The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable".
Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to sustainable development in its projects. Unlike many other international environmental organisations, IUCN does not itself aim to mobilize the public in support of nature conservation. It tries to influence the actions of governments, business and other stakeholders by providing information and advice, and through building partnerships. The organization is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.
IUCN has a membership of over 1400 governmental and non-governmental organizations. Some 16,000 scientists and experts participate in the work of IUCN commissions on a voluntary basis. It employs approximately 1000 full-time staff in more than 50 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland.
IUCN has observer and consultative status at the United Nations, and plays a role in the implementation of several international conventions on nature conservation and biodiversity. It was involved in establishing the World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. In the past, IUCN has been criticized for placing the interests of nature over those of indigenous peoples. In recent years, its closer relations with the business sector have caused controversy.
IUCN was established in 1948. It was previously called the International Union for the Protection of Nature (1948–1956) and the World Conservation Union (1990–2008).
|International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)|
|Founded||5 October 1948 (as International Union for the Protection of Nature)|
|Focus||Nature conservation, biodiversity|
|Inger Andersen (Director General) |
Zhang Xinsheng (President)
|CHF 114 million / US$ 116 million (2013)|
|Over 1,000 (worldwide)|
IUCN was established on 5 October 1948, in Fontainebleau, France, when representatives of governments and conservation organizations signed a formal act constituting the International Union for the Protection of Nature (IUPN). The initiative to set up the new organisation came from UNESCO and especially from its first Director General, the British biologist Julian Huxley.
The objectives of the new Union were to encourage international cooperation in the protection of nature, to promote national and international action and to compile, analyse and distribute information. At the time of its founding IUPN was the only international organisation focusing on the entire spectrum of nature conservation (an international organisation for the protection of birds, now BirdLife International, had been established in 1922.)
Early years: 1948–1956:47–63
IUPN started out with 65 members. Its secretariat was located in Brussels. Its first work program focused on saving species and habitats, increasing and applying knowledge, advancing education, promoting international agreements and promoting conservation. Providing a solid scientific base for conservation action was the heart of all activities; commissions were set up to involve experts and scientists.
IUPN and UNESCO were closely associated. They jointly organized the 1949 Conference on Protection of Nature (Lake Success, USA). In preparation for this conference a list of gravely endangered species was drawn up for the first time, a precursor of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the early years of its existence IUCN depended almost entirely on UNESCO funding and was forced to temporarily scale down activities when this ended unexpectedly in 1954.
IUPN was successful in engaging prominent scientists and identifying important issues such as the harmful effects of pesticides on wildlife but not many of the ideas it developed were turned into action. This was caused by unwillingness to act on the part of governments, uncertainty about the IUPN mandate and lack of resources. In 1956, IUPN changed its name to International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Increased profile and recognition: 1956–1965:67–82
In the 1950s and 1960s Europe entered a period of economic growth and formal colonies became independent. Both developments had impact on the work of IUCN. Through the voluntary (i.e. pro bono) involvement of experts in its Commissions IUCN was able to get a lot of work done while still operating on a low budget. It expanded its relations with UN-agencies and established links with the Council of Europe. In 1961, at the request of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nations Economic and Social Council, IUCN published the first global list of national parks and protected areas which it has updated ever since. IUCN's best known publication, the Red Data Book on the conservation status of species, was first published in 1964.
IUCN began to play a part in the development of international treaties and conventions, starting with the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Environmental law and policy making became a new area of expertise.
Africa was the focus of many of the early IUCN conservation field projects. IUCN supported the ‘Yellowstone model’ of protected area management, which severely restricted human presence and activity in order to protect nature. IUCN and other conservation organisations were criticized for protecting nature against people rather than with people. This model was initially also applied in Africa and played a role in the decision to remove the Maasai people from Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
To establish a stable financial basis for its work, IUCN participated in setting up the World Wildlife Fund (1961) (now the World Wide Fund for Nature WWF). WWF would work on fundraising, public relations, and increasing public support. IUCN would continue to focus on providing sound science and data, and developing ties with international bodies. Funds raised by WWF would be used to cover part of the operational costs of IUCN. Also in 1961, the IUCN headquarters moved from Belgium to Morges in Switzerland.
Consolidating its position in the international environmental movement: 1966–1975:110–124
Public concerns about the state of the environment in the sixties and seventies led to the establishment of new NGOs, some of which (e.g. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth) also worked globally. Many of these new organisations were more activist and critical of government than IUCN which remained committed to providing science-based advice to governments. As a result, IUCN was criticized by some as being old-fashioned and irrelevant.
IUCN's membership still grew (from 200 in 1961 to 350 in 1974) and its formal standing and influence increased. A grant from the Ford Foundation in 1969 enabled it to boost its secretariat and expand operations. During the 1960s, IUCN lobbied the UN General Assembly to create a new status for NGOs. Resolution 1296, adopted in 1968, granted 'consultative' status to NGOs. IUCN itself was eventually accredited with six UN organizations. IUCN was one of the few environmental organisations formally involved in the preparations of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972). The Stockholm Conference eventually led to three new international conventions, with IUCN involved in their drafting and implementation:
IUCN entered into an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP to provide regular reviews of world conservation. The income this generated, combined with growing revenue via WWF, put the organisation on relatively sound financial footing for the first time since 1948.
