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News from the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the IUCN Global Species Programme

February 2013


New report warns of uncertain future for African elephants

Populations of elephants in Africa continue to be under severe threat as the illegal trade in ivory grows - with double the numbers of elephants killed and triple the amounts of ivory seized, over the last decade. According to a new report entitled “Elephants in the Dust – The African Elephant Crisis”, increasing poaching levels, as well as loss of habitat are threatening the survival of African elephant populations in Central Africa as well as previously secure populations in West, Southern and Eastern Africa.  Read more here 

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Focus on CITES 2013 Bangkok

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) marks its 40th anniversary this year. The 178 countries that participate in the convention are currently meeting in Bangkok to discuss pressing issues involving wildlife trade; critical issues that include poaching of rhinos and elephants and illegal trade of their horns, as well as proposals to introduce international trade regulations for a variety of shark species whose populations are sharply declining in some cases as a result of heavy exploitation, particularly for shark fins.  Click here for all the news, views and issues as the meeting progresses.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Almost one in five reptiles struggling to survive

Nineteen percent of the world’s reptiles are estimated to be threatened with extinction, states a paper published in February by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in conjunction with experts from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). The study, printed in the journal of Biological Conservation, is the first of its kind summarising the global conservation status of reptiles. More than 200 world renowned experts assessed the extinction risk of 1,500 randomly selected reptiles from across the globe.  
Out of the 19% of reptiles threatened with extinction, 12% classified as Critically Endangered, 41% Endangered and 47% Vulnerable  Read the full story  English  French  Spanish

Hump Snout Lizard (Lyriocephalus scutatus)

Economic incentives benefit conservation of bonefish, ladyfishes and Tarpon

For the first time, all species of Tarpon, ladyfishes and bonefishes - marine species found globally in warm-water seas - have been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Of the 17 known species, two, Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) and Roundjaw Bonefish (Albula glossodonta) are classified as Vulnerable. One species, Bonefish (Albula vulpes) is listed as Near Threatened, three species are listed as Least Concern and 11 are classified as Data Deficient. This is the first time that fishery scientists, fish ecologists, and conservationists have come together to jointly produce an assessment of the threats facing these recreationally and economically important coastal fishes.  Read more here

Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus)

Invasive alien species: The biodiversity time bomb is ticking!

Invasive Alien Species (IAS) poses a significant threat to native biodiversity in Europe, as well as to our economy and health. They cause some 12.5 billion Euro worth of damage each year in the European Union alone. On 21 February, BirdLife and IUCN co-hosted an event in the European Parliament in Brussels to shed some light on this ticking time bomb ahead of the EU legislative proposal that is expected in March. The event was hosted by MEP Poc, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D) and supported by the European Habitats Forum. Read the full story here.

Invasive jellyfish impact on fisheries

Alliance for Zero Extinction 7 Wonders Winners

A two-inch long frog so deadly that its toxin could kill ten people; a bat that is called a flying fox with males that defend a harem of up to eight females; and an enigmatic, fist-sized owl that was discovered in 1976 only not to be seen again for 26 years, are among the unique wildlife species that captured the attention of voters in a just-completed campaign naming the Alliance for Zero Extinction's (AZE's) 7 Wonders of Endangered Species. In total, the campaign received more than 100,000 votes from the public via social media.  Each of the 587 AZE sites so far identified around the globe is the only known home to one or more Endangered or Critically Endangered species identified on the IUCN Red List.  More here

Last siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus) in India

Philippine Cockatoos face new challenges

 SOS grantee Katala Foundation Incorporated (KFI), working to protect the Critically Endangered Philippine cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia expresses serious concerns after the recent approval of the construction of a coal-fired power plant opposite Rasa Island, about one kilometre from the project's site.  These concerns were reported to SOS by the grantee in explaining the situation on the ground. Rasa Island is declared a wildlife sanctuary and is of global importance for conservation due to the high number of threatened flora and fauna present including the Philippine cockatoo. Read the full story here.

