2013 Photo Gallery

 

Mammals

Okapi_Okapia johnstoni

Although its striped legs are reminiscent of a zebra, the Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) is the closest living relative of the giraffe. Native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the most prominent current threat to this rainforest-dwelling species is the presence of illegal armed groups in and around key protected areas. These groups prevent effective conservation action, even surveys and monitoring in most sites, and engage in and facilitate poaching, hunting, illegal mining, illegal logging, charcoal production and agricultural encroachment. In a notorious incident in June 2012, armed rebels attacked the Okapi Wildlife Reserve HQ and killed seven people and all 14 captive Okapi. Previously assessed as Near Threatened, new information suggests that the rate of decline is higher than previously thought - the Okapi is now assessed as Endangered and the new data suggest that the Endangered listing should also have applied in the previous (2008) assessment. Photo © Charles Miller (CC BY 2.0)

Island Fox_Urocyon littoralis

Previously assessed as Critically Endangered, the Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis) has been the focus of intense conservation actions since suffering catastrophic population declines in the mid-1990s. This species is restricted to the California Channel Islands, and the decline was largely due to predation by non-native Golden Eagles and infection by canine distemper virus, probably introduced by a raccoon that “stowed-away” on a boat from the mainland. Due to the success of recovery actions such as captive breeding and reintroduction, relocation of Golden Eagles, and vaccination against canine diseases, the total population of mature individuals increased from less than 1,500 in 2002 to over 4,000 in 2011. This fox has now been reassessed as Near Threatened. Photo © kevinschafer.com

White-lipped Peccary_Tayassu pecari

The population decline of the White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari) has recently steepened, resulting in this previously Near Threatened species being reassessed as Vulnerable. The threats causing this decline are habitat loss, illegal hunting, competition with livestock, and epidemics, and it is even disappearing from areas of pristine habitat in the Amazon rainforest. It is uncertain whether the existing network of reserves is adequate to allow the formation of large herds of this species, or that there is sufficient connectivity between reserves to permit recovery when populations crash due to disease epidemics or other reasons. Photo © Ana Luzia de Souza Teixeira Cunha

Yangtze Finless Porpoise_Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis

With a population estimated at about 1,800 in 2006, which has been declining by more than 5% each year, the Yangtze Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis) is Critically Endangered. This subspecies of the Narrow-ridged Finless Porpoise is only found in China's Yangtze River and two adjoining lakes, Poyang and Dongting. This was also the home of the Baiji, which was declared Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) in 2008. Increasing threats to these porpoises include illegal fishing, intense vessel traffic, sand mining and pollution. Photo © Xiaoqiang Wang

Birds

White Cockatoo_Cacatua alba

The White Cockatoo (Cacatua alba) is a popular cage-bird whose wild range is in the northern Maluku Islands of Indonesia. The greatest threat is unsustainable levels of trapping for the cage-bird trade. Catch quotas for the species were exceeded by up to 18 times in some localities, indicating that trappers were removing around 17% of the population each year. Illegal trade continues and is probably grossly underestimated, resulting in this previously Vulnerable species being uplisted to Endangered. Additional threats in some areas come from loss of this bird’s forest habitat, due to exploitation by logging companies and clearance for agriculture and mining. Photo © Qihuii de Hanabi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Kori Bustard_Ardeotis kori

One of the heaviest living animals capable of flight, the Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) has a large but disjointed range in sub-Saharan Africa. It is suspected to be undergoing moderately rapid population declines across much of its range owing to a variety of threats including collisions with power lines, hunting and habitat degradation. Previously Least Concern, it has now been uplisted to Near Threatened. Experts would like to continue raising awareness to stop hunting for bushmeat and traditional medicine, and to encourage the public to report mortality from power lines. All new infrastructure (power lines, wind turbines) should be sited and mitigated appropriately, and dangerous sections of line should be retrofitted with appropriate mitigation. Photo © Steve Garvie (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Black Bustard_Eupodotis afra

Endemic to south-western South Africa, the Black Bustard (Eupodotis afra) was historically very common. However, it appears to have become rarer and its distribution more fragmented, and as result this species has been uplisted from Least Concern to Vulnerable. Conversion of natural vegetation to agriculture is likely to be the primary threat: increasing agricultural activity is likely to not only cause a decrease in suitable breeding territories, but also decreased breeding success as a result of increased disturbance related to farming activities and increased chick and egg predation because of a general decrease in cover and an increase in predators such as Pied Crows. Climate change may also aggravate the threat of habitat loss. Photo © Craig Adam (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Red-cockaded Woodpecker_Picoides borealis

