. What follows is Michael’s report of a successful reconnaissance patrol in difficult terrain and conditions – which also indicates several of the practical challenges... more

IUCN Red List raises more red flags for threatened species

12 June 2014
Dickinson's Cypripedium (Cypripedium dickinsonianum) - Endangered
Photo: G. Salazar Chávez
Almost 80% of temperate slipper orchids and over 90% of lemurs are threatened with extinction, according to the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The newly assessed Japanese Eel has been listed as Endangered, while the Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo – the mascot of the 2014 FIFA World Cup – remains Vulnerable as its population continues to decline. The IUCN Red List, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, now includes 73,686 assessed species, of which 22,103 are threatened with extinction. “Over the last... more

International sporting personalities United for Wildlife

09 June 2014
The Duke of Cambridge and David Beckham launching the #WhoseSideAreYouOn campaign
Photo: IUCN SSC
Global sports personalities came together in London yesterday to sign up to the #WhoseSideAreYouOn campaign, which seeks to mobilise support amongst younger generations for the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. Sportspeople already signed up as Ambassadors of the campaign include David Beckham, Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton, Rahul Dravid, Samuel Eto’o, Yao Ming and Francois Pienaar. #unitedforwildlife Photo: United for Wildlifemore

Shark specialists prioritize recovery of world’s largest, most threatened rays

05 June 2014
Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis) in an aquarium
Photo: David Wackenfelt
The Shark Specialist Group (SSG) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released a global strategy to prevent extinction and promote recovery of sawfishes, which have been devastated worldwide by overfishing and habitat loss. The strategy is being launched at the Sharks International conference in Durban and coincides with announcements that two West Africa countries -- Guinea and Guinea Bissau -- are proposing the listing of sawfishes under the Convention on Migratory Species in November, which could significantly boost protections. “The... more

Nature's A-list to debate a sustainable future for the planet

05 June 2014
Sydney Harbour National Park
Photo: Trevor Sandwith
Internationally recognized experts, politicians, CEOs, activists and indigenous leaders will be at the forefront of a series of public debates during the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 taking place this November in Sydney, Australia. The Congress is a once-in-a-decade event on the world’s national parks, marine reserves and other protected areas and the solutions they offer to some of today’s biggest development challenges, such as climate change, health and food and water security. The Congress’ prime time debates, the World Leaders’ Dialogues,... more

New technologies making it easier to protect threatened species

02 June 2014
Striped frog, Tavira, Portugal
Photo: Sue Mainka
Human actions are driving many species to extinction 1000 times faster than their natural rate, but a new Duke University-led study finds that emerging technologies could give scientists and policymakers a more efficient way to identify the species at greatest risk and take steps to protect them before it’s too late. In a paper published today in the journal Science, Pimm and an international team of scientists review recent advances in conservation science made possible by new technologies, as well as challenges that remain unmet. Despite recent progress, the... more

World First! Captive-bred Mangrove finches released into natural habitat

30 May 2014
Almost ready for release
Photo: (C) Francesca Cunninghame, Charles Darwin Foundation
With the release of 15 captive bred Critically Endangered Mangrove Finches we are delighted to report a world first from SOS Grantee and IUCN Member, The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF). Today, in collaboration with its implementing partners, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment through the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG), CDF are celebrating the release into the forest habitat on Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. Time will tell how the birds fare.... more

Poachers Lose Motorbikes at Chu Mom Ray National Park, Viet Nam

29 May 2014
Douc Langur family
Photo: Vu Ngoc Thanh / DLF
Lois Lippold, from the Douc Langur Foundation, an SOS Grantee reports on another heartening development in her project's work to protect the Endangered Langurs and Gibbons of Viet Nam's Chu Mom Ray Park. In August 2013, Lois reported the first successful arrest of a poacher in the park. But in the last three months alone, the Chu Mom Ray National Park have confiscated more than 100 motorbikes and destroyed 5795 snares and traps. Lois explains that, these are important results because motorbikes are the main transportation of poachers in the park. If you have ever visited Viet... more