This period saw the beginning of a gradual change in IUCN's approach to conservation. Ensuring the survival of habitats and species remained its key objective, but there was a growing awareness that economic and social demands had to be taken into account. IUCN started to publish guidelines on sustainable development. In 1975 the IUCN General Assembly passed a resolution to retain indigenous peoples and cater for their traditional rights in National Parks and protected areas. As a result, IUCN became more appealing to organisations and governments in the developing world.
The World Conservation Strategy 1975–1985:132–165
In the late seventies, between its General Assemblies in Kinshasha (1975) and Ashkabad (1978), IUCN went through a phase of turbulence in governance and management. Its work program continued to grow, in part as a result of the partnership with WWF. In 1978, IUCN was running 137 projects, largely in the global south. The involvement of representatives from the developing world in the IUCN Council, Committees and staff increased.
In 1975 IUCN started work on the World Conservation Strategy.
The drafting process – and the discussions with the UN agencies involved – led to an evolution in thinking within IUCN and growing acceptance of the fact that conservation of nature by banning human presence no longer worked. (The debate about the balance between strict nature protection and conservation through sustainable development would, however, continue within IUCN well into the 1999
s.) The World Conservation Strategy was launched in 35 countries simultaneously on 5 March 1980. It set out fundamental principles and objectives for conservation worldwide, and identified priorities for national and international action. It is considered one of the most influential documents in 20th century nature conservation and one of the first official documents to introduce the concept of sustainable development. The Strategy was followed in 1982 by the World Charter for Nature, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, after preparation by IUCN.
In 1980, IUCN and WWF moved into shared new offices in Gland, Switzerland. This marked a phase of closer cooperation with WWF. It was the support of WWF that allowed IUCN to weather a financial crisis in 1980–1982. The close ties between IUCN and WWF were severed in 1985 when WWF decided to take control of its own field projects, which so far had been run by IUCN. In 1989, IUCN moved into a separate building in Gland, close to the offices it had shared with WWF.
Sustainable development and regionalisation: 1985 to present day:176–222
In 1982, IUCN set up a Conservation for Development Centre within its secretariat. The Centre undertook projects to ensure that nature conservation was integrated in development aid and in the economic policies of developing countries. Over the years, it supported the development of national conservation strategies in 30 countries. Several European countries began to channel considerable amounts of bilateral aid via IUCN's projects. Management of these projects was primarily done by IUCN staff, often working from the new regional and country offices IUCN set up around the world. This marked a shift within the organisation. Previously the volunteer Commissions had been very influential, now the Secretariat and its staff began to play a more dominant role. Initially, the focus of power was still with the Headquarters in Gland but the regional offices and regional members’ groups gradually got a bigger say in operations.
In spite of the increased attention for sustainable development, the protection of habitats and species remained a core activity of IUCN. Special programs were developed for Antarctica, tropical forests and wetlands, and IUCN expanded its operations in Latin America.
In 1991, IUCN (together with UNEP and WWF) published Caring for the Earth, a successor to the World Conservation Strategy. It was published in the run-up to the Earth Summit, the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The World Conservation Strategy, Caring for the Earth, and the Global Diversity Strategy (also published in 1992 by UNEP, IUCN, and WRI) are considered hugely influential in shaping the global environmental agenda. They lay the foundations for the Convention on Biological Diversity, a new global treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity developed by UNEP with support from IUCN, the Framework Convention on Climate Change and Agenda 21.
Social aspects of conservation were now integrated in IUCN's work; projects began to take account of the role of women in natural resource management and to value the knowledge indigenous peoples have about their natural environment. At the General Assembly in 1994 the IUCN mission was redrafted to its current wording to include the equitable and ecologically use of natural resources.
IUCN's current work makes direct contributions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, IUCN's Programme 2017–2020 focusing on SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger), SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), SDG 5 (Gender equality), SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation), SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 14 (Life below water), SDG 15 (Life on land), SDG 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions), SDG 17 (Partnerships for the goals).
Closer to business: 2000 to present day
Since the creation of IUCN in 1948, IUCN Members have passed more than 300 resolutions that include or focus on business related activities. The range of topics covers in these resolutions varies greatly, including a focus on fisheries, tourism, agriculture, the extractive industries and the business sector in general.
The increased attention on sustainable development as a means to protect nature brought IUCN closer to the corporate sector. A discussion started about cooperation with business, including the question if commercial companies could become IUCN members. The members decided against this, but IUCN did forge a partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. IUCN renewed a multi-year MOU with them with WBCSD in December 2015.
In 1996, after decades of seeking to address specific business issues, IUCN's Members asked for a comprehensive approach to engaging the business sector. Resolution 1.81 of the IUCN World Conservation Congress held that year “urged IUCN Members and the Director General, based on the need to influence private sector policies in support of the Mission of IUCN, to expand dialogue and productive relationships with the private sector and find new ways to interact with members of the business community”.
The IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Program (BBP) was established in 2003 to influence and support private partners in addressing environmental and social issues. The Program wants to engage with business sectors that have a significant impact on natural resources and livelihoods to promote sustainable use of natural resources. In 2004, the first IUCN Private Sector Engagement Strategy was developed (in response to Council Decision C/58/41). Most prominent in the Business and Biodiversity Program is the five-year collaboration IUCN started with the energy company Shell International in 2007. The aim was to mitigate the environmental impact of Shell's operations. The partnership almost immediately came under fire from IUCN's members, especially the NGO-members who feared for IUCN's reputation. At the World Conservation Congress (formerly the IUCN General Assembly) in Barcelona in 2008 NGO-members tabled a motion to terminate the Shell contract. The proposal was narrowly defeated.
In 2012, at the World Conservation Congress held in the Republic of South Korea, the Union adopted a more focused approach to enable IUCN to deliver both on‐the‐ground results and fit‐for‐purpose knowledge products, working with many agencies, including business. The Business Engagement Strategy (2012) calls on IUCN to prioritise engagement with business sectors that have a significant impact on natural resources and livelihoods. These include: large 'footprint' industries, such as: mining and oil and gas; biodiversity-dependent industries including fishing, agriculture and forestry; and, financial services and “green” enterprises such as organic farming, renewable energy and nature-based tourism.
Furthermore, the IUCN Operational Guidelines for Business Engagement offer critical support to the implementation of the IUCN Business Engagement Strategy. First developed in 2006, and then revised in 2009 and again in 2015, they provide a consistent approach to the management of risks associated with engaging business, as well as outline the opportunities between the different types of engagement.
Today, the Business and Biodiversity Programme continues to set the strategic direction, coordinate IUCN's overall approach and provide institutional quality assurance in all business engagements. The Programme ensures that the Business Engagement Strategy is implemented through IUCN's global thematic and regional programmes as well as helps guide the work of IUCN's six Commissions.
Championing Nature-based Solutions: 2009 to present day
The emergence of the NbS concept in environmental sciences and nature conservation contexts came as international organisations, such as IUCN and the World Bank, searched for solutions to work with ecosystems rather than relying on conventional engineering interventions (such as seawalls), to adapt to and mitigate climate change effects, while improving sustainable livelihoods and protecting natural ecosystems and biodiversity.
IUCN actively promoted the NbS concept in its 2009 position paper on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 15, and in 2012 IUCN formally adopted NbS as one of the three areas of work within its 2013–2016 Programme.
At the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016, IUCN Members agreed on a definition of nature-based solutions. Nature-based Solutions are defined as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”. Members also called for governments to include nature-based solutions in strategies to combat climate change . A report, Nature-based solutions to address global societal challenges, was launched at the Congress, and includes a set of general principles for any NbS intervention.
Implementing NbS at scale can help countries achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals. It can also help them achieve the land degradation neutrality goal of the UNCCD, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the CBD, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Some key dates in the growth and development of IUCN:
According to its website, IUCN works on the following themes: business, climate change, economics, ecosystems, environmental law, forest conservation, gender, global policy, marine and polar, protected areas, science and knowledge, social policy, species, water and world heritage.
IUCN works on the basis of four-year programs, determined by the membership. In the IUCN Programme for 2017–2020 conserving nature and biodiversity is inextricably linked to sustainable development and poverty reduction. IUCN states that it aims to have a solid factual base for its work and takes into account the knowledge held by indigenous groups and other traditional users of natural resources.
The IUCN Programme 2017–2020 identifies three priority areas:
1. Valuing and conserving nature.
2. Promoting and supporting effective and equitable governance of natural resources
Unlike other environmental organisations, IUCN does not itself aim to directly mobilize the general public. Education has been part of IUCN's work program since the early days but the focus is on stakeholder involvement and strategic communication rather than mass-campaigns.
IUCN runs field projects for habitat and species conservation around the world. It produces the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems which in a similar way measures risks to ecosystems. The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems is a global standard to assess the conservation status of ecosystems. It is applicable at local, national, regional and global levels. It is based on a set of rules, or criteria, for performing evidence-based, scientific assessments of the risk of ecosystem collapse, as measured by reductions in geographical distribution or degradation of the key processes and components of ecosystems.
IUCN participates in efforts to restore critically endangered species. In 2012 it published a list of the world's 100 most threatened species. It wants to expand the global network of national parks and other protected areas and promote good management of such areas, for example through the publication of the Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas. IUCN is the governing body responsible for the development of the Protected Area Management Categories into which each protected area is divided depending on its conservation requirements and management aims. It also developed a standard to identify Key Biodiversity Areas — places of international importance for conservation. In particular, it focuses on greater protection of the oceans and marine habitats.
Examples of endangered species and threatened habitats that are the focus of IUCN programs
IUCN has a growing program of partnerships with the corporate sector to promote sustainable use of natural resources. Globally, IUCN collaborates with Black Mountain Mining, Nespresso, Rio Tinto, Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd, Shell, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Ltd., the International Olympic Committee, Natural Capital Coalition, Renova Foundation, Tiffany Foundation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and others.
At the national and regional level, IUCN also works with Marriott International in Thailand, the Zambezi Valley Development Agency (ADPP) in Mozambique, Minh Phu – the largest shrimp exporter in Vietnam, Xingzhitianxia Media Company in China, the Secretariat of the Southern Agriculture Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), Tata Steel in India, Engro Elengy Terminal (Pvt) Ltd in Pakistan, to name a few.