An example of an unintended consequence of conservation action, and the innovative solution to one such problem, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) has now been downlisted from Vulnerable to Near Threatened. Originally distributed throughout the south-eastern USA, from the late 1800s it declined rapidly due to the extensive alteration of mature pine forests. After its listing on the USA Endangered Species Act, landowners harbouring this species had extra restrictions and responsibilities - there was no incentive to create or extend suitable habitat as in doing so a landowner would risk a group of the birds moving in and limiting future options. Many landowners became hostile to the woodpecker and its conservationists, and the population continued to fall. Implementation of the “Safe Harbor” scheme provided the missing incentive, with landowners only responsible for maintaining the initial number of birds on their land and free to carry out additional habitat improvements to encourage new groups to move in without limiting their future options. The decline slowed, and the population may now be stable or slowly increasing. Photo © Martjan Lammertink

Martial Eagle_Polemaetus bellicosus

Africa’s largest Eagle, the Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus), has been uplisted to Vulnerable (previously Near Threatened). It is suspected to have undergone rapid declines during the past three generations (56 years) due to direct persecution by farmers, indirect poisoning, and to a lesser extent drowning in sheer-walled reservoirs, electrocution on power lines, and habitat alteration and degradation. Reduction of its natural prey may lead to an increase in predation on domestic animals which may in turn lead to increased persecution by farmers. Further information on trends across its large range may lead to its further uplisting to Endangered in the future. Photo © Steve Garvie (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Yellow-breasted Bunting_Emberiza aureola

As with many other migratory bird species, the Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola) is encountering threats along its journey which have led to a steep population decline. This bunting breeds across much of the northern Palearctic, from Finland and Ukraine to far eastern Russia, Korea, and northern Japan. In the autumn, birds stop-over in large numbers to moult in the Yangtze Valley, China, before continuing on to their winter quarters in a relatively small region in South and South-East Asia. The decline is probably driven by excessive trapping at migration and, in particular, wintering sites. Roosting flocks are disturbed and then caught in mist-nets; they are cooked and sold as a delicacy. The ongoing decline has led to this previously Vulnerable species now being reassessed as Endangered. Photo © Sergey Yeliseev (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Grey-headed Albatross_Thalassarche chrysostoma

The Grey-headed Albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma) has a circumpolar distribution over cold subantarctic and Antarctic waters, with approximately half the global population breeding on South Georgia. During the non-breeding season South Georgia birds have been recorded making one or more global circumnavigations, the fastest in just 46 days. This huge bird has a long generation length and breeds biennially, making it slow to recover from population declines. This species has been uplisted from Vulnerable to Endangered as data from some major colonies suggest that overall declines are taking place at a very rapid rate. The major driver of declines is likely to be incidental mortality on longline fisheries. Photo © J J Harrison (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Cape Cormorant_Phalacrocorax capensis

The Cape Cormorant (Phalacrocorax capensis) has been uplisted from Near Threatened to Endangered as key colonies in South Africa and Namibia are estimated to have undergone very rapid population declines over the past three generations. Declines are primarily believed to have been driven by collapsing pelagic fish stocks, but the species is also susceptible to oiling and avian cholera outbreaks. This trend currently shows no sign of reversing, and immediate conservation action is required to prevent further declines. Photo © Peter Chadwick

Rodrigues Fody_Foudia flavicans

Previously Vulnerable, the Rodrigues Fody (Foudia flavicans) has been downlisted to Near Threatened following evidence that its population is larger than previously thought and increasing rapidly. Found only on Rodrigues – an outer island of Mauritius – this species is still at some risk because it occupies a tiny range and remains susceptible to stochastic events (such as cyclones and droughts) and the impacts of introduced species. Habitat protection and reforestation, spurred primarily by the need for watershed protection, have been key to the recovery of this species, aided by the recent absence of catastrophic cyclones. Photo © Sarah Caceres and Jean-Noël Jasmin

Reptiles

Mugger_Crocodylus palustris

Last assessed in 1996, the Mugger (Crocodylus palustris) is a mainly freshwater Asian crocodile species which has now been assessed using the latest version (3.1) of the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria for the first time. It maintains its previous assessment of Vulnerable due to a population decline which is thought to exceed 30% over the past three generations of this species (75 years). The species has become locally extinct over large parts of its range, due to habitat destruction, entanglement and drowning in fishing equipment, egg predation by humans, illegal poaching for skin and meat and the use of body parts in medicine, and viable populations now only occur in protected areas. These declines are now thought to have stopped, with populations generally stable or starting to recover. Photo © Steve Garvie (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Leatherback_Dermochelys coriacea