SOS logo 4

Two New Salamanders Discovered

A team of young researchers from Colombia have recently published an article in the journal Zootaxa describing two new species of salamander discovered during a project supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme and Save Our Species. The two new salamanders belong to the genus Bolitoglossa, otherwise known as tropical climbing or web-footed salamanders. One of the salamanders (Bolitoglossa leandrae) has been named after an 11-year old girl who became friends with the team whilst they conducted their fieldwork.  Read the full story here


Dr Malcolm C. Coulter, Co-Chair of the WI / IUCN SSC Stork, Ibis & Spoonbill Specialist Group passes on

Malcolm was only 65 when he succumbed to health complications on 2nd January 2013 at his home in Chocorua, New Hampshire (US). Malcolm carried out early research on the flora and fauna of the Farallon Islands, California. Later he was the resident ornithologist at the Charles Darwin Research Station where he was instrumental in saving the Galapagos Petrel from extinction. As Director of the American Wood Stork program at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory he became increasingly involved with the international conservation of storks, ibises and spoonbills and in 1989 he assumed co-chair of the WI / IUCN SSC Stork, Ibis & Spoonbill Specialist Group. Malcolm dedicated his career to bringing biologists together to conserve birds and he will be missed by many. Read a fuller obituary here.

Northern Bald Ibis

Tapir SG Conservation Fund 2013 CALL FOR PROPOSALS

The Tapir Specialist Group Conservation Fund (TSGCF) was established in 2003 as a vehicle to raise and contribute funds towards tapir conservation initiatives. The TSGCF funding consists of contributions from tapir holding zoos and conservation organizations, as well as private donations from tapir supporters and enthusiasts worldwide. Successful proposals must contribute to the implementation of actions listed on the Tapir Action Plans developed during previous Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA) Workshops. The TSG Conservation Fund is NO LONGER RESTRICTED to members of the Tapir Specialist Group. The Fund is now open to all tapir researchers and conservationists.  For full information, application guidelines and forms contact TSG Chair Patricia Medici pmedici@uol.com.br 



During an expedition led by Roberto Battiston in 2011 in North Morocco, living populations of very rare mantids like Tenodera rungsi, Apteromantis bolivari were encountered and recorded, confirming their presence after more than half a century of silence. Collected specimens, compared with other species by their taxonomy and biogeography, confirmed old records and descriptions and gave important information on the ecology of mantids in the Mediterranean area. The rarity, the reduced distribution and the poor knowledge on Moroccan mantids lead to some considerations on the conservation problems and priorities about these insects.  Download pdf of the paper here

IUCN SSC Grasshopper Specialist Group

Baby Giant Armadillo captured on film

SSC member Arnaud Desbiez has been running a project on giant armadillos in the Brazilian Pantanal since 2010.  The dedication, patience and sweat of the team has been rewarded with some remarkable images and footage of this Vulnerable species.  Read more on Mongabay or BBC portuguese 

Giant armadillo Priodontes maximus

World Crocodile Conference, Sri Lanka 20-23 May 2013

"Living with Crocodilians" is the theme for the 22nd Working Meeting of the IUCN - SSC Crocodile Specialist Group to be held in Sri Lanka 20-23 May 2013.  Click here for full information.


New research reveals secrets of world’s richest marine area revealed

Sea surface temperature, as well as the size and variety of habitats are the main factors responsible for the proliferation of marine life in the Coral Triangle – the most biologically diverse marine region in the world.  Research carried out by scientists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Old Dominion University, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suggest that climate change may have a direct impact on species diversity and that larger and more diverse protected areas could help species respond to environmental changes, including changes in sea temperature. The research team assembled the largest set of species distribution maps ever produced for tropical shallow water marine species, including maps of coastal fishes, invertebrates (corals, crustaceans, and molluscs), seagrasses, and mangroves.  Published in the journal PLOS ONE, view the study here 

Coral reef 3, Similan island, Thailand


Olivier Hasinger takes on the role of SSC Network Support Officer with a specific focus on support to the plant, fungi and marine Specialist Groups.  He has recent experience with the IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme where he worked with the Livelihoods Fund and the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel. Olivier is Swiss and has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Biogeosciences from the University of Neuchâtel. Prior to joining IUCN, Olivier worked as research fellow for the University of Lausanne on plant-soil interactions, carbon sequestration and climate change adaptation issues. Olivier.hasinger@iucn.org 

cup fungi


Rebecca Miller in Cambridge UK, has moved from Red List training development being appointed as Regional Biodiversity Assessment Officer for the Global Species Programme. Rebecca will work on regional assessments for Europe and the Mediterranean with Ana Nieto (in Brussels) and Catherine Numa (in Malaga). 