On the national level, IUCN helps governments prepare national biodiversity policies. Internationally, IUCN provides advice to environmental conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES and the Framework Convention on Climate Change. It advises UNESCO on natural world heritage.
It has a formally accredited permanent observer mission to the United Nations in New York. According to its own website, IUCN is the only international observer organization in the UN General Assembly with expertise in issues concerning the environment, specifically biodiversity, nature conservation and sustainable natural resource use.
IUCN has official relations with the Council of Europe, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
As an organization, IUCN has three components: the member organizations, the six scientific commissions, and the secretariat.
IUCN Members are states (making IUCN a supranational GONGO), government agencies, international nongovernmental organizations, national nongovernmental organizations, and indigenous peoples’ organisations. In 2017, IUCN had 1400 members. The members can organize themselves in national or regional committees to promote cooperation. In 2016, there were 62 national committees and 7 regional committees.
The six IUCN Commissions involve 16,000 volunteer experts from a range of disciplines. They 'assess the state of the world's natural resources and provide the Union with sound know-how and policy advice on conservation issues'.
The Secretariat is led by the Director General. For management of its operations IUCN distinguishes eight geographical regions; each is led by a director who reports to the Director General.
The IUCN head office is in Gland, Switzerland. Eight regional offices implement IUCN's program in their respective territories. Since 1980, IUCN has established offices in more than 50 countries. The total number of staff grew from 100 (1980) to around 1,000 (2014); nearly all this growth was in the national and regional offices. Approximately 150 staff are based in the head office.
The World Conservation Congress (Members’ Assembly) is IUCN's highest decision-making body. The Congress convenes every four years, most recently in Hawaii (2016) and previously in Jeju, South Korea (2012). It elects the Council, including the President, and approves IUCN's workprogram for the next four years, and budget.
The IUCN Council is the principal governing body of IUCN. The Council provides strategic direction for the activities of the Union, discusses specific policy issues and provides guidance on finance and the membership development of the Union. The Council is composed of the President, four Vice Presidents (elected by the Council from among its members), the Treasurer, the Chairs of IUCN's six Commissions, three Regional Councillors from each of IUCN's eight Statutory Regions and a Councillor from the State in which IUCN has its seat (Switzerland). IUCN's current President is Zhang Xinsheng.
The Council appoints a Director General, who is responsible for the overall management of IUCN and the running of the Secretariat. Inger Andersen is IUCN Director General since January 2015. She succeeded Julia Marton-Lefèvre.
IUCN Presidents since 1948
IUCN Directors General since 1948
IUCN's total income in 2013 was 114 million CHF, equaling approximately 95 million Euro or 116 million US dollar.
IUCN's funding mainly comes from Official Development Assistance budgets of bilateral and multilateral agencies. This represented 61% of its income in 2013. Additional sources of income are the membership fees, as well as grants and project funding from foundations, institutions and corporations.
IUCN is considered one of the most influential conservation organisations in the world and, together with WWF and the World Resources Institute (WRI), is seen as a driving force behind the rise of the influence of environmental organisations at the UN and around the world.
It has established a network covering all aspects of global conservation via its worldwide membership of governmental and non-governmental organisations, the participation of experts in the IUCN Commissions, formal involvement in international agreements, ties to intergovernmental organisations and increasingly partnerships with international business. The World Conservation Congress and the World Parks Congress events organised by IUCN are the largest gatherings of organisations and individuals involved in conservation worldwide. They involve governmental organisations, NGOs, media, academia and the corporate sector.
According to some, IUCN is not only a major global player in conservation action, but also has considerable influence in defining what nature conservation actually is. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems determine which species and natural areas merit protection. Through the Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas and the system of IUCN protected area categories IUCN influences how protected areas are managed.
The relevance of the scientific insights and the data that IUCN produces are not often drawn into question, but IUCN has encountered criticism in other matters.
It has been claimed that IUCN put the needs of nature above those of humans, disregarding economic considerations and the interests of indigenous peoples and other traditional users of the land. Until the 1980s IUCN favored the "Yellowstone Model’ of conservation which called for the removal of humans from protected areas. The expulsion of the Maasai people from Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is perhaps the best known example of this approach.
This is linked to another criticism that has been directed at IUCN, namely that throughout its history it has mainly been ‘Northern focused’, i.e. had a West-European or North-American perspective on global conservation. Some critics point to the fact that many individuals involved in the establishment of IUCN had been leading figures in the British Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of Empire, which wanted to protect species against the impact of ‘native’ hunting pressure in order to safeguard hunting by Europeans. The fact that at least until the 1990s, most of IUCN staff, the chairs of the Commissions and the IUCN President came from western countries has also led to criticism. Over the past decade, IUCN has changed its approach. It now aims to work in close cooperation with indigenous groups. It has also become more regionalized in its operations and more truly global in its staffing. At the 2016 World Conservation Congress, IUCN introduced a new membership category for indigenous peoples’ organisations in recognition of their role in conserving the planet.
More recently, activist environmental groups have argued that IUCN is too closely associated with governmental organisations and with the commercial sector. IUCN's cooperation with Shell came in for criticism, also from its own membership. IUCN's close partnership with Coca Cola in Vietnam – where they have together been launching Coca-Cola-focused community centers – has also drawn some criticism and allegations of greenwashing. Its decision to hold the 2012 World Conservation Congress on Jeju Island, South Korea, where the local community and international environmental activists were protesting against the construction of a navy base also led to controversy. IUCN remains committed to its partnerships with the business sector, seeing sustainable development as the way to ensure long-term protection of natural areas and species.