The largest living species of turtle, the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) has a circumglobal distribution, with nesting sites on tropical sandy beaches and foraging ranges that extend into temperate and sub-polar latitudes. Previously Critically Endangered, the global population decrease of the species has slowed and it is now assessed as Vulnerable. However, there are large differences in status between the seven subpopulations, and these have been assessed individually – ranging from Least Concern (Northwest Atlantic Ocean) to Critically Endangered (East Pacific Ocean, Southwest Atlantic Ocean, Southwest Indian Ocean, and West Pacific Ocean) with the remaining two (Northeast Indian Ocean and Southeast Atlantic Ocean) being Data Deficient. Major threats to the species include fisheries bycatch, human consumption of Leatherback eggs, meat, or other products, and coastal development. Photo © Guy Marcovaldi

Puerto Rican Skink_Spondylurus nitidus

The Puerto Rican Skink (Spondylurus nitidus) is one of many Caribbean skinks which have suffered severe population declines largely as the result of predation by introduced mongoose. The mongoose was probably introduced to Puerto Rico and many smaller Caribbean islands in the late 19th Century, coincident with the last known records of several possibly extinct skink species. This species has been seen in the wild recently, in Guajataca State Forest, an area which has apparently so far remained free of mongoose. It is impossible to eradicate invasive mammals from an island as large as Puerto Rico, and captive breeding should be considered a priority. Newly assessed as Endangered, further research into its distribution and rates of population decline may justify listing this species as Critically Endangered. Photo © Alfredo D. Colon Archilla

Abronia vasconcelosii

Abronia vasconcelosii is a species of Arborial Alligator Lizard which inhabits the lower montane moist forest of the Guatemala Plateau. Like the other members of its genus, this species is found almost exclusively in the tree canopy. Although it has been found in several protected areas, it is experiencing a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat due to agricultural activities, logging, fire, and urbanization. This newly-assessed species enters the Red List as Vulnerable. Photo © Antonia Pachmann

Texiguat Earth Snake_Geophis damiani

Assessed for the first time this year, the Texiguat Earth Snake (Geophis damiani) is a Critically Endangered snake only known from the Texiguat Wildlife Refuge, Honduras. It is restricted to intact mid-elevation rain and cloud forest, and is threatened by ongoing deforestation for timber extraction and the expansion of the agricultural frontier. Measures needed are greater resources for refuge operations as well as policies to prevent forest destruction. As of 2012, this refuge was under imminent threat of complete destruction. Photo © Josiah Townsend (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Jeypore Ground Gecko_Geckoella jeyporensis

First seen in 1877, the Jeypore Ground Gecko (Geckoella jeyporensis) was not found again, and it was feared extinct. However, in 2010 it was rediscovered, close to the type locality, and in 2011 it was found again at another site around 40 km away. Its occurrence appears to be highly restricted in high elevation moist forest at the two known sites, with a recent two-day survey failing to locate it in other nearby areas, although there are further high peaks in this hill range where it might be found. Threats to its habitat include deforestation for fuel wood, mining, conversion to plantations, and forest fires, and this newly assessed species enters the Red List as Critically Endangered. Photo © Ishan Agarwal

Helmethead Gecko_Tarentola chazaliae

Assessed for the first time this year, the Helmethead Gecko (Tarentola chazaliae) enters the Red List as Vulnerable. It has a restricted distribution along the coast of Western North Africa, where it is threatened by urbanization and fragmentation of its coastal habitats - almost total transformation of this coastal strip is expected in the coming decade. In addition, this species is regularly found in the pet trade, in relatively high numbers. A population decline of over 30% is expected with the next three generations of this species, and controls on coastal development are urgently required. Photo © Javier Gállego (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 ES)

Green Bush Viper_Atheris chlorechis

The Green Bush Viper (Atheris chlorechis) has been assessed as Least Concern because of its wide distribution. This species is taken from the wild for the international pet trade but there is no evidence that this is currently significant, and it can also be bred in captivity. Deforestation is occurring within its range, however there is no indication that this currently represents a major threat. It may also be at localised risk from pesticide use where it occurs in modified habitats. If exploitation for the pet trade or deforestation increase, significant population declines may occur. Photo © David Williams, Global Snakebite Initiative

Günther's Vine Snake_Ahaetulla dispar

Günther's Vine Snake (Ahaetulla dispar) is endemic to the wet, cool montane tracts of India's Western Ghats. It has a restricted range, and outside of protected areas its habitats are suffering a continuing decline due to the expansion of commercial plantations, e.g. for cardamom and pepper. It is also killed on sight by locals. However, it also occurs in protected areas and is subject to no threats in the northern part of its range. It is therefore assessed as Near Threatened. Photo © Seshadri K S (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Vitilevu Mountain Treeskink_Emoia campbelli

Only known to occur in primary rainforest at high elevations on Viti Levu, Fiji, the Vitilevu Mountain Treeskink (Emoia campbelli) is threatened by continuing habitat loss. Large trees are being logged on the Rairaimatuku Plateau and forest habitat was also lost in the flooding of the Monasavu Dam. Protection of high elevation areas of Viti Levu would benefit this Endangered species, and surveys need to be conducted to determine the distribution of this taxon and to clarify its natural history. Photo © Paddy Ryan