European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) 2008 IUCN Red List status: Near Threatened

IUCN Red List categories and criteria, version 3.1, second edition

The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria are intended to be an easily and widely understood system for classifying species at high risk of global extinction. The general aim of the system is to provide an explicit, objective framework for the classification of the broadest range of species according to their extinction risk. The publication is also available in separate French and Spanish versions.

> Download PDF
> Categorías y Criterios de la Lista Roja de la UICN : versión 3.1, segunda edición 2012
> Catégories et Critères de la Liste rouge de l’UICN : version 3.1, deuxième édition 2012

IUCN Red List categories and criteria, version 3.1, second edition

Atelier sur la Liste Rouge des papillons de la Méditerranée

Plus de 30 experts venus de 19 pays travailleront ensemble afin de développer l'état de conservation des papillons en suivant les critères de la Liste rouge de l'UICN. Le Jardin botanique de Malaga accueille, du 25 au 28 Février, le premier atelier d'experts pour analyser les connaissances actuelles et développer la Liste Rouge des papillons de la Méditerranée suivant les critères et les catégories de la Liste rouge de l'UICN. L'atelier, organisé par le Centre de Coopération pour la Méditerranée de l'UICN, a été inauguré par l'adjointe au maire et représentante du Département de l'Environnement et de Développement Durable de la ville de Malaga, Ana Navarro, et le directeur de l'UICN-Med, Antonio Troya.  Plus d'info

European peacock butterfly

Research on funding of Reintroduction programmes: request for input

MSc. student at ELTE University Budapest, Erzsébet Óhegyi is writing her thesis on the funding of reintroduction programmes. She has developed an online questionnaire and would be very grateful for your participation. The results will hopefully be published in an international publication. Access the questionnaire here.  Thank you in advance for your help!

Arabian Oryx, Qatar

Upcoming courses at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

Although courses extend throughout the year, two courses of note are approaching their applications deadlines. Species Monitoring and Conservation: Terrestrial Mammals is offered from April 29 – May 10, 2013. Species Monitoring and Conservation: Reptiles is offered from May 10-24, 2013.  Courses in this series focus on practical training in current field sampling techniques, study design, and data analysis and also include a review of taxonomy/phylogeny, sample collection for DNA and disease work, and conservation/management applications. Further information here or contact SCBItraining@si.edu

Brookesia micra (small leaf chameleon from northern Madagascar) on a match head

Oxford University International Wildlife Conservation Practice Diploma 2014

The Recanati-Kaplan Centre eight-month postgraduate diploma course is designed to enhance the skills of conservation practitioners by teaching field, analytical and reporting techniques necessary for effective conservation research and action. The course focuses on methods commonly used in the study of large mammals, and especially carnivores, in the developing world. Applications are particularly welcomed from conservationists working in less-developed parts of the world, for whom partial or full sponsorship is possible. Suitable candidates are early-career field conservationists, working with government agencies or NGOs, who will implement and disseminate their skills to their home countries. Candidates without field experience or those interested in a career change will not be considered priority candidates. More information  here

University of Oxford, Wildcru

ARKive launches Team WILD online educational game

The game and supporting educational content highlights some of the great work being done by scientists and conservationists around the world to protect threatened species and habitats such as the mountain chicken and the Atlantic forest so hopefully the SSC community will find the game appealing and a helpful educational tool......Discover the different types of field tasks a conservation scientist or ecologist must do in order to protect the world’s species and habitats, from the replanting of native guapuruvu trees in the Atlantic forest of Brazil to the rescue and evacuation of non-infected mountain chickens from Montserrat, where populations are being decimated by the deadly chytrid fungus.   Test your speed, skill and determination and see whether you’ve got what it takes to join this legion of science superheroes…Play Team WILD here