IUCN has a wide range of publications, reports, guidelines and databases related to conservation and sustainable development. It publishes or co-authors more than 100 books and major assessments every year, along with hundreds of reports, documents and guidelines. In 2015, 76 IUCN articles were published in peer reviewed scientific journals.
A report, released at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney on 13 November 2014 showed that the 209,000 conservation reserves around the world now cover 15.4 per cent of the total land area. The new figures are a step in the right direction of protecting 17 percent of land and 10 percent of ocean environments on Earth by 2020 since an agreement between the world's nations at the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Japan in 2010.
At its World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in 2016, the IUCN launched a report Explaining ocean warming: causes, scale, effects and consequences, one of the most comprehensive reviews to date on ocean warming.
The organisation changed its name to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1956 with the acronym IUCN (or UICN in French and Spanish). This remains our full legal name to this day.
A critically endangered (CR) species is one that has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.As of 2014, there are 2,464 animal and 2,104 plant species with this assessment, compared with 1998 levels of 854 and 909, respectively.As the IUCN Red List does not consider a species extinct until extensive, targeted surveys have been conducted, species that are possibly extinct are still listed as critically endangered. IUCN maintains a list of "possibly extinct" CR(PE) and "possibly extinct in the wild" CR(PEW) species, modelled on categories used by BirdLife International to categorize these taxa.Data deficient
A data deficient (DD) species is one which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as offering insufficient information for a proper assessment of conservation status to be made. This does not necessarily indicate that the species has not been extensively studied; but it does indicate that little or no information is available on the abundance and distribution of the species.
The IUCN recommends that care be taken to avoid classing species as "data deficient" when the absence of records may indicate dangerously low abundance: "If the range of a taxon is suspected to be relatively circumscribed, if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the last record of the taxon, threatened status may well be justified" (see also precautionary principle).Genet (animal)
A genet (pronounced or ) is a member of the genus Genetta, which consists of 14 to 17 species of small African carnivorans.
Genet fossils from the Pliocene have been found in Morocco. The common genet is the only genet present in Europe and occurs in the Iberian Peninsula and France.Herring
Herring are forage fish, mostly belonging to the family Clupeidae.
Herring often move in large schools around fishing banks and near the coast. The most abundant and commercially important species belong to the genus Clupea, found particularly in shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea, as well as off the west coast of South America. Three species of Clupea are recognised, and provide about 90% of all herrings captured in fisheries. Most abundant of all is the Atlantic herring, providing over half of all herring capture. Fishes called herring are also found in the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Bay of Bengal.
Herring played a pivotal role in the history of marine fisheries in Europe, and early in the 20th century, their study was fundamental to the evolution of fisheries science. These oily fish also have a long history as an important food fish, and are often salted, smoked, or pickled.IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), founded in 1965, has evolved to become the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. With its strong scientific base, the IUCN Red List is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity. A series of Regional Red List are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit.
The IUCN Red List is set upon precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. The aim is to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the international community to try to reduce species extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (1996), the formally stated goals of the Red List are (1) to provide scientifically based information on the status of species and subspecies at a global level, (2) to draw attention to the magnitude and importance of threatened biodiversity, (3) to influence national and international policy and decision-making, and (4) to provide information to guide actions to conserve biological diversity.Major species assessors include BirdLife International, the Institute of Zoology (the research division of the Zoological Society of London), the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and many Specialist Groups within the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). Collectively, assessments by these organizations and groups account for nearly half the species on the Red List.
The IUCN aims to have the category of every species re-evaluated every five years if possible, or at least every ten years. This is done in a peer reviewed manner through IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Specialist Groups, which are Red List Authorities responsible for a species, group of species or specific geographic area, or in the case of BirdLife International, an entire class (Aves).List of Asian animals extinct in the Holocene
The list of extinct animals of Asia features the animals that have become extinct along the history in the Asian Continent. This list only involves extinctions of the Holocene epoch.List of North American animals extinct in the Holocene
This is an incomplete list of extinct animals of North America. This list covers only extinctions from the Holocene epoch, a geological period that extends from the present day back to about 10,000 radiocarbon years, approximately 11,430 ± 130 calendar years BP (between 9560 and 9300 BC).List of amphibians of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a tropical island situated close to the southern tip of India. It is situated in the middle of Indian Ocean. Because of being an island, Sri Lanka has rich endemic terrestrial and freshwater fauna, including vertebrates and several invertebrates.List of lemur species
Lemurs are strepsirrhine primates, all species of which are endemic to Madagascar. They include the smallest primate in the world, Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, which weighs 30 grams (1.1 oz), and range up to the size of the indri, which can weigh as much as 9.5 kilograms (21 lb). However, recently extinct species grew much larger. As of 2010, five families, 15 genera, and 101 species and subspecies of lemur were formally recognized. Of the 101 species and subspecies, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified eight as Critically Endangered, 18 as Endangered, 15 as Vulnerable, four as Near Threatened, eight as Least Concern and 41 as Data Deficient; seven were yet to be evaluated. From 2000 through 2008, 39 new species were described and nine other taxa resurrected. By 2014, the number of species and subspecies recognized had increased to 113; of these, the IUCN classified 24 as Critically Endangered, 49 as Endangered, 20 as Vulnerable, three as Near Threatened, three as Least Concern and four as Data Deficient; two were yet to be evaluated.