Admiralty Five-striped Skink_Emoia mivarti

The Admiralty Five-striped Skink (Emoia mivarti) has been assessed as Data Deficient on the basis of uncertainty regarding both its distribution and the extent and impact of potential threats. It is endemic to the Admiralty Islands of Papua New Guinea, but how many of the islands it occurs on is unknown, due to confusion over its identification. Threats to the forests of the Admiralty Islands include habitat loss due to logging and clearing for agriculture, and it is possible that the introduced skink species Emoia jakati may displace this native skink from some habitats. Photo © Robert Fisher, USGS

Ono-i-Lau Ground Skink_Leiolopisma alazon

Although it was probably once more widespread in the Ono-i-Lau group, Fiji, the Critically Endangered Ono-i-Lau Ground Skink (Leiolopisma alazon) is now restricted to just three small islets with a combined land area of less than 2 km². As it occurs on islets less than 5 m in elevation, it will rapidly lose habitat to sea level rise. Pigs and cats have been introduced to larger, nearby islands, where this skink is now not found. Both Yellow Crazy Ants and rats are common and widespread throughout the islets where the skink occurs, and skinks appear to emerge from shelter sites only during times of day when ants are not active. Ex situ conservation of this species, and reintroduction onto larger islands (if pigs can be controlled) should be investigated. Photo © Robert Fisher, USGS

Amphibians

Parker’s Forest Tree Frog_Leptopelis parkeri

Parker’s Forest Tree Frog (Leptopelis parkeri) is an Endangered frog endemic to several mountains in the Eastern Arc chain of Tanzania (Uluguru, Udzungwa, East and West Usambara, Nguru and South Pare). Although previously assessed as Vulnerable, the uplisting is not due to a genuine detioration in the species’ status. It is highly likely to be affected by ongoing forest loss and degradation, especially by encroaching small-scale agriculture, particularly in areas where forests remain unprotected. Photo © Michael Kern

Rio Santiago Poison Frog_Excidobates captivus

First found in 1929, the Rio Santiago Poison Frog (Excidobates captivus) was then not seen again until 2006, when 17 individuals were found during an expedition to its type locality. The valley’s inaccessible nature (this valley is only accessible from the east, by river via the Pongo de Manseriche, a gorge that constricts the 750 m wide Marañón to a 120 m wide rapid) and dangerous indigenous unrest prohibited exploration for 77 years before this first known herpetological survey of the region in 2006. This frog is common within its known distribution range and was found in high densities in only two small areas of the Santiago valley. In 2011, this previously Data Deficient species was reassessed as Least Concern, a status it maintains here. Photo © Jean-Francois Brousseau (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Taita African Caecilian_Boulengerula taitana

Caecilians look superficially like earthworms or snakes, but are an order of amphibians found mainly in the tropics. The Taita African Caecilian (Boulengerula taitana) is endemic to Kenya, where it is found only on three of the four Taita Hills. Previously assessed as Least Concern on the basis that it may be widely distributed in these hills, more recent surveys have found it is confined to small patches, as large areas of suitable altitude fall in a rain shadow and this species doesn’t occupy this habitat – it is therefore reassessed as Endangered. Soil and gully erosion of great concern in the Taita Hills, and a serious threat to this soil-dwelling species. Photo © Milvus (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Rancho Redondo Frog_Lithobates vibicarius

Due to a genuine recent improvement in its status, the Rancho Redondo Frog (Lithobates vibicarius) has been downlisted from Critically Endangered to Vulnerable. Previously common in Costa Rica and western Panama, this species’ population declined sharply, and apparently disappeared from Costa Rica by 1990. However, in 2002 a single individual was found, and larvae were found and reared in 2003. There are now three quite healthy populations in Costa Rica, although the status in Panama remains unclear. Photo © Robert Puschendorf

Quyet's Treefrog_Gracixalus quyeti

Quyet's Treefrog (Gracixalus quyeti) is a recently described species with a small range in central Viet Nam. Its population is considered to be severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the area, extent and quality of its forest habitat. Even though part of its distribution is within a National Park, threats include illegal timber logging and forest fires caused by local communities establishing cultivation. It enters the Red List as Endangered, and improved management of the protected area and additional resource protection are needed. Photo © Ralf Hendrix