Success! Unique Sierra Caral, Guatemala is declared a National Protected Area

27 May 2014
Sierra Caral: Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) Site and newly designated National Protected Area
Photo: Robin Moore
On Tuesday 13th of May, the Guatemalan Congress declared the Sierra Caral mountain chain, an internationally recognized AZE Site (Alliance for Zero Extinction), as a National Protected Area. This is the first protected area to be declared by the Guatemalan Congress in more than nine years. SOS Grantee and IUCN Member, FUNDAECO explains how important this is for the rather unique Sierra Caral. Located in the Caribbean Region of Guatemala, along the border with Honduras, Sierra Caral goes from sea level to more than 1,000 meters, and is a refuge for endemic species of... more

Building hope for Endangered ducks in Prey Veng, Cambodia

26 May 2014
A White-winged Duck in the Northern Plains
Photo: Simon Mahood WCS Cambodia
Building on the success of its bird-watching eco-tourism initiative in Tmatbuay village, northern Cambodia, SOS Grantee and IUCN Member, WCS Cambodia has begun expanding the concept to other sites in the region including Prey Veng village, habitat for the Endangered White-winged Duck (Cairina scutulata)- a beautiful, rare and poorly known bird. Prey Veng is special for a number of other reasons too. It has an Angkorian era temple hidden in the jungle, like something out of an Indiana Jones... more

Cry for help for migratory fish from New Zealand to Hawaii

24 May 2014
World Fish Migration Day 2014
Photo: WFMD
Today is the first ever World Fish Migration Day and community events are taking place across the globe to celebrate the importance of freshwater migratory fish and free flowing rivers. WWF (NL), The Nature Conservancy (USA), the IUCN SSC/Wetlands International Freshwater Fish Specialist Group and Wanningen Water Consult with LINKit consult have all come together to promote the theme of CONNECTING FISH, RIVERS AND PEOPLE. Events commence in New Zealand and, following the sun, finish as it sets in Hawaii. This international day will bring global attention to the need to ensure... more

Hawaii to host the next IUCN World Conservation Congress

23 May 2014
Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu.
Photo: Hawai‘i Convention Center
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Council has selected Hawaii, United States of America, as the host of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress – the world’s largest conservation event. Held every four years, the Congress brings together leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and indigenous and grass-roots organizations to discuss and decide on solutions to the world’s most pressing environment and development challenges. “After a robust evaluation process and... more

River terrapins making a comeback in Asia

23 May 2014
Batagur baska adult
Photo: AGJ Morshed
Rick Hudson, President of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) updated SOS with a quick review of nesting successes from Bangladesh for several river terrapin species in the Batagur genus. Multi-coloured and charming in their own right, the future is looking brighter for Batagur baska and relatives. Today is World Turtle Day, May 23rd when turtle lovers everywhere will gush over stunning pictures of marine turtles sharing them on social media platforms and supporting these most charismatic of reptiles. But spare a thought for lesser known, similarly threatened turtles such as... more

Celebrate the unique and wonderful nature of the world’s islands

22 May 2014
Chichijima Island, Japan.
Photo: Japan_Ippei & Janine Naoi
IUCN joins its member organizations and partners around the world in celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity, advocating the role of islands in addressing pressing global issues through ingenuity, innovation and use of traditional knowledge. The United Nations proclaimed 22 May as International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. This year’s theme of Island Biodiversity was chosen to coincide with the designation by the United Nations General Assembly of 2014 as the International Year of... more

New angles on Bazaruto Archipelago National Park's Dugongs

21 May 2014
Dugongs from the air
Photo: Jay Roode
Often our emotional connections to beautiful places and amazing species are about perspective. Finding new angles with her camera, SOS Grantee and IUCN Member, Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) Karen Allen reveals the beauty of Bazaruto Archipelago National Park in Mozambique – home to the largest viable population of dugongs in the western Indian Ocean. Participating in one of the project’s aerial surveillance patrols, Karen got up high over Bazaruto’s bejewelled seascapes – the shallow iridescent seas and sweeping sandbanks among which... more

Industry must act now to safeguard biodiversity threatened by limestone quarrying

19 May 2014
Karst hills in Hon Chong
Photo: IUCN Vietnam
A paper released today by a group of leading conservation organisations including IUCN urges companies and regulators in the extractive industry to protect biodiversity that is found only in limestone areas. Limestone is found all over the world and is in big demand for cement production and other uses but it is also home to unique and highly restricted biodiversity which is increasingly threatened by quarrying. Limestone-restricted biodiversity includes many species of bats, snails, orchids, fish, spiders and beetles. Some species can be confined to a single limestone... more