The number of lemur species is likely to continue growing in the coming years, as field studies, cytogenetic and molecular genetic research continues. There is not complete agreement over the latest revisions to lemur taxonomy, with some experts preferring an estimated 50 lemur species. The debates are likely to continue, as some scholars label the explosive growth of species numbers as taxonomic inflation. In many cases, classifications will ultimately depend upon which species concept is used. In the case of the lemurs of Madagascar, which have suffered extensively from deforestation and habitat fragmentation, nearly 25% of all species are either Endangered or Critically Endangered, most have yet to be extensively studied, and nearly all populations are in decline. For these reasons, taxonomists and conservationists favor splitting them into separate species to develop an effective strategy for the conservation of the full range of lemur diversity. Implicitly, this means that full species status will help grant genetically distinct populations added environmental protection.
At least 17 species and eight genera are believed to have become extinct in the 2,000 years since humans first arrived in Madagascar. All known extinct species were large, ranging in weight from 10 to 200 kg (22 to 441 lb). The largest known subfossil lemur was Archaeoindris fontoynonti, a giant sloth lemur, which weighed more than a modern female gorilla. The extinction of the largest lemurs is often attributed to predation by humans and possibly habitat destruction. Since all extinct lemurs were not only large (and thus ideal prey species), but also slow-moving (and thus more vulnerable to human predation), their presumably slow-reproducing and low-density populations were least likely to survive the introduction of humans. Gradual changes in climate have also been blamed, and may have played a minor role; however since the largest lemurs also survived the climatic changes from previous ice ages and only disappeared following the arrival of humans, it is unlikely that climatic change was largely responsible.There is strong evidence of extensive declines in extant populations since the introductions of humans, particularly among the larger and more specialized lemurs. As long as habitats continue to shrink, degrade and fragment, extinctions are likely to continue.List of mammals of Florida
This is a list of mammal species found in the wild in the American State of Florida. In total, 99 species of mammals are known to inhabit, or recently to have inhabited, the state and its surrounding waters. This includes a few species, such as the black-tailed jackrabbit and red deer, that were introduced after the European colonization of the Americas. It also includes the extinct Caribbean monk seal. Rodents account for roughly one quarter of all species, followed closely by mammals from the Cetacea and Carnivora families.
The species included in this list are drawn from the work of the American Society of Mammalogists, which compiled information from five different publications. Information on the international status of species has been drawn from the IUCN Red List.List of threatened rays
Threatened rays are those vulnerable to endangerment (extinction) in the near future. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest global environmental organisation. It evaluates threatened species, and treats threatened species not as a single category, but as a group of three categories, depending on the degree to which they are threatened:
Critically endangered speciesThe term threatened strictly refers to these three categories (critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable), while vulnerable is used to refer to the least at risk of these categories. The terms can be used somewhat interchangeably, as all vulnerable species are threatened, all endangered species are vulnerable and threatened, and all critically endangered species are endangered, vulnerable and threatened. Threatened species are also referred to as a red-listed species, as they are listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.Together rays and sharks make up the class of modern cartilaginous fishes. Modern fish are either cartilaginous or bony. Cartilaginous fishes have skeletons made of cartilage while bony fishes have skeletons made of bone. Because rays and sharks are closely related, they are often studied together. In 2010 a global IUCN study of vertebrates found that of 1,044 cartilaginous (ray and shark) species examined, 345 or 33% were threatened with extinction.There are four orders of rays: stingrays, skates, electric rays and sawfishes. Like sharks, rays are relatively long living and thrive in stable populations. They are K-strategists which grow slowly, mature late sexually and produce few offspring. They cannot recover as rapidly as many faster growing fish can if their populations are depleted. As with sharks, rays are increasingly becoming vulnerable because of commercial and recreational fishing pressures, the impact of non-ray fisheries on the seabed and ray prey species, and other habitat alterations such as damage and loss from coastal development and marine pollution. Most particularly, the continuing decline of threatened rays and sharks is the consequence of unregulated fishing.