Hispaniolan Yellow Treefrog_Osteopilus pulchrilineatus

Although it was previously thought to have an area of occupancy of under 500 km², the Hispaniolan Yellow Treefrog (Osteopilus pulchrilineatus) is now known to occupy a larger area of around 1,500 km². This species therefore moves from the Endangered category to Vulnerable. However, although we now know its range to be larger than previously thought, this is continuing to decline along with the extent and quality of available habitat. Streams in Hispaniola are being severely impacted by deforestation due to agricultural activities, logging and charcoaling, as well as mining. The presence of chytrid fungus has been confirmed in some individuals, although it is not yet known whether this is a threat. Photo © Robin Moore

Bale Mountains Treefrog_Balebreviceps hillmani

Endemic to Harenna in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia, the Bale Mountains Treefrog (Balebreviceps hillmani) has recently deteriorated in status and is now assessed as Critically Endangered. Due to ongoing human-induced habitat deterioration through cattle grazing and deforestation for firewood collection and fencing, this species is now only found in an area of 5 km² and the population size is continuing to decrease. Although there is a long-running conservation programme in the Bale Mountains National Park, there is a lack of amphibian-specific activities. There is also increasing encroachment within the Park, so improved park management is needed. Photo © M J Largen

Fishes

Woundfin_Plagopterus argentissimus

Previously assessed as Vulnerable, the once common Woundfin (Plagopterus argentissimus) has undergone a sharp decline in population and range, and is now reassessed as Critically Endangered. Native to the southwest USA, this fish has disappeared from at least 56 km of designated critical habitat in the lower Virgin River in the last twenty years, and abundance has declined to precariously low levels elsewhere. As well as competition and predation from non-native species, the most recent population decline was attributed to high summer temperatures, continued drought, runoff from burned portions of the drainage, and the input of sediment from behind the Quail Creek Diversion Dam. Photo © Brian Gratwicke (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Bluenose Shiner_Pteronotropis welaka

An attractive fish species endemic to Gulf Coast drainages in the USA, the Bluenose Shiner (Pteronotropis welaka) was last assessed as Data Deficient. With new information available, it has been reassessed this year as Vulnerable. Population losses have occurred where streamside vegetation has been removed, or where agricultural or urban development results in stream sedimentation. The shiners' reliance on deep pools of small headwater streams means that these localised impacts can have devastating consequences for small, isolated populations. Populations may also be depleted by excessive collection by aquarists. Photo © Anthony Terceira

Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish_Elassoma okatie

The Bluebarred Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma okatie) is only known from three small areas in southern South Carolina and adjacent Georgia. The populations are not known to be currently threatened, but their occurrence mostly along roadsides makes them vulnerable to habitat alteration and pollution. With its highly restricted range, this species could be quickly driven close to extinction if these threats occurred. It is therefore assessed as Vulnerable, a category it also held in its previous assessment. Photo © Anthony Terceira

Invertebrates

Soulion Bright Bush-cricket_Poecilimon soulion

The Soulion Bright Bush-cricket (Poecilimon soulion) is known from mountainous shrubland in only three localities in northwest and central Greece. There are no data on population size or trend, and the threats to the species are also unknown. In these locations tourism-related development is a potential future threat, but it is not known how this would affect this cricket. If further research shows that tourism or other threats could plausibly seriously impact this species, then it would qualify as Vulnerable – it is therefore currently assessed as Near Threatened. Photo © K.-G. Heller

Usambara Dusky Grasshopper_Aresceutica subnuda

Due to its small range and the ongoing habitat loss the Usambara Dusky Grasshopper (Aresceutica subnuda) is assessed as Endangered. It is endemic to a small area in north Tanzania and south Kenya, where it occurs in clearings and at the edges of submontane rainforest. Deforestation and agricultural land use are the main threats to this species, whose first assessment is published this year. Photo © Axel Hochkirch

Nomada armata

Nomada armata is a bee which is widely distributed over much of Europe, but rare throughout its range. The host of this brood-parasite is Andrena hattorfiana, a bee which specialises in taking pollen from mainly two flower species, Knautia arvensis and Scabiosa columbaria. Changes in agricultural practice (particularly through intensification in the use of grasslands) have reduced the area of suitable habitat and floral resource availability for the host, and as a result the population of Nomada armata has declined at a rate between 10% and 20% in the past ten years. It enters the Red List as Near Threatened. Photo © Andrej Gogala

Arabineura khalidi

One of the dew damselflies endemic to the Arabian Peninsula, Arabineura khalidi is only found in the Hadjar mountains in northern Oman and the United Arab Emirates. When it was last assessed in 2006, little was known about this species and it was categorised as Vulnerable on the basis of a predicted population decline. It is reassessed here as Endangered, as it is now known to also have a very restricted range. Declines of the quality of its habitat as a consequence of water extraction and pollution have also been observed, and these are expected to increase due to the pressure by human activities such as tourism and agriculture. Photo © Huw Roberts