Highlighting the role of ecotourism on World Migratory Bird Day

10 May 2014
Baikal Teal (Anas formosa) lifting up from roosting area for night feeding on rice fields in South Korea
Photo: Peter Prokosch
This weekend, the IUCN Global Species Programme is joining partners in celebrating World Migratory Bird Day 2014 and promoting this year’s theme of "Destination Flyways: Migratory Birds and Tourism".
The huge migrations undertaken by birds are spectacular and inspiring. In October, hundreds of thousands of Baikal Teal Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) Photo: Tony...
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World Migratory Bird Day

10 May 2014
Lesser flamingos 
Photo: IUCN Geoffroy Mauvais
World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was initiated in 2006 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. On the second weekend each May, people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programmes and birdwatching excursions to celebrate WMBD.
You can learn more about World Migratory Bird Day by watching this short film on the SOS YouTube... more

New hope for spoon-billed sandpipers as hand-reared bird heads for breeding grounds

10 May 2014
Spoon-billed Sandpiper chick in caring custody
Photo: Paul Marshall WWT
Continued heartening news for the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) - the little bird that keeps defying the odds. The first of a hand-reared group of birds has been spotted migrating back towards where it was hatched by conservationists. The tiny Spoon-billed Sandpiper – the only bird in the world to hatch with a spoon shaped beak – could be down to fewer than a hundred breeding pairs. Aviculturists led by SOS Grantee Wildfowl and Wetland Trust's (WWT) Roland Digby reared nine chicks by hand in 2012 at the breeding... more

Tompotika Youth Find Their Power in Conservation

09 May 2014
A poacher digs for eggs
Photo: Oliver Hensel Brown
A few weeks ago, something wonderful took place in Tompotika, Sulawesi with high school students championing the cause of local wildlife including the endemic and Endangered Maleo Bird. Marcy Summers, Project Director with the SOS grantee AlTo which is working to protect the Maleo, reports on something very special that took place amongst the dozen Tompotika high school students who spent February-March in an AlTo Art for Conservation project.
Under the leadership of Australian performers Nick... more

Hidden effects of climate change on species revealed in new study

06 May 2014
Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus)
Photo: Drew Avery
A new study by partners of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), including the IUCN Global Species Programme (GSP), has revealed that climate change’s effects on species may be occurring through a disruption of the fundamental interactions that exist between species within an ecosystem. The direct effects of climate change on a species’ population are well documented; changes in temperature and precipitation directly affect survival and reproduction. However, very little is known about the indirect effects of climate change on a species’ population,... more

Critical wildlife habitat now permanently protected in Ecuador

02 May 2014
Hacienda Antisanilla, Ecuador
Photo: Amphibian Survival Alliance
A consortium of partners including the Amphibian Specialist Group, of IUCN's Species Survival Commission (SSC), the Amphibian Survival Alliance, Rainforest Trust (RT), Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) have come together to enable local partner Fundación Jocotoco to purchase more than 270,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat in Ecuador. The mammoth property acquisition, which includes the 18,714-foot Antisana Volcano, will create a permanent refuge for three threatened species of frogs which are found nowhere else, and the largest... more

Viet Nam ratifies the Nagoya Protocol

02 May 2014
Convention on Biological Diversity
Photo: CBD logo
Montreal, 1 May 2014 – With four new ratifications in the last week, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization has received 66% of the necessary ratifications, with only 17 more ratifications needed for it to enter into force. Ratifications by Guyana, Hungary, Kenya and Viet Año Internacional de la Diversidad Biológica. Photo: CBDmore

IUCN 2014 World Heritage recommendations now available

02 May 2014
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Photo: IUCN Photo Library / Alicia Wirz
IUCN’s evaluations of ten sites nominated to obtain World Heritage status are now public ahead of the upcoming World Heritage Committee. In addition, the first batch of State of Conservation reports, prepared jointly by IUCN and the World Heritage Centre, has been released. A second release of State of Conservation reports, together with evaluations of two further nominations and proposals for two minor boundary modifications of sites, will be issued on 16 May. IUCN will present the recommendations included in these reports and evaluations to the World Heritage... more

