species e-bulletin

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


Tackling the tiger crisis

Crucial talks to bring Asia’s most iconic animal, the tiger, back from the brink of extinction took place in St Petersburg, Russia, from 21 to 24 November. Simon Stuart, SSC Chair, Urs Breitenmoser, Chair of the Cat Specialist Group, Xenya Cherny Scanlon, Special Assistant to IUCN Director General and Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Head of the Species Programme represented IUCN and reiterated IUCN commitment to participate actively in a global effort to save the species. Kristin Nowell, Cat Red List Authority Focal Point, was also present. Jean-Christophe reports that it was a very special event demonstrating the real convening power of charismatic species. The meeting host, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, gave a passionate talk about wildlife conservation while Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for a change of the economic model to make it work for the environment. High profile celebrities were also present, Leonardo diCaprio pledging a US$1 million contribution to tiger conservation through WWF. This meeting could mark the start of a real change for tigers. The future will tell. Background

Bengal Tiger being Released into the wild from a boat in the Sundarbans

More than 1,000 Tigers reduced to skin and bones in last decade

Parts of at least 1,069 tigers have been seized in tiger range countries over the past decade, according to new analysis of tiger seizures carried out by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.The report Reduced to Skin and Bones shows that from January 2000 to April 2010, parts of between 1,069 and 1,220 tigers were seized in 11 of the 13 tiger range countries—or an average of 104 to 119 animals per year. Full story

Tiger cubs

Noxious weed threatens the biggest wildlife migration on the planet

The Serengeti - Masai Mara ecosystem in Africa, which hosts the largest wildlife migration known to man, is under attack from a noxious weed from Central America, commonly known as feverfew (Parthenium hysterophorus). If left unchecked it could threaten the continued migration of millions of animals across the plains every year, including 1.5 million wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelle and 200,000 zebra.  Full story

In Ethiopia, parthenium has invaded more than 2 million ha. of grazing and cropland to the detriment of biodiversity, agriculture and human health.  This weed is now present in Kenya, including the world renowned Masasi-Mara, where it may, if not managed, threaten the annual wildlife migration.

Canids - Opportunity to visit Ethiopia and spend time watching Ethiopian wolves

Few people venture to Ethiopia to meet these wonderful animals face to face. Part of the problem lies with the remoteness of the mountains where the wolves live, but also with the lack of a suitable infrastructure for wildlife tourism in Ethiopia.  