Manta rays are largest rays in the world, with wingspans reaching 7 metres. They have one of the highest brain-to-body mass ratios of all fish. Manta populations suffer when they are caught as bycatch by fishermen fishing for other species, but fisheries which target manta rays are even more harmful. Manta rays use their gills to filter plankton from the sea. Demand for their dried gill rakers, cartilaginous structures protecting the gills, has been growing in traditional Chinese medicine practices. The market is "bogus" since dried manta gills have never been used historically in Chinese medicine, and there is no evidence that the gills have any medicinal value. The flesh is edible and is consumed in some countries, but is tough and unattractive compared to other fish. To fill the growing demand in Asia for gill rakers, targeted fisheries have developed in other parts of the world, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, West Africa and Central and South America. Each year, thousands of manta rays, primarily the giant manta ray, are being caught and killed purely for their gill rakers. A fisheries study in Sri Lanka estimated that over a thousand of these were being sold in the country's fish markets each year.In 2011, manta rays became strictly protected in international waters thanks to their recent inclusion in the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals. The CMS is an international treaty organization concerned with conserving migratory species and habitats on a global scale. Although individual nations were already protecting manta rays, the fish often migrate through unregulated waters, putting them at increased risk from overfishing. In 2013, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) listed both species of manta rays as CITES Appendix II species. This means that the international trade of manta rays will now be monitored and regulated.Sawfish are a less well known family of rays which have a long rostrum resembling a saw. Some species can reach 7 metres or 23 feet in length. All species of sawfish are either endangered or critically endangered as a result of habitat destruction and overfishing. Their young stay close to shore, and are particularly affected by coastal developments. Because their rostrum is easily entangled, sawfishes can easily become bycatch in fishing nets. They are also exploited for the novelty value of their rostrum, their fins are eaten as a delicacy in China, and their liver oil used as a food supplement. While arguing for a global ban on international commerce in 2007, a representative from the National Museums of Kenya stated, "Only the meat is consumed locally; and artisanal fishermen can retire after catching one sawfish due to the high value of a single rostrum, up to $1,450." In 2013 CITES uplisted the largetooth sawfish to Appendix I. This is CITES highest protection level, and means that all international trade of the species is banned.List of threatened sharks
Threatened sharks are those vulnerable to endangerment (extinction) in the near future. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest global environmental organization. It evaluates threatened species, and treats threatened species not as a single category, but as a group of three categories, depending on the degree to which they are threatened:
Critically endangered speciesThe term threatened strictly refers to these three categories (critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable), while vulnerable is used to refer to the least at risk of these categories. The terms can be used somewhat interchangeably, as all vulnerable species are threatened, all endangered species are vulnerable and threatened, and all critically endangered species are endangered, vulnerable and threatened. Threatened species are also referred to as a red-listed species, as they are listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Shark species are increasingly becoming threatened because of commercial and recreational fishing pressures, the impact of non-shark fisheries on the seabed and shark prey species, and other habitat alterations such as damage and loss from coastal development and marine pollution. Rising demands for shark products has increased pressure on shark fisheries, but little monitoring or management occurs of most fisheries. Major declines in shark stocks have been recorded over the past few decades; some species have declined over 90% and population declines of 70% are not unusual. In particular, harvesting young sharks before they reproduce severely impacts future populations. Sharks generally reach sexual maturity only after many years and produce few offspring in comparison to other fish species.Conservationists estimate that up to 100 million sharks are killed by commercial and recreational fishing every year. Sharks are often killed for shark fin soup, which some Asian countries regard as a status symbol. Fishermen capture live sharks, fin them, and dump the finless animal back into the water to die from suffocation or predators. Sharks are also killed for their flesh in Europe and elsewhere. The 2007 film Sharkwater documents ways in which sharks are being hunted to extinction. In 2009, the IUCN Shark Specialist Group reported on the conservation status of pelagic (open water) sharks and rays. They found that over half the pelagic sharks targeted by high-seas fisheries were threatened with extinction.In 2010, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected proposals from the United States and Palau that would have required countries to strictly regulate trade in several species of hammerhead, oceanic whitetip and dogfish sharks. The majority, but not the required two-thirds of voting delegates, approved the proposal. China, by far the world’s largest shark consumer, and Japan, which battles all attempts to extend the Convention's protections to marine species, led the opposition.In 2013, CITES member nations overcame the continued opposition led by China and Japan, and reversed course. In what CITES has called a "milestone", the oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and three species of hammerheads will now join the great white, basking and whale shark on CITES Appendix II, effective September 2014. International trade of these species is thus prohibited without CITES permits, "... and evidence will have to be provided that they are harvested sustainably and legally."In 2014 the state government of Western Australia led by Premier Colin Barnett implemented a policy of killing large sharks. The policy is intended to protect users of the marine environment from shark attack following the deaths of seven people on the Western Australian coastline in the years 2010 to 2013. Baited drum lines are deployed near popular beaches using hooks designed to catch the vulnerable great white shark, as well as bull and tiger sharks. Large sharks found hooked but still alive are shot and their bodies discarded at sea. The government claims they are not culling sharks, but are using a "targeted, localised, hazard mitigation strategy". Barnett has described opposition to killing the sharks as "ludicrous" and "extreme", and said that nothing can change his mind.Mackerel
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly from the family Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment.
Mackerel species typically have vertical stripes on their backs and deeply forked tails. Many are restricted in their distribution ranges, and live in separate populations or fish stocks based on geography. Some stocks migrate in large schools along the coast to suitable spawning grounds, where they spawn in fairly shallow waters. After spawning, they return the way they came, in smaller schools, to suitable feeding grounds, often near an area of upwelling. From there, they may move offshore into deeper waters and spend the winter in relative inactivity. Other stocks migrate across oceans.