IUCN condemns attack on Virunga’s Chief Warden

17 April 2014
Emmanuel de Mérode, director of Virunga National Park
Photo: IUCN NL
IUCN is deeply shocked by the news of the violent attack on Virunga National Park’s Chief Warden Emmanuel de Merode, which took place yesterday. “We extend our sincere good wishes to him for a full recovery and we trust that the authorities will ensure that those who undertook this outrageous act are brought to justice,” says IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre. Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its exceptional biodiversity in 1979. Home to some of the world's last... more

European Parliament adopts legislation to tackle invasive alien species at EU level

16 April 2014
The American red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) is a freshwater turtle usually sold as a pet, and now introduced in several European countries where it represents an ecological threat for the indigenous fauna and flora.
Photo: Riccardo Scalera
The European Parliament today adopted legislative plans to prevent the introduction and manage the spread in the EU of invasive alien species (IAS) of plants, animals or insects that cause ecological and economic damage. The legislation aims to tackle the threat through better, more coordinated action by member states, and provides for a ban on species declared to be of “Union concern”. "This new regulation is an important step towards strengthened action to protect the EU against the devastating impacts of invasive alien species on its biodiversity and... more

IUCN calls for strengthening international cooperation to tackle wildlife crime

11 April 2014
Asian rhinos
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tiffanyvelez
Wildlife crime, including poaching, illegal harvesting and other illegal cross-border trade in biological resources taken from the wild, has reached worrying levels and become a serious transnationally organised criminal business, now representing the fourth largest illegal activity in the world after drug trafficking, counterfeiting and human trafficking. This can have potentially disastrous implications for the conservation of the trafficked species. “Wildlife crime puts entire ecosystems at risk, and international intelligence, policy and enforcement efforts have to... more

Online IUCN Red List Course now in French and Spanish

08 April 2014
Online IUCN Red List training course now available in Spanish and French.
Since the first module was released in June 2013, the online IUCN Red List training course Assessing Species Extinction Risk Using IUCN Red List Methodology has grown to include seven modules, over 20 lessons, and a final course exam. The course now provides around 12 hours of free online training. In addition, French and Spanish versions have now been released making this course available for the first time in all three official IUCN languages and allowing a wider range of users around... more

Australian Alps in better health thanks to volunteers

07 April 2014
Volunteers learning how to identify Hawkweed species at a newly-discovered infestation
Photo: Rod McQueen
Involving volunteers in environmental projects is a great way to tackle environmental issues as well as offering people the chance to experience the physical and mental health benefits of connecting with nature. Volunteers are helping to eradicate one of the country’s worst weeds from the Alpine National Park in Victoria, Australia. Hawkweed is an extremely invasive member of the daisy family that has already caused major environmental damage in North America, Japan and New Zealand. An eradication programme to remove three species discovered in the... more

Manatee hunters turned fish-keepers

07 April 2014
Lucy Diagne measures a West African Manatee
Photo: Tomas Diagne
The West African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) is the least studied mammal in Africa despite having a range larger than the United States: encompassing 21 African countries. At the same time, it faces serious threats from hunting and accidental capture in fishing nets. This lack of knowledge about the species raises concern for its future, given what we know about the impact of key threats to the survival of the West African Manatee, according to project leader Lucy Diagne. This SOS-funded project is however, tipping the balance in favour of these gentle,... more

Better and better

07 April 2014
Schisandra fruit
Photo: TRAFFIC
An award-winning project involving the sustainable collection of a medicinal plant by village cooperatives in protected panda habitat in central China is bringing benefits for people, wildlife and business alike. The fruits of Southern Schisandra, a woody vine, are used in various medicinal and food products such as herbal teas, tinctures, medicated wine, jams and dietary supplements. In China, as in many other countries, over-harvesting of wild medicinal plant species is a serious conservation concern. Aside from problems caused by the harvesting itself, collectors... more

New IUCN App for marine invasive species in Mediterranean marine protected areas

03 April 2014
Medmis banner
Photo: IUCN-Med
The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation has released today a new app for smart phones, and an online tool to help managers of marine protected areas (MPAs) control the spread of invasive species in the Mediterranean Sea. The presentation took place during the workshop on Climate Change and Marine Protected Areas held in Cadaqués (Spain), organised by the Network of Marine Protected Area Managers in the Mediterranean (MedPAN) and the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas of the Barcelona Convention (UNEP/MAP RAC/SPA) in collaboration with the Generalitat of... more

