Archived News

Inspiring conservation of Saola and other endemic species in Lao PDR

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

Let’s save amazing species

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

IUCN Bangladesh celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Red List

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

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

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

Adapt or die: lessons from vulture conservation in South Asia

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

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

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

Frozen animal photo exhibition inspired by IUCN Red List

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

The ring binder that shaped conservation as we know it

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

Seagrass habitat declining globally

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

Terre Sauvage Exclusive: Saving Thailand's Blood Wood

04 December 2014
Rosewood habitat - Pang Sida National Park
Photo: Ann & Steve Toon
Highly prized for making reproduction Chinese furniture, Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) is being poached to extinction in the eastern forests of Thailand. Heavily armed gangs of poachers are invading the forests, where poorly armed, under-resourced rangers are fighting a battle to protect the few trees that remain. To address this problem SOS – Save Our Species has provided a Rapid Action Grant to the FREELAND Foundation. FREELAND works with Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to increase the capacity of... more

Widodo Ramono receives IUCN/WCPA Fred M. Packard Award

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

Countries’ economic power does not predict conservation performance

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

Major art exhibition supports IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

28 November 2014
Darshan the Imperial Eagle poses in front of Andy Warhol's Bald Eagle
Photo: Freuds
An inspirational art show celebrating 50 years of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ has opened in London this week. The threatened species-themed exhibit entitled Here Today includes interactive installations and rooms, and features the works of renowned artists such as George Condo, Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol, Gavin Turk, Peter Blake, United Visual Artists, Douglas Gordon, Stephanie Quayle, Gordon Cheung, Oswaldo Macia, Julian Opie, Mariko Mori, Carsten Höller, and Diana Thater. “The aim of... more

Best breeding season yet for Mediterranean Monk Seal colony

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

Eagle soars over London to launch art exhibit supporting threatened species

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

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

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

Global appetite for resources pushing new species to the brink

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

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

15 November 2014
Seized rosewood during patrol in Thap Lan National Park
Updating SOS on project developments from an emergency funding grant for work in Thap Lan National Park, Thailand, Eric Ash of Freeland Foundation, an IUCN Member, is succinct. “While it is critical to support front-line rangers and other park-based stakeholders first and foremost, reducing rosewood poaching requires considerable enforcement efforts at all levels, from the forest, Forests of Thap Lan National Park. Photo: Eric Ash / FREELANDmore

IUCN identifies threatened freshwater biodiversity sites in the Mediterranean

14 November 2014
An inlet on Lake Skadar, Albania and Montenegro. This large Mediterranean lake and its associated catchment is a freshwater Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) supporting at least 24 species of threatened or restricted range freshwater species
Photo: Geert De Knijf
Out of the 167 freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas identified, mapped and validated throughout the Mediterranean region, 75 percent were found outside the boundaries of any pre-existing protected areas or other KBAs, according to the main results of an IUCN assessment revealed today at the IUCN World Parks Congress taking place in Sydney, Australia. The Barada Spring KBA, Syria. This spring was almost completely drained in 2008 to meet the growing needs for water. As...
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'Game-changing visual record' of Great Barrier Reef published

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

Major ivory haul seized in Cameroon

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

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

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

IUCN welcomes 17 new Members

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

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

07 November 2014
Pantropical spotted dolphin swimming in SoNG MPA
Photo: Rubaiyat Mansur
On November 3rd 2014, the Government of Bangladesh declared the country’s first Marine Protected Area, Swatch of No Ground, to safeguard whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and other oceanic species under the Wildlife (Conservation and Security) Act, 2012. The creation of the Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area (SoNG-MPA) Bryde`s whale breaching in the SoNG MPA Photo: Rubaiyat Mansurmore

A royal gift for the ‘Asian unicorn’

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

British zoos and aquariums celebrate Red November

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

Trade and Emerging Infectious Diseases in Amphibians

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

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

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

A good year for Bazaruto's Dugongs

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

Artists unite for threatened species

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

Governments still behind on commitments to avert biodiversity crisis

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

160,000 species by 2020 – will you help?