Smaller mackerel are forage fish for larger predators, including larger mackerel and Atlantic cod. Flocks of seabirds, whales, dolphins, sharks, and schools of larger fish such as tuna and marlin follow mackerel schools and attack them in sophisticated and cooperative ways. Mackerel flesh is high in omega-3 oils and is intensively harvested by humans. In 2009, over 5 million tons were landed by commercial fishermen. Sport fishermen value the fighting abilities of the king mackerel.Sturgeon
Sturgeon is the common name for the 27 species of fish belonging to the family Acipenseridae. Their evolution dates back to the Triassic some 245 to 208 million years ago. The family is grouped into four genera: Acipenser, Huso, Scaphirhynchus and Pseudoscaphirhynchus. Four species may now be extinct. Two closely related species, Polyodon spathula (American paddlefish) and Psephurus gladius (Chinese paddlefish, possibly extinct) are of the same order, Acipenseriformes, but are in the family Polyodontidae and are not considered to be "true" sturgeons. Both sturgeons and paddlefish have been referred to as "primitive fishes" because their morphological characteristics have remained relatively unchanged since the earliest fossil record. Sturgeons are native to subtropical, temperate and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes and coastlines of Eurasia and North America.Sturgeons are long-lived, late-maturing fishes with distinctive characteristics, such as a heterocercal caudal fin similar to that of sharks, and an elongated spindle-like body that is smooth-skinned, scaleless and armored with 5 lateral rows of bony plates called scutes. Several species can grow quite large, typically ranging 7–12 feet (2-3½ m) in length. The largest sturgeon on record was a Beluga female captured in the Volga estuary in 1827, weighing 1,571 kg (3,463 lb) and 7.2 m (24 ft) long. Most sturgeons are anadromous bottom-feeders which migrate upstream to spawn but spend most of their lives feeding in river deltas and estuaries. Some species inhabit freshwater environments exclusively while others primarily inhabit marine environments near coastal areas, and are known to venture into open ocean.
Several species of sturgeon are harvested for their roe which is processed into caviar—a luxury food and the reason why caviar-producing sturgeons are among the most valuable of all wildlife resources. They are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation and other threats, including pollution and habitat fragmentation. Most species of sturgeon are considered to be at risk of extinction, making them more critically endangered than any other group of species.In art, a sturgeon is the symbol on the coat of arms for Saint Amalberga of Temse.The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates
The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates is a list of highly endangered primate species selected and published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group (IUCN/SSC PSG), the International Primatological Society (IPS), and Conservation International (CI). The 2012–2014 list added the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF) to the list of publishers. The IUCN/SSC PSG worked with CI to start the list in 2000, but in 2002, during the 19th Congress of the International Primatological Society, primatologists reviewed and debated the list, resulting in the 2002–2004 revision and the endorsement of the IPS. The publication has since been a joint project between the three conservation organizations and has been revised every two years following the biannual Congress of the IPS. Starting with the 2004–2006 report, the title changed to "Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates". That same year, the list began to provide information about each species, including their conservation status and the threats they face in the wild. The species text is written in collaboration with experts from the field, with 60 people contributing to the 2006–2008 report and 85 people contributing to the 2008–2010 report. The 2004–2006 and 2006–2008 reports were published in the IUCN/SSC PSG journal Primate Conservation, while the 2008–2010 and 2010-2012 report were published as independent publications by all three contributing organizations.The 25 species on the 2012–2014 list are distributed between 16 countries. The countries with the most species on the list are Madagascar (six species), Vietnam (five species), and Indonesia (three species). The list is broken into four distinct regions: the island of Madagascar, the continent of Africa, the continent of Asia including the islands of Indonesia, and the Neotropics (Central and South America). Five species have been on all seven published lists: the silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), Delacour's langur (Trachypithecus delacouri), golden-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus poliocephalus), grey-shanked douc (Pygathrix cinerea), and the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus).The purpose of the list, according to Russell Mittermeier, the president of CI, is "to highlight those [primate species] that are most at risk, to attract the attention of the public, to stimulate national governments to do more, and especially to find the resources to implement desperately needed conservation measures." Species are selected for the list based on two primary reasons: extremely small population sizes and very rapid drops in numbers. These reasons are heavily influenced by habitat loss and hunting, the two greatest threats primates face. More specifically, threats listed in the report include deforestation due to slash-and-burn agriculture, clearing for pasture or farmland, charcoal production, firewood production, illegal logging, selective logging, mining, land development, and cash crop production; forest fragmentation; small population sizes; live capture for the exotic pet trade; and hunting for bushmeat and traditional medicine.Threatened species
Threatened species are any species (including animals, plants, fungi, etc.) which are vulnerable to endangerment in the near future. Species that are threatened are sometimes characterised by the population dynamics measure of critical depensation, a mathematical measure of biomass related to population growth rate. This quantitative metric is one method of evaluating the degree of endangerment.Vulnerable species
A vulnerable species is one which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as likely to become endangered unless the circumstances that are threatening its survival and reproduction improve.
Vulnerability is mainly caused by habitat loss or destruction of the species home. Vulnerable habitat or species are monitored and can become increasingly threatened. Some species listed as "vulnerable" may be common in captivity, an example being the military macaw.
There are currently 5196 animals and 6789 plants classified as vulnerable, compared with 1998 levels of 2815 and 3222, respectively.
Practices such as Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources have been enforced in efforts to conserve vulnerable breeds of livestock specifically.World Commission on Protected Areas
The World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is one of six commissions of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). WCPA is the world's premier network of protected area expertise. It is administered by IUCN's Global Protected Areas Programme and has over 2,400 members, spanning 140 countries.