Clear win for species in World Heritage sites

02 April 2014
Reptiles and amphibians are winners in Manù National Park, Peru
Photo: © istockphoto.com/kativ
If I tell you World Heritage, what do you see? The Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Egypt, Vatican City? World Heritage is often associated with cultural heritage. However, the prestigious World Heritage List contains 193 natural sites, and 29 mixed cultural and natural sites. Wait – did you just think of the Galapagos and Ha Long Bay?
World Heritage has a key role in conserving some of the most irreplaceable and valuable natural habitats where many of the emblematic species inhabiting our planet can thrive. more

Bad news for Europe’s bumblebees

02 April 2014
The population of the Endagered Bombus cullumanus has declined by more than 80% over the last decade
Photo: Pierre Rasmont
Twenty four percent of European bumblebee species are threatened with extinction on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, according to a recent study assessing the species group at the European level.
The study examines all of the 68 bumblebee species that occur in Europe. It is part of the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project and the European Red List of pollinators, both funded by the European Commission.
Bumblebees, like other pollinators, play a critical role in securing food production. They allow plants to reproduce and... more

Kering and IUCN Boa & Python Specialist Group announce first report on captive breeding

31 March 2014
Python skins are traded primarily to meet demands from the fashion industry
Photo: Daniel Natusch / IUCN
The first report under the ‘Python Conservation Partnership’, a collaboration between Kering, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Boa and Python Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has been presented today. The “Assessment of Python Breeding Farms Supplying the International High-end Leather Industry” is a study evaluating the economic feasibility and viability of captive breeding of pythons as a possible element of sustainable use and conservation of the species. Its aim is to provide guidance to those... more

World’s Rarest Gorilla Gets New Roadmap for Survival

24 March 2014
Cross River Gorilla
Photo: Nicky Lankester
In spite of the continued threats of poaching and habitat destruction, future prospects for the world’s rarest gorilla have improved but are still dependent on continued local and international partnerships, according to a new action plan published by the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group and the Wildlife Conservation Society, and produced in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the North Carolina Zoo, and others. A new report—titled Revised Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of the Cross River Gorilla: 2014-2019—cites a number of... more

Assessing countries’ true land restoration potential now possible, says IUCN

21 March 2014
A map of potential restoration areas in Guatemala
Photo: Government of Guatemala
The largest landscape restoration initiative in history gained further momentum today - the International Day of Forests - as IUCN and other partners provide the world’s nations with new guidance on assessing their national restoration potential. Published in the form of a handbook, the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) will help countries understand how much of their land offers restoration opportunities, map where those opportunities are and determine which degraded landscapes offer the most value to society. “It’s time to move... more

Aiming high: Can we reach global conservation goals?

17 March 2014
Dr Jon Hutton
Photo: UNEP-WCMC
In 2010 the international community set 20 conservation targets. They include the goal that 17% of the earth’s terrestrial area and 10% of marine and coastal areas are conserved by 2020. Is this achievable? Dr Jon Hutton, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre responds.   I think the broad target is reachable but we need to pay more attention to the ‘small print’. The spatial component — the percentage figure — is useful and... more

Nepal celebrates ‘zero poaching year’ for rhino, tiger and elephant

14 March 2014
Tiger at Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Photo: IUCN Nepal
Nepal recently marked a successful year of species conservation by announcing that during the previous 365 days, not a single incident of rhino, tiger or elephant poaching had been recorded in any of the country’s protected areas. The announcement coincided with the first World Wildlife Day on 3 March. While the year leading up to World Wildlife Day had been marked by huge increases in elephant and rhino poaching worldwide, Nepal’s... more

Governments unite to conserve iconic Sargasso Sea

12 March 2014
Abundance of life in the Sargasso Sea
Photo: NOAA
Governments of Bermuda, the Azores, Monaco, United Kingdom and the United States have signed a declaration committing to the conservation of the Sargasso Sea – a vast patch of mid-Atlantic Ocean known for its unique floating seaweeds that harbour rich biodiversity. This is the first time an international alliance has been formed to protect this unique haven of marine life. The agreement, which was signed yesterday in Bermuda’s capital Hamilton, is part of the Sargasso Sea Alliance – an initiative... more