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

Tiger conservation programme launches call for proposals

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

Inger Andersen named IUCN Director General

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

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

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

IUCN Red List receives Prince Albert II of Monaco Biodiversity Award

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

Tree Kangaroo Friendly Coffee – a triple win story

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

Improvement in protected areas needed to save Madagascar palms

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

IUCN Red List warns about climate change extinctions

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

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

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

Flagship species: how protecting rhinos can help other threatened wildlife

22 September 2014
Rarely seen, yet a potential flagship species according to Bill Konstant
Photo: WWF Indonesia
Marking World Rhino Day, SOS Grantee Bill Konstant, International Rhino Foundation writes this thought provoking article on the role of rhinos as flagship species for conservation. Flagship species, although not a technical term, is often used when referring to the ability of one threatened species to help drive conservation efforts that also benefit others. It’s most frequently applied to what we to refer to as “charismatic mega-vertebrates” – whales, dolphins, elephants, tigers, gorillas and the like – but there are no hard and fast rules for... more

IUCN calls for immediate action to prevent the Vaquita’s extinction

16 September 2014
The vaquita of the Gulf of California is well on its way to extinction. The cause is bycatch in fishing nets
Photo: Cristian Faezi and Omar Vidal
Despite conservation efforts, numbers of Vaquita, a small porpoise found only in Mexico, have continued to decline, from around 600‐800 animals in the early 1990s to about 100 animals today, according to the latest report of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA). The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Cetacean Specialist Group (CSG) has submitted an official statement to the 65th Meeting of the... more

A good news story unfolds for mantas and sharks

11 September 2014
Reef Manta Ray Ventral Shot, Maldives
Photo: Guy Stevens
What did it take to get here? And what will it take to go further? asks Isabel Ender, Conservation Strategy Manager with the Manta Trust, an SOS Grantee. She is speaking via Skype from the Maldives but is referring to new CITES regulations taking effect September 14th 2014 which will control the trade in mantas and 5 species of sharks. In March 2013 at the CITES CoP meeting in Bangkok, scientists, conservationists, organisations and governments brought together enough evidence of the increasing threat these species face and the value of conserving them to achieve... more

Cultural Cooperation and Markhor Conservation in Gilgit-Baltistan

10 September 2014
Markhor in Tree
Photo: WCS Pakistan
In some ways conservation of the Endangered Markhor (Capra falconeri) in northern Pakistan is complicated by geography according to SOS Grantee Mayoor Khan, Progamme Manager with WCS Pakistan. Tapping into the spirit of community that transcends the region’s physical and cultural borders is key. In fact community-based conservation is the only way to protect Markhor across most of their range in Pakistan as they are primarily found in parts of the country where local people own and control their... more

Extinct snail re-discovered in Seychelles

05 September 2014
Aldabra Banded Snail (Rhachistia aldabrae)
Photo: C. Onezia, Seychelles Island Foundation
A field expedition on Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles, has resulted in the re-discovery of the Aldabra Banded Snail (Rhachistia aldabrae), which was declared extinct in 2007. This snail was locally abundant in the 1970s but its numbers fell rapidly, likely due to the increasing frequency of dry years on Aldabra as a result of climate change. The last time a living individual of the species was recorded was in 1997. more

Study describes five new species of Amazonian Saki Monkey

01 September 2014
Male Buffy Saki (Pithecia albicans)
Photo: Russell A. Mittermeier, Conservation International
A major taxonomic revision of the saki monkeys (genus Pithecia) has revealed the existence of five new saki species. Saki monkeys are a secretive group of primates native to the tropical forests of South America. They are often hunted for food, even though their elusive behaviour makes them difficult to find. The study conducted by Dr Laura K. Marsh, primate ecologist and director of the Global Conservation Institute, resulted from 10 years of research involving thorough examination of... more

New nature reserve provides sanctuary for threatened Siberian Taimen

14 August 2014
Tugur River, Khabarovsk, Russia
Photo: Mikhail Skopets
The Wild Salmon Center (WSC), Khabarovsk Wildlife Foundation (KWF), and other partners have succeeded in winning approval for the creation of the Tugursky Nature Reserve, which will protect nearly 80,000 acres of critical habitat within the Tugur Watershed in the Russian Far East’s Khabarovsk Region. A regional decree was signed by the Governor of Khabarovsk to establish the Reserve. The Tugursky Nature Reserve will safeguard key habitat for over 20 species of fish including Chum and Pink Salmon and the threatened Siberian Taimen as well as brown bears, foxes,... more