Archineura incarnata

Archineura incarnata is damselfly with a wide range in southern China. It is found by montane streams, and can be locally common. On the basis of its wide range, and since no major threats are known, it has been assessed as Least Concern. However, rather little is known about this damselfly, and it is likely to be impacted locally by deforestation and water pollution in parts of its range. Further research is required on its population size and trends, distribution, ecology, and threats. Photo © Xiaoli Tong

Marbled Cone_Conus marmoreus

Listed as Least Concern, the Marbled Cone (Conus marmoreus) is being gathered for biomedical research for treatment of neuropathic pain. This species from the coral triangle is one of many cone snails whose toxins have potential biomedical applications. The venom of Conus magus has already been developed into an analgesic drug for intractable pain, especially for cancer patients, which is said to be 1000 times as powerful as morphine. Potential applications of other conotoxins include treatment of schizophrenia, helping to stop nerve-cell death after a stroke or head injury, preventing spasms due to spinal chord injuries, and the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Since there are over 600 species of cone snail, some of which are highly threatened and have restricted distributions, it may be that some species are lost before their pharmaceutical potentials can be realised. Photo © G and Ph Poppe

Richard's Cone_Conus richardbinghami

Endemic to the Bimini Chain of Islands in the western Bahamas, Richard’s Cone (Conus richardbinghami) lives at depths from 5-20 m on live coral reefs. It is threatened by over-collection by shell collectors and tourists, as it is a shallow water species with a very attractive shell. As with other cone snails, shells of this species are traded internationally for the collectors’ market. With a restricted distribution, along with a population decline inferred from increasing rarity on the market, this species enters the Red List as Vulnerable. Photo © Alan J Kohn

Conus gauguini

Conus gauguini is endemic to the Marquesas Islands, where it is specifically targeted and is a preferred species of collectors and dealers due to its beautiful shell and medium-large size. It is considered locally uncommon, and in the past four to five years there appears to be have been a decline in availability in the areas that are readily dived. It is close to meeting the thresholds for Vulnerable under criterion B2, and is therefore assessed as Near Threatened. Photo © Alan J Kohn

Prickly Redfish_Thelenota ananas

The Prickly Redfish (Thelenota ananas) is a commercially important species of sea cucumber which has a wide distribution throughout most of the Indo-Pacific. With a medium-high market value, this species is targeted throughout its range. Fishing pressure has dramatically increased since the 1960s and is expected to continue, even as stocks are depleted. This species may also be more vulnerable to overfishing given its low fecundity and late sexual maturation. Populations are estimated to have declined by 80-90% in at least half of its range. It is assessed as Endangered. Photo © Florent Charpin

Blackspotted Sea Cucumber_Pearsonothuria graeffei

Widespread and relatively common in the Indo-Pacific, the Blackspotted Sea Cucumber (Pearsonothuria graeffei) is listed as Least Concern. It is heavily fished in at least 25% of its range (Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Madagascar), however due to its low commercial value it is not readily fished in the other parts of its range. However, this species’ commercial value may increase – for example if higher value species are depleted – and its population should therefore be monitored. Photo © Bent Christensen and BentMedia

Bombus alpinus

Bombus alpinus is restricted to the far north of Europe and alpine areas, where it is highly important for the essential ecosystem service of pollination. The southern mountain populations in particular are threatened by climate change, which is likely to cause a decline in the amount of suitable habitat available. In addition, the population size of this Vulnerable bumblebee is both decreasing and severely fluctuating. Photo © Göran Holmström

Plants

Hungarian Gentian_Gentiana pannonica

The Hungarian Gentian (Gentiana pannonica) is a rare plant with a restricted distribution in the Eastern Alps and Bohemian Forest. A medicinal and aromatic plant, like many other species of Gentiana, this species is used in the treatment of gastrointestinal tract diseases. This species has been exhaustively collected on a large scale by professional root diggers for its use, particularly during the 19th century, with collection of up to 200 kg of roots per collector daily – it is unclear whether collection still continues. Changes in land use have also resulted in declines in the quality and quantity of available habitat for this species which has been assessed for the first time this year as Near Threatened. Photo © Alex Hyde

Bell Heather_Erica cinerea

Abundant in the UK, France and northern Spain, and occurring more widely in western Europe, Bell Heather (Erica cinerea) is classed as Least Concern as its risk of extinction is quite low. However, the area of dry heathland and moors is declining throughout Europe due to overgrazing, inadequate management and peat extraction, and Bell Heather populations have also declined in parts of its range. More detailed information on population declines and threats is needed, particularly in Portugal and Italy, where its distribution is limited. Habitat management of European dry heaths through grazing is required to ensure its survival – this habitat is listed under Natura 2000. Photo © Jim Champion (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Horse Chestnut_Aesculus hippocastanum

