2018 Photo Gallery

 

Mammals

Pteropus niger

The Greater Mascarene Flying Fox (Pteropus niger), is the largest endemic mammal on Mauritius and plays a critical role in maintaining the ecosystem of the islands as both a pollinator and seed disperser of the islands flora. Although showing promising signs of improvement in previous assessments, in 2018 Pteropus niger moved from Vulnerable to Endangered (EN). This increase in extinction risk resulted from an estimated population decline of 50% between 2015 and 2016, attributed to a cull implemented by the government of Mauritius targeting this species. Hunting and reduced legal protection are both predicted to hamper recovery of this species, and deforestation and the spread of invasive plants are expected to decrease the extent and quality of its remaining forest habitat. Photo © Martin D. Parr

Invertebrates

Ornithoptera alexandrae

Endemic to the island of New Guinea, Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae) is the world’s largest butterfly, with a wingspan of up to 250 mm. In 2018 it was reassessed, confirming that the species is still Endangered (EN). Ornithoptera alexandrae is restricted to relatively pristine lowland forest and lower montane rainforest, a habitat that is being destroyed for income-generating plantation crops such as oil palm, timber, cocoa and rubber. The species is also collected (illegally), but this is not as serious a threat to the species as habitat loss. Photo © Mark Joy

Pachyphymus carinatus

The Crested Agile Grasshopper (Pachyphymus carinatus) is widely distributed in the western part of South Africa and also has a number of potential records in Namibia. Although the exact population size is unknown, it is believed to be large, and to not have any major threats that would significantly affect the global population. The species entered the IUCN Red List as Least Concern (LC) in 2018. Photo © Piotr Naskrecki

Ischnura gemina

The San Francisco Forktail (Ischnura gemina) is one of the rarest North American dragonfly species. Previously assessed as Vulnerable, it moved into the Endangered (EN) category in 2018 based on a genuine decrease in the number of localities this species occurs in; several small populations have gone extinct since their discovery. Rapid development in the San Francisco Bay Area appears to be the primary threat driving the decline of this species, although hybridisation with the wide-ranging Black-fronted Forktail (Ischnura denticollis) is also a potential threat. Some uncertainty remains about the distribution of the San Francisco Forktail and a concentrated effort to find new localities for this species, as well as monitoring existing known localities, is sorely needed. Photo © Dennis Paulson

Geomitra grabhami

Geomitra grabhami is endemic to Deserta Grande Island in the Madeira Archipelago. For many years this snail was searched for and not found, leading to the belief that the species was possibly extinct. However, in 2008, and again in 2013, live specimens were found on the eastern coast of Deserta Grande, leading to the species moving from Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) to Critically Endangered (CR). Overgrazing by introduced goats was a threat for this species, however, this has now been greatly reduced. Now, the biggest threat to the very small known population is ground instability and landslides, as it is now only known from a single locality in a recently-formed coastal plateau beneath steep cliffs. Predation by mice may also be a threat, along with the frequency of droughts. Photo © Dinarte Nuno Freitas Teixeira

Plants

Aquilaria malaccensis

Previously assessed as Vulnerable, Aquilaria malaccensis moved into Critically Endangered (CR) in 2018. This large evergreen tree has experienced a more than 80% reduction in population size over the past 150-300 years, driven largely by the demand for the fragrant resin (agarwood) and timber produced by this species. Resin from this tree has a wide range of uses in manufacturing perfumes, religious items, incense, and its timber is also used for building furniture. Demand for this species has resulted in large amounts of unregulated harvesting and trade of its resinous wood. Demand for agarwood is so high in some regions that specialists are employed full time to search for wild populations. This has resulted in the extinction of A. malaccensis in India and for it be considered almost extinct in East Kalimantan. Photo © Ahmad Fuad Morad. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Abutilon pitcairnense

Yellow Fatu (Abutilon pitcairnense) was first discovered on Pitcairn Island in the South Central Pacific Ocean and was presumed extinct until a Pitcairn resident re-discovered a flowering specimen in the native forest in 2003. Despite conservation efforts, involving the planting of cuttings and propagation of seedlings, the last wild surviving plant, unfortunately, died in a landslide in 2005 meaning this species is now classified as Extinct in the Wild (EW). Ex situ conservation efforts are underway to grow and reintroduce the species back into its natural habitat, but reintroduction is unlikely to be successful without the control of a number of invasive alien plant species which would outcompete this Pitcairn endemic. Photo © Martin J Murphy

Ensete perrieri

The Madagascar Banana (Ensete perrieri) is endemic to Western Madagascar and is a relative and a potential gene donor to the commercially grown crop banana. Currently, only known from five mature plants in five locations, which are at risk from burning of forest boundary areas to make way for expanding agriculture. The extremely small population size resulted in this plant making its debut on The IUCN Red List in 2018, assessed as Critically Endangered (CR). With only minimal ex situ conservation in place, and no evidence of in situ conservation occurring for this species, it is recommended that management and monitoring of populations is put in place to protect the wild population, and the collection of germplasm material is undertaken to allow ex situ conservation. Photo © Helene Ralimanana. CC BY-NC 4.0.