New eBook showcases amphibian photography

12 March 2014
'The Amphibians' - Fire Salamander
Photo: Amphibian Survival Alliance
A stunning new eBook ‘The Amphibians’ has been published by the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA) in collaboration with Meet Your Neighbours, a worldwide photography project reconnecting people with the wildlife on their own doorsteps. The eBook features 'The Amphibians' - Amazonian Horned Frog Photo: Amphibian Survival Alliancephotographs of amphibians from around the world... more

Protecting our wild inheritance

05 March 2014
Tiger photographed by camera-trap in Thailand
Photo: Wildlife Conservation Society
SOS founding partner, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) featured an article on SOS to mark World Wildlife Day, March 3 2014. Focusing on the extensive and varied work of SOS grantee projects to address wildlife crime what follows illustrates just how broad and multi-faceted the challenge is that we face. March 3 has officially been recognized as World Wildlife Day thanks to a recent decision taken by the United Nations and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). The intention is to mark one day in our busy lives as a celebration... more

World Wildlife Day message from IUCN Director General

02 March 2014
CITES World Wildlife Day
Photo: CITES World Wildlife Day
IUCN is delighted to join in the global celebrations of the inaugural World Wildlife Day on 3 March, declared by the United Nations General Assembly, says the Union's Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre. World Wildlife Day gives us a chance to highlight the breathtaking diversity of our planet’s animal and plant species and how their continued survival in the wild is intimately linked to ours. IUCN, with its deep connection to CITES, has been working on... more

Emergency three-year action plan for lemurs

21 February 2014
Red-ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra)
Photo: Russell A. Mittermeier
Primatologists from Bristol Zoological Society, Conservation International, and the IUCN Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group have developed an emergency three-year action plan for lemurs, Madagascar’s endemic group of primates - the most threatened group of mammals on the planet. Outlined in a paper published in the journal Science today, the action plan contains strategies for 30 different priority sites for lemur conservation and aims to help fundraise for individual projects. The major objectives of the action plan include: stabilizing... more

Professor Gordon McGregor Reid awarded the IUCN Species Survival Commission Chair's Citation of Excellence

21 February 2014
Professor Gordon McGregor Reid
Photo: Professor Gordon McGregor Reid
In February 2014, Gordon McGregor Reid received the SSC Chair’s Citation of Excellence in recognition for his exemplary, visionary and charismatic leadership of the Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, between 2004 and 2013. The Citation of Excellence, created in 2004, is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to the SSC. The award was presented to Gordon, by Simon Stuart (SSC Chair), at the North of England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo). Gordon thought he was invited to the zoo for a farewell lunch - it was a complete surprise and he had no idea he was... more

World leaders clamp down on the illegal wildlife trade

18 February 2014
London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade 12-13 February 2014
Photo: CITES Secretariat
Heads of State, ministers and high-level representatives of over 40 countries as well as 11 international organizations have committed to taking decisive and urgent action to tackle the global illegal wildlife trade. The London Declaration, announced by the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague last week, includes action to eradicate the market for illegal wildlife products, strengthen law enforcement efforts and ensure effective legal frameworks and deterrents are in place. It also promotes sustainable livelihoods through positive engagement with local... more

UAE Taking a Step Forward to Stop Shark-Finning in the Middle East

16 February 2014
Shark stocks are shrinking in regional waters as they are harvested for their fins to supply Far East markets for soup.
Photo: Oliver Clarke/Gulf News
Seven Arab countries sign an agreement in Dubai that will protect migrating marine animals. Marine life is exposed to an increasing pressure as a result of overfishing around the world. The fishing of more than 70 million sharks per year worldwide is a sad fact that has led conservation parties to address the problem seriously and with great care. The controversial issue, is that most of these species are immigrant fish, which therefore renders the issue of conservation highly dependent on international cooperation. In line with international efforts, the majority of... more

United for Wildlife commits to tackle the illegal wildlife trade

12 February 2014
Malayan Pangolin (Manis javanica) 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species status: Endangered
Photo: Bjorn Olesen
The Duke of Cambridge will today join the United for Wildlife organisations, including IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), at a symposium hosted by the Zoological Society of London to discuss the coordinated international effort that is required to combat the illegal wildlife trade. The United for Wildlife collaboration, under the Presidency of The Duke, has an extensive international field presence and a large network of collaborating institutions. It hopes to more

Europe’s Big Five selected!