Although it has been introduced across Europe and in North America (as early as the 17th Century in the UK), the Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is native to a relatively small range in Greece and the central Balkan peninsula. It has been significantly damaged by the leaf miner moth Cameraria ohridella across its entire native and introduced range. The extent of decline caused by infestation is thought to be insignificant, however, compared to the multiple threats facing its mixed forest habit – including local tourism, pollution, wood extraction, forest fires, soil erosion, and bauxite mining. It is therefore assessed as Near Threatened. Photo © Brian Roy Rosen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Hungarian Thorn_Crataegus nigra

Hungarian Thorn (Crataegus nigra) is a very rare species of hawthorn endemic to the Balkans and Carpathian Basin. Threats include industrialization, clear cutting, rough forest management methods, forestation with alien species, overpopulated game-stock, and shrub clearance. It is given a precautionary assessment of Vulnerable as it is threatened or has disappeared across a significant portion of its range over the past several decades, and continues to decline. Although the population decline can't be accurately estimated with the data available, it may exceed 30% in the past three generations. This species' habitat should be protected, unfavourable forest management methods improved, and game-stock and alien species controlled to protect declining populations. Photo © Jozsef Hamar

Hedychium glabrum

The forests in Yunnan, China, where Hedychium glabrum grows have suffered from intense clearance and fragmentation, and the ability of this recently described ginger species to persist and regenerate in disturbed and secondary forest is unknown. Gingers have enjoyed popularity as an ornamental plant in Asia for centuries, and ornamental gingers have recently rapidly increased in popularity in the western world, prompting an increase in illegal collecting. This taxon has been recently introduced in cultivation by specialist growers – limited stocks and slow propagation may increase the incentive of collecting rhizomes in the wild. On the basis of its small range and probable threats, this species is assessed as Near Threatened. Photo © Leslie Brothers

Talus Fritillary_Fritillaria falcata

Assessed as Endangered, the Talus Fritillary (Fritillaria falcata) is endemic to a few Californian counties and specialized to grow in sloping sites in full sun on a serpentine soil and in the chaparral biome. Threats such as vehicle use, feral pigs, right-of-way maintenance and mining are causing a decline in habitat quality and the population of this species. The species is currently known to occur in only one protected area: San Benito Wilderness Study Area; therefore it is suggested to improve the in situ conservation measures and ensure that more populations are protected in the wild. Photo © Mary Gerritsen

Nesaea stuhlmannii

Threatened by coastal development and habitat conversion for agriculture, including large-scale irrigation schemes for sugarcane and rice, Nesaea stuhlmannii has a restricted distribution in coastal Kenya and around the town of Pangani, Tanzania. One of the seven sites at which this Endangered species was found was a ricefield where an irrigation scheme had just started – it is unlikely to have survived in this habitat. Photo © Quentin Luke

Impatiens cribbii

Impatiens cribbii is an Endangered Tanzanian plant found near streams in grassland and open forest areas. Most collections of this species are from within Kitulo National Park, where its grassland habitat is declining in extent and quality due to the suppression of regular burning and the discontinuing of grazing – there are no conservation actions in place for this species. Another site at which it has been found has been converted to agricultural land. Photo © Quentin Luke

Acridocarpus alopecurus

With a wide range in coastal Kenya and Tanzania including Pemba Island, Acridocarpus alopecurus is assessed as Least Concern. Found in dry evergreen forest, riverine forest margins and open habitat, there is a threat from conversion of habitat for agriculture, but the wide distribution reduces the impact of this threat. However, a variety of this species, Acridocarpus alopecurus var. machaeropterus, is found in a much smaller range and is Endangered due to threats from urban expansion and forest clearance. Photo © Quentin Luke

Dorstenia tenuiradiata

Found in rocky areas of moist woodland or forest in the Taita Hills, Kenya and the Uluguru, Nguru and Udzungwa Mountains and the Mahembe and Mufindi Scarps, Tanzania, Dorstenia tenuiradiata is assessed as Vulnerable. It is found in ten locations with threats from invasive species, hydroelectric projects and habitat conversion for agriculture, causing a decline in the quality and extent of available habitat. Photo © Quentin Luke

Monterey Pine_Pinus radiata

The world's most widely-planted pine, valued for its pulp qualities and rapid growth, Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) is highly threatened within its narrow native range on the coast of California. It was previously considered Lower Risk / conservation dependent (an old category which is being phased out of the Red List) but its area of occupancy has now decreased to just 30 km², resulting in it being reclassified as Endangered. Its main threats include feral goats, attacks by an invasive pathogen, and competiton from other trees in the absense of periodic natural fires. Photo © Aljos Farjon, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Mulanje Cedar_Widdringtonia whytei