Between a gill net and a hard place: more pressure on Vaquita

11 August 2014
Gear swaps for vaquita friendly nets continues to make progress
Photo: WWF
The world’s smallest cetacean, the Critically Endangered Vaquita (Phocoena sinus), is facing its most daunting challenge yet. Despite decades of conservation work to protect this porpoise in its limited habitat in the northern Gulf of California, Mexico, an unlikely but illegal trade in wildlife has arisen all to quickly. Chinese demand for the swim bladder of another threatened species – the Totoaba fish (Totoaba... more

Challenges facing management of coastal fisheries and bêche-de-mer in the Pacific

05 August 2014
Pacific Islander diving for bêche-de-mer
Photo: Juergen Freund/WWF
The Pacific Islands region is reaching a critical point in the management of its coastal fisheries (including bêche-de-mer), as unsustainable fishing practices risk the region’s future sustenance, livelihoods and safety. Fisheries ministers from across the Pacific Islands region will discuss how to address these challenges at a three-day meeting this week in Nadi, Fiji. Discussion on fisheries management in the Pacific Islands region tends to focus solely on oceanic tuna fisheries. For example, at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum meeting held in late-July, the... more

True Grit: life on the trail of the rosewood poachers

30 July 2014
Chaloaw Kotud, Ranger
Marking World Ranger Day 31 July 2014, SOS – Save Our Species wishes to bring you to the frontline of conservation. Talking with Chaloaw Kotud, Enforcement Ranger Patrol Team Leader at Thap Lan National Park, Thailand we highlight the work of the unsung heroes worldwide who are charged with protecting our wild heritage. But there is another layer to Chaloaw’s story. He and his team are literally risking their lives 15 days a month while on patrol to intercept and prevent gangs poaching Vulnerable Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) – a... more

Rising murder toll of park rangers calls for tougher laws

29 July 2014
A field ranger keeps a close watch over a wild rhino to which he has been assigned in an African Game Park.
Photo: Chris Galliers © Game Rangers Association of Africa
With poachers responsible for more than half of ranger deaths over the past two years, IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the International Ranger Federation (IRF) call for a toughened stance against wildlife crime globally, marking World Ranger Day celebrated across the globe on 31 July. Fifty-six rangers have lost their lives in the line of duty in the last 12 months, 29 of whom have been killed by poachers, according to the latest information released today by the International Ranger Federation, which has been monitoring ranger deaths since... more

World Tiger Day - New hope despite the numbers?

29 July 2014
Tiger in the Sundarbans
Photo: Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli & Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur
It is a curious thing that there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild right now as we mark World Tiger Day. According to estimates as few as 3000 roam the wilds of the 13 tiger range countries of Asia. That’s a big area and a very low number. In fact we have lost 97% of all wild tigers in a little more than 100 years. Such powerful predators, yet so vulnerable to extinction hemmed in by the inexorable expansion of human society. Populations are isolated from each other in pockets of habitat while exposed to heightened threats of poaching despite being listed... more

Eating pangolins to extinction

29 July 2014
Temminck's Ground Pangolin
Photo: APWG
The enigmatic pangolin, or scaly anteater, is literally being eaten out of existence according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, which shows that all eight species are now threatened with extinction. Resembling an artichoke with legs and a tail, the pangolin is the world’s only truly scaly mammal. Their scales act as armour against natural predators but offer no defence against poachers. The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Pangolin Specialist Group, which is hosted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), warns that... more

Cross River Gorillas and Camera Traps: the value of video technology

28 July 2014
Impressive Male Cross River Gorilla
Photo: WCS
Following the news in March 2014 about the launch of a new species action plan for the Critically Endangered Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), SOS Grantee and IUCN Member, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) successfully captured a bounty of valuable camera trap video sequences from Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary (KGS), Cameroon. So rarely seen in the wild, this series of video sequences allows us to marvel at and learn much more about these impressive primates. From social behaviours to individual identification opportunities, the trail camera shots not only... more

The Sumatran Rhino: Another 200 years? It's your call!

25 July 2014
Ratu (mother) and Andatu (calf), Sumatran Rhinos in Way Kambas National Park
Photo: Bill Konstant, IRF
Have you ever seen a Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)? It is often said, we protect what we know and love, so SOS thought to share a short video of this unique, charismatic and Critically Endangered rhino species to show just what SOS is trying to do - protect threatened species, their habitats and the people who depend on them. And as International Ranger Day approaches (July 31), we also highlight the role of the Rhino Protection Units who work tirelessly to guard the last few Sumatran Rhino from poachers.