10 February 2014
The Big Five of Europe
Photo: The Big5 team
The Brown Bear, Wolf, Wolverine, Lynx and Wisent are the most impressive animals of Europe, according to the Flemish TV show “The Big5 of Europe”. The final selection was revealed and presented to the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, during the last episode on 8 February. Throughout five episodes, Chris Dusauchoit and biologists Iwan Lewylle and Frederik Thoelen, travelled across the wildest parts of the continent on the ambitious mission of selecting... more

A global perspective on re-introduction

05 February 2014
Global Re-introduction Perspectives: 2013
Photo: Pritpal S. Soorae
From mangroves to spiders, trout to bobcat, the latest edition of Global Re-introduction Perspectives presents 52 case studies on re-introduction projects from around the world. Re-introduction is a conservation technique that returns viable populations of animals and plants to an area they previously inhabited. Re-introduced populations are bred in captivity or translocated from one area to another; however, success is only achieved with a great deal of research and preparation. The new publication provides a fascinating overview of re-introduction projects that are... more

IUCN welcomes Total’s ‘no-go’ commitment in World Heritage sites

03 February 2014
Mountain gorilla, Virunga National Park, World Heritage site
Photo: IUCN Photo Library © G.Collin
Oil and gas company Total has confirmed that it will not carry out extractive operations within natural World Heritage sites, including Virunga National Park. IUCN welcomes this decision and calls on all oil and gas companies to follow suit.

IUCN, which is the official advisory body to UNESCO on natural World Heritage, has made repeated calls in the past on extractive industries and governments that licence their activities to stop oil and gas exploration and exploitation within World Heritage sites. Until now, Royal Dutch Shell plc was the only oil... more

Conservation Groups Launch "Global Freshwater Fish BioBlitz", Inviting 'Citizen Scientists' to Help Monitor Fish Species

02 February 2014
Global Freshwater Fish BioBlitz
Photo: IUCN SSC Freshwater Fish Specialist Group
The ‘Global Freshwater Fish BioBlitz’ kicks off on World Wetlands Day to engage nature lovers in freshwater fish conservation. The Freshwater Fish Specialist Group (FFSG), of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Wetlands International, has joined forces with other international groups, namely World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, FishBase, the Fisheries Society of the Squalius Keadicus, a freshwater fish endemic to Greece. Photo: Kassis...
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Bat populations recovering in Europe but many still threatened

31 January 2014
Myotis mystacinus
Photo: Flickr/Gilles San Martin
Bat numbers increased more than 40% between 1993 and 2011, according to a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) which considers the state of bat populations across a number of European countries. However, many bat species are still threatened with extinction.   During the second half of the 20th century, European bat populations had declined significantly due to the destruction of roosts, intentional killing, intensive agriculture and changes in land use, which ultimately caused the... more

Launch of the first online Global Freshwater Biodiversity Atlas

29 January 2014
Global Freshwater Biodiversity Atlas. Photo: BioFresh
A new online Atlas of freshwater biodiversity presenting spatial information and species distribution patterns will be launched today at the landmark Water Lives symposium, bringing together European Union policy makers and freshwater scientists. Freshwaters are incredibly diverse habitats; they cover less than 1% of the Earth’s surface yet are home to 35% of all vertebrate species. Sadly, freshwater life is declining at an alarming rate, faster than any other component of global biodiversity.   more

European large carnivores: a surprising success story

28 January 2014
Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)
Photo: John Linnell/NINA
The latest issue of the IUCN European Newsletter sheds light on Europe's large carnivores, presenting the threats they have to face and examples of success stories in their conservation. Europe is home to five species of large carnivores: the Wolf (Canis lupus), the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus), the Brown Bear... more

A quarter of sharks and rays threatened with extinction

21 January 2014
Giant Guitarfish. Photo: Matt D. Potenski
A quarter of the world’s sharks and rays are threatened with extinction according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, with ray species found to be at a higher risk than sharks. The findings are part of the first ever global analysis of these species carried out by the IUCN Shark Specialist Group (SSG).
The study, which comes at the start of the year marking the 50th anniversary of The IUCN Red List, was published today in the journal eLIFE. It includes the analysis of the conservation status of 1,041 shark, ray and closely related chimaera... more