The Mulanje Cedar (Widdringtonia whytei) is found only on Mt. Mulanje in Malawi and is acutely threatened with extinction. Its range and population have been severely reduced through excessive felling in the past century. Currently, only dead standing timber is legally harvested but illegal cutting of living trees is a major problem. An increase in the extent and frequency of fires further reduces remaining stands and prevents regeneration, and introduced pests are also a significant problem. By 2030 its remaining population is likely to further decline by over 80%, and it is therefore assessed as Critically Endangered. Photo © Russ Clare

Torrey Pine_Pinus torreyana

At risk from fire, pest epidemics, and disease, the Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana) is Critically Endangered. Its global population, estimated as 4,000-4,500 mature trees, is found in four small subpopulations in southern California. Although part of its population is legally protected in the Torrey Pines State Park, trees outside the reserve are often not protected from development; they are sometimes incorporated in urban landscaping and sometimes felled. Urbanization outside the reserve is ongoing and it is expected that this will result in a continuous loss of mature trees unless all are incorporated in a protected area. Photo © Trevis Schuh

Stemless Gentian_Gentiana acaulis

Although it is threatened in parts of its range by grazing, disturbance by tourists, and overcollection, Stemless Gentian (Gentiana acaulis) is classified as Least Concern. Endemic to Europe, this species has medicinal properties: its roots are traditionally used in mild dyspeptic and gastrointestinal disorders as well as to treat loss of appetite. It is found in montane areas in the Carpathian Mountains, northern Balkan Peninsula, Alps, Apennines, Pyrenees, Cantabrian Mountains and the Sistema Ibérico, and its global population is unlikely to decline severely in the near future. Photo © Malcolm Scott (CC BY-NC 2.0 UK)

Lino di Katia_Linum katiae

Recently described (2011) from Monte Manfriana in the northern Calabria region of southern Italy, Linum katiae (Italian common name Lino di Katia) is assessed as Vulnerable. Although the population is apparently stable and no external threats are known, this flax species has a very small population (around 500 mature individuals) all found with a 4 km² area. Its future survival could therefore be threatened by unpredictable events, as well as intrinsic issues such as inbreeding and limited dispersal. Photo © Domenico Puntillo

Masdevallia atahualpa

With a small range in northern Peru, the epiphytic orchid Masdevallia atahualpa has been assessed as Endangered. The areas where this species has been recorded are subject to agricultural development and forest reduction. The high recorded altitudes for this species may afford it some protection, however, felling for timber may pose a threat even at these high altitudes. So far it has not been found within any protected areas, and it is also possible that it may be targeted by orchid collectors. Photo © Ron Parsons

Dracula antonii

Thought to be endemic to Colombia, Dracula antonii is only known from cultivated plants. The type locality of this orchid is unknown, and there have been no further records of the species in the wild, however it is traded as an ornamental. The vast majority of Dracula species (90%) have only ever been found at three or fewer sites, and it has been estimated that the extinction rates for the genus may be equal to one species extinction every three years due to forest conversion. Since practically nothing is known about this species’ status in the wild, it is assessed as Data Deficient. Photo © Eric Hunt

Bulbostylis pseudoperennis

One effect of the recent global increase in copper and cobalt prices is likely to be the expansion of mining activities in the Katangan Copper Bow (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the Zambian Copperbelt (Zambia). Bulbostylis pseudoperennis is a Vulnerable sedge which is restricted to copper-cobalt outcrops in these areas. The major threats to this species are the disturbance and destruction of its habitat due to mine expansion, as the outcrops it grows on are those which are extensively exploited for these metals' extraction. Photo © Maxime Séleck, Biodiversity and Landscape Unit, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Univeristy of Liege

Hill Turmeric_Curcuma pseudomontana

Hill Turmeric (Curcuma pseudomontana) is an important species for local medicine in the Western and Eastern Ghats of India. The roots are boiled and eaten and said to be beneficial against leprosy, dysentery, cardiac diseases and general debility, while tuber extracts are used to cure jaundice, and women eat boiled tubers to increase lactation. This genus is gaining importance worldwide as a potential source of new drugs. This species was reported to be abundant in the Western Ghats in the 1950s, however, the population has shrunk due to alarming rates of habitat loss and over-harvesting for the medicinal trade. It is currently assessed as Vulnerable. Photo © Shubhada Nikharge, Mumbai

Clifton's Anguloa_Anguloa cliftonii

The rare Clifton's Anguloa (Anguloa cliftonii) is only found in a very restricted area close to Lago Calima, Colombia. This area is known to be popular with recreationalists, and has experienced infrastructure development to accommodate tourists. Additionally, it is possible that this orchid could experience a decline in mature individuals as a result of illicit collection. It is not known to benefit from any conservation measures or to occur in any protected areas, and is assessed as Critically Endangered. Photo © Orchi (CC BY-SA 3.0)