Amphibians

Atelopus balios

Previously the Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus balios) was thought to possibly be extinct because repeated surveys within its known range since 1995 failed to find the species. However, a single individual was rediscovered in 2010. Found in the vicinity of Manta Real beside a river in an area dominated by farms and tropical rainforest, this rediscovery sparked renewed interest in this species and subsequently, five more individuals were collected in 2011. With a small known range and a continued decline in its lowland rainforest riverbank habitat, due to degradation and loss due to agricultural expansion (crops and livestock), logging, mining, and pollution, this species moved from Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) to Critically Endangered (CR) in 2018. Photo © Centro Jambatu. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Rhaebo colomai

Previously the Carchi Andes Toad (Rhaebo colomai) was only known from two localities in Ecuador, but after 1984 the species disappeared from these sites and it was then thought to possibly be extinct. However, a new subpopulation was discovered in Colombia, where the species is now regularly recorded. This new information confirms that the species is still alive, resulting in its threat status being changed from Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) to Endangered (EN). This amphibian still faces pressure from habitat change, fragmentation and loss, especially due to agriculture and logging. Spraying of herbicides to control crops is polluting its habitat. Although the locality where the only known population exists is a reserve, habitat outside of this reserve is severely threatened by illicit crops and ongoing fumigation is also being used to eliminate these crops. Photo © Gabriela B Bittencourt-Silva

Ansonia smeagol

Named after J.R. Tolkien’s character Gollum from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings stories, the Precious Stream-Toad (Ansonia smeagol) makes its debut on The IUCN Red List as Vulnerable (VU). Currently, this species is only known from a very small area of montane tropical rainforest in the Titiwangsa Mountain Range of Peninsular Malaysia, and a large and expanding resort and entertainment complex in the area is likely to affect the water quality of stream habitats there. This could cause the rapid degradation of this species, driving it to Critically Endangered or even Extinct if action is not taken to safeguard its future. Given the recent discovery of this amphibian, dedicated searches are needed to confirm whether other populations exist. Meanwhile, protection of the type locality is of crucial importance to ensure this toad’s survival. Photo © CHAN KIN ONN

Reptiles

Varanus mitchelli

Previously known to be common, populations of Mitchell's Water Monitor (Varanus mitchelli) have rapidly declined as a result of their predation on the highly toxic Cane Toad (Rhinella marina), an invasive alien species in Australia. As a result, V. mitchelli entered The IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered (CR) in 2018. The extent of population decline for this species is remarkable with declines recorded as high as 49-97% within three years of arrival of the Cane Toad being reported. Cane Toads are now found across most of this reptile’s range and are projected to invade most of the remainder, a future population decline of at least 80% over the next 18 years is predicted. It is thought that monitor subpopulations stabilize at low levels after the initial population crash, however, currently, there is no compelling evidence of any significant recovery beyond this once Cane Toads have become established in an area. Photo © Jordan Vos

Liopholis kintorei

Assessed as Vulnerable (VU) in the 2018-1 Red List, Australia’s Great Desert Skink (Liopholis kintorei) has disappeared from many sites across its range over the past 50 years and the population is expected to continue declining unless significant conservation action is taken. This species is traditionally hunted by the indigenous Aboriginal people, and whose engagement with the monitoring and conservation of this species is viewed as essential for the long-term survival of this species. The Great Desert Skink is threatened by a complicated interaction of factors, with the destruction of cover and its food source by wildfires being the key driver of change. The removal of this cover by wildfire appears to facilitate an increase in predation by feral cats which is considered to be the main driver of decline. Fire management and suppression of the feral cat population are critical actions to ensure the survival of this reptile. Photo © Martin Whiting

Tympanocryptis pinguicolla

The Grassland Earless Dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla) makes its home in the native temperate grasslands of Australia, a habitat that has been declining since European settlement in Australia over 200 hundred years ago. Just 1% of original native temperate grasslands exist today. The species has a range of threats, including loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat due to urban, industrial and agricultural development, change of grazing and fire regimes, introduced animals, and ploughing. Together the ongoing decline induced by these drivers have resulted in this species moving from Vulnerable to Endangered (EN) in the first update of 2018.  Photo © Dr Will Osborne. Institute for applied ecology, University of Canberra.

Iguana delicatissima

In 2018, the Lesser Antillean Iguana (Iguana delicatissima) moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered (CR). This species has been extirpated from large swaths of its historic range due to habitat loss (agriculture and coastal infrastructure developments). Currently, the single largest threat is from the Common Green Iguana (Iguana iguana). Competitive displacement and hybridization with this invasive iguana has caused a population decline of more than 75% over the past three generations. Dominica is the last stronghold for I. delicatissima because it is currently free of Common Green Iguanas. However, in 2017 Dominica was hit by a major hurricane; recovery efforts are increasing transportation between islands, dramatically increasing the risk of accidental introduction of Common Green Iguanas, and also increasing the intensity of iguana poaching as alternative food sources are sought. This additional hunting pressure has caused a more than 10 fold reduction in iguana numbers in well studied coastal sites on Dominica. With the Common Green Iguana still spreading throughout the region, further declines are expected. Photo © Charles Knapp