European Parliament takes important step to combat Wildlife Crime

20 January 2014
Items seized by UK Border Force in 2012. Photo: Flickr/ukhomeoffice
A groundbreaking motion for a Resolution on Wildlife Crime was approved by the European Parliament on 15 January, with 647 positive votes, 14 against and no abstentions. The Resolution calls for measures against wildlife crime, placing it on the same level as human trafficking and drug trafficking. IUCN strongly welcomes the Resolution and is ready to provide scientific support and engage with related European Institutions.
Wildlife crime, including... more

Keeping whales safe in sound

20 January 2014
Tail fin of Western Gray Whale
Photo: Yuri Yakovlev
A unique collaboration between the oil and gas industry, scientists and conservationists proves a way to minimize seismic survey impacts on rare whales and other species. A step-by-step guide to reducing impacts on whales and other marine species during seismic sea floor surveys has been developed by experts with IUCN’s Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP) and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. In the study, published in the... more

Tiger conservation gets EUR 20 million boost from Germany

14 January 2014
Tiger in Ranthambore National Park in India
Photo: James Kemsey
Gland, Switzerland, 14 January 2013 – A tiger conservation programme managed by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, has received EUR 20 million from the German government through the KfW Development Bank. The aim of the programme is to increase the number of tigers in the wild and improve the livelihoods of communities living in and close to their habitat. The agreement was signed today at IUCN Headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. “The tiger is the face of Asia’s biodiversity and an emblem of the world’s natural heritage,”... more

Panama Bay saved from destruction

09 January 2014
This new ruling means a reprieve from destructive development of Panama Bay (Panama Audubon Society)
There’s been a great start to 2014 for one of the most important sites for migratory waterbirds in the Americas. The Panama Supreme Court has issued the long-awaited final decision on the The Bay of Panama, This ruling, on the legality of the administrative decision that created the wetland protected area, basically means a reprieve from destructive development. The Supreme Court has reinstated the protected status for the Bay of Panama wetlands, removing the temporary suspension... more

IUCN World Parks Congress - a video preview

07 January 2014
Inspection of the Nyika National Park for a World Heritage evaluation mission
Photo: IUCN Photo Library © Nigel Dudley
They provide inspiration and adventure, supply food and water, offer natural defences against climate change and support the livelihoods of millions of people.
What are they? They’re the world’s protected areas including national parks, nature reserves and community conserved areas and their future is the focus of the IUCN World Parks Congress which takes place 12-19 November in Sydney, Australia. The event will see more than 3,000 delegates from over 160 countries set the international agenda for managing some of the earth’s most valuable... more

IPBES work begins - roll up sleeves

06 January 2014
Bees in the process of honey production
Photo: IUCN Photo Library c Tokiniaina Rasolofoarimanana
Almost 10 years after the launch of the idea and 5 years of intense discussions on the design, IPBES has adopted its first work plan for 2014-2018. The plan includes developing a set of assessments on pollination and food production, land degradation and invasive species aimed at providing policymakers with the tools to tackle pressing environmental challenges.
Artisanal bee hives in the Mount Elgon region of Uganda as part of a project on livelihoods...
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Shark expert and freediver joins IUCN’s ocean conservation mission

20 December 2013
Hammerhead sharks
Photo: Simon Rogerson
Despite the high profile media attention sharks receive, relatively little is known about their biology. Of those shark species that have been assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, nearly half are listed as Data Deficient, which means that we do not have enough information to assess their conservation status. Up to 73 million sharks are killed for their fins each year, and many more are caught as bycatch by fishing operations that target other more valuable fish species. Sharks are also targeted for sports-fishing, commercial trophy-hunting and sporadic... more

Australia to host the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress

20 December 2013
Sydney Harbour National Park
Photo: Trevor Sandwith
Australia will welcome thousands of environment leaders from across the globe after securing the right to host the prestigious IUCN World Parks Congress at Sydney Olympic Park from 12-19 November 2014.
 
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

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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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,... 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... 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... 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... 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,... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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.... 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... more

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

20 September 2013
Conference
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... 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,... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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,... 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... 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... 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.
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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... 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... 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... 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... 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.
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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... 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... 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.... 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... 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... 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... 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.... 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... 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’... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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. Dr Simon Stuart presents Sir David Attenborough with the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal. Photo: Jennifer Luedtke The John C. Phillips Memorial Medal... 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... 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... more