New conservation action for a major biodiversity hotspot in the Great Lakes Region of East and Central Africa

The first meeting of the a forum for Stakeholders Engagement for Informed Decision-making, Threats Mitigation and Sustainable Freshwater Services Management in the Great Lakes Region of East and Central Africa took place in Kigali, Rwanda, on the 21st-22nd of February 2013.  Complementary funding opportunities were launched at the workshop, including:  The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is looking for proposals that aim to mainstream biodiversity into wider development policies, plans and projects to deliver the co-benefits of biodiversity conservation, improved local livelihoods and economic development in the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot.  More information here


3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress: Call for abstracts

The French Marine Protected Areas Agency (MPAA) and IUCN are organizing the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) in Marseille and Corsica from 21-27 October 2013.  Informationhere


Call for World Heritage success stories (from the Species perspective)

IUCN’s World Heritage Programme is compiling inspiring World Heritage success stories to demonstrate how World Heritage designation has directly benefited natural sites since the creation of the Convention in 1972, more than 40 years ago. We would like to tap into your knowledge, experience and memory forsome short and simple stories featuring species. Each story should be about 250 words and accompanied by a photo if possible (and a reference document if available).  Further info here or contact whconservation@iucn.org 

A tiger captured during tiger monitoring in Chitwan Natural Park in 2010

The Mammals of Africa are here!

Nearly 15 years in production, and the accumulation of expertise from many dedicated scientists, this series of six volumes describes every currently recognized species of African land mammal.  These volumes incorporate the very latest information and detailed discussion of the morphology, distribution, biology and evolution (including reference to fossil and molecular data) of Africa's diverse and abundant mammal species.  Each volume follows the same format, with detailed profiles of every species and higher taxa. Some 660 colour illustrations by Jonathan Kingdon and many drawings highlight details of morphology and behaviour of the species concerned. Diagrams, schematic details and line drawings of skulls and jaws are by Jonathan Kingdon and Meredith Happold.  With extensive references and detailed distribution maps each species account is written by a recognized expert in his/her field, many of them SSC members. Read more here

The Mammals of Africa

Journal of Threatened Taxa

The 54th issue of the Journal of Threatened Taxa is published online at www.threatenedtaxa.org

JoTT logo

Environment Industry Magazine - facing the future

Featuring Jean Christophe Vié talking about species conservation and SOS this magazine covers a wide range of topics including sections on forestry and timber, energy, water, agriculture and the food industry.  The main conservation article features SOS alongside an article on the restoration of the red squirrel in the UK and an endpiece by Sir David Attenborough.  Read the magazine online here

Gorilla in Volcano National Park, Rwanda


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Where bison roam and our conservation legacy lives on, Parc National d'Elk Island

Canada’s National Parks System Plan identifies 39 natural regions in Canada and provides for the creation of a national park in each region to present and protect the diversity of natural environments. Created in 1913 as Canada’s 6th national park, Elk Island National Park of Canada protects a representative sample of the Southern Boreal Plains and Plateaux Natural Region.  Situated in the Beaver Hills, in the Canadian province of Alberta the area encompasses grasslands, wetlands, lakes and aspen dominated forests rich in wildlife and its name suggests a particular abundance in beaver. What made the Beaver Hills unique were the aspen thickets which surrounded the prairie providing forage, water and protection to many species of wildlife. Read more here

Wood Bison, Elk Islands National Park

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PACO news Bulletin d'information du Programme Afrique Centrale et Occidentale Janvier 2013


IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) © 2010

The monthly e-Bulletin supplements Species, the published newsletter of the Species Programme and the SSC. It aims to keep staff, members and the wider IUCN network up-to-date with Species news and announcements. 2009 issues are available on the Species homepage.   Contact us sscmembership@iucn.org


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