One tenth of bird species flying under the conservation radar

24 July 2014
The recently recognised Desertas Petrel is classified as Vulnerable on the 2014 Red List (Olli Tenovuo)
More than 350 newly recognised bird species have been assessed by BirdLife International for the first time on behalf of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Worryingly, more than 25% of these newly recognised birds have been listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List - compared with 13% of all birds - making them urgent priorities for conservation action. The first of a two-part comprehensive taxonomic review has focussed on non-passerine birds – such as birds of prey, seabirds, waterbirds and owls – and has led to the recognition of 361 new species,... more

IUCN Red List wins 2014 Prince Albert II of Monaco Prize for Biodiversity

22 July 2014
IUCN Red List
Photo: IUCN
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is honoured this year, as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, with the announcement that it will receive the 2014 Prince Albert II of Monaco Prize for Biodiversity. Since 2008, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Awards have honoured several international key figures and organizations, for their exemplary action in favour of the environment and the protection of the planet.These awards represent the Foundation’s three priority fields of activity: to limit the effects of climate change, to preserve biodiversity, and to... more

Village Vigilance Committees and the Chimpanzees of Boé, Guinea Bissau

17 July 2014
Young male chimpanzee
Photo: Chimbo
Reporting from Guinea-Bissau, Stichting Chimbo, an SOS Grantee and IUCN Member is resupplying its network of Village Vigilance Committees (CVVs). Deemed critical to helping protect the local population of Endangered West African Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ssp. verus), the project aims to strengthen the 28 CVVs it has created since 2008 by improving their functioning and creating an enabling Meeting of Central Committee...
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The ibises of Tmatbauy village: a model for bird conservation in northern Cambodia?

14 July 2014
White-shouldered Ibis
Photo: Robert Martin-WCS
Tmatbauy village is a special place. Located in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, Tmatbauy is where to go to see the Critically Endangered Giant Ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) and White-shouldered Ibis (Pseudibis davisoni). The chances of spying these rare birds are increasing each season, thanks to an effective conservation model developed and implemented by SOS Grantee and IUCN Member WCS Cambodiamore

Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park – a phoenix rising from the ashes

11 July 2014
A young baboon in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique
Photo: Michael Paredes
Interview with Gregory C. Carr, American entrepreneur and philanthropist who will be a keynote speaker at the IUCN World Parks Congress taking place in November in Sydney. For the past 10 years, Greg Carr has been on a mission to restore Mozambique's famous Gorongosa National Park - which has been ravaged by civil war and environmental destruction - and to help the local people who depend on the natural resources of the greater ecosystem. Greg Carrmore

Liquid assets

11 July 2014
Sargasso Sea
Photo: Sylvia Earle / IUCN
Interview with IUCN Patron Sylvia Earle, legendary underwater explorer and ocean ambassador. She says protecting the ocean is not a choice, it’s an imperative - our health and wellbeing depend on it.
This year’s Hamilton Declaration in which the governments of five countries committed to conserve the Sargasso Sea – a vast patch of mid-Atlantic Ocean known for its rich biodiversity was a landmark in ocean protection, but will it lead to concrete action? The declaration was a groundbreaking commitment. It was the first... more

International Day of the Vaquita

10 July 2014
Photo: © Thomas Jefferson
The Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, is a large and extremely rich body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. Spreading over more than 1,130km of coast and reaching a surface area of 160,00km2, the Gulf of California is listed as one of the 66 Large Marine Ecosystems of the world. Its unique location accounts for some of the most astonishing landscapes on earth, where blue lagoons meet the desert sand. The Sea of Cortez encompasses 898 islands, 244 of which are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list of natural... more

SOS Marine: Collaboration key to saving Bangladesh’s cetaceans from gillnets

10 July 2014
Large mesh size Gillnet fishing boat at the Bengal coast
Photo: Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli WCS
The lives of Bangladesh's fishermen and its coastal cetaceans are intertwined. Regarded as their brethren at sea, fishermen often lament the death of these top predators through entanglement in gillnets. Finding mutually beneficial solutions, Brian Smith and colleague Rubaiyat Mowgli Mansur, working for SOS grantee and IUCN Member, the Wildlife Conservation Irrawaddy dolphins at sea Photo: Rubaiyat Mansur MowgliSociety,... more

Gaming for good: RuneScape raises awareness of rhino conservation challenge

10 July 2014
RuneScape & United for Wildlife raise awareness for rhino conservation
Photo: United for Wildlife
RuneScape has joined United for Wildlife to raise awareness of the illegal trade of rhino horn. A multiplayer online role-playing game, RuneScape has millions of players around the world and takes place in a fantasy world called Gielinor, made up of kingdoms, regions and cities. RuneScape & United for Wildlife raise awareness for rhino conservation Photo: United for Wildlifemore

SOS Marine: WildAid Launches Campaign to Reduce Consumption of Manta Ray Gills in China

09 July 2014
Manta Ray of Hope
Photo: Shawn Heinrichs
Influencing consumer behaviour toward protecting a species such as the iconic Manta Ray is a nuanced and lengthy process gaining awareness, changing attitudes and finally changing actions. It is work that SOS Grantee WildAid, has been doing for some time using a toolkit including celebrity ambassadors, social media, television and billboard advertising to win hearts and minds. First and key, however, is up toWorth more alive than dead Photo: Shawn Heinrichs for WildAidmore

Study demands new strategy to save species

02 July 2014
A Yellow Hornbill in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Photo: IUCN Photo Library © Jim Thorsell
A team of scientists working in partnership with IUCN has revealed that intergovernmental commitments to expand global protected areas could still leave many species in danger of disappearing from our planet. A strategy to expand protected areas from 13% to 17% of the earth's land surface by 2020 was put in place as part of the 20 Aichi Targets in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) strategic plan in Nagoya, Japan in 2010. However, the 'gap analysis' study, which will be presented as part of the 'Reaching Conservation Goals' stream at the World Parks... more

From despair to repair: Dramatic decline of Caribbean corals can be reversed

02 July 2014
Rainbow parrotfish grazing in the Caribbean
Photo: Shutterstock
With only about one-sixth of the original coral cover left, most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years, primarily due to the loss of grazers in the region, according to the latest report by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report, Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: Caribbean reefs with unhealthy corals,</i>...
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Enforcement paying off for the Atlantic humpback dolphin of Western Africa

30 June 2014
Illegal trawler greeted at anchorage
Photo: WCS
Like many threatened species, the Vulnerable Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszii) is under pressure from anthropogenic activities. Industrial and commercial scale fishing forces locally-based artisanal fishers to within 200 metres of the beach – using their nets in critical habitat for this poorly understood Humpback dolphins near the border of Gabon and Congo. They are known to routinely traverse this...
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Javan Rhinos: Rangers protect the unseen

27 June 2014
UKNP Ranger Protection Unit and Bill Konstant
Photo: IRF
Like the semi-mystical Saola, the Critically Endangered Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is rarely seen. That does not dishearten the 16 members of Java's 4-man Rhino Protection Units (RPUs), however. Trekking hundreds of kilometers through the dense jungle of Ujung Kulon National Park (UKNP) each year, these teams are... more

More good news for Saola as rangers collect over 7,800 snares

25 June 2014
Wildlife Enforcement Rangers on patrol in PST ESCA
How do you protect what you never see and of which we know so little? According to SOS Grantee and IUCN Member, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Alex McWilliam, Deputy Director of the WCS Lao PDR Programme, by far the greatest immediate threat to the survival of the Saola throughout its range is unregulated illegal hunting mainly by way of tens of thousands of snares. He and his project team removed more than 7,800 wire snares from Phou Sithone Endangered Species Conservation Area (ESCA) in Lao PDR between October 2012 and March 2014. In a field report, Alex... more

Systemic pesticides pose global threat to biodiversity and ecosystem services

24 June 2014
Wheat growing in India
Photo: Kazimuddin Ahmed
The conclusions of a new meta-analysis of the systemic pesticides neonicotinoids and fipronil (neonics) confirm that they are causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species and are a key factor in the decline of bees. Concern about the impact of systemic pesticides on a variety of beneficial species has been growing for the last 20 years but the science has not been considered conclusive until now. Undertaking a full analysis of all the available literature (800 peer-reviewed reports) the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides – a group... 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

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
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
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
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: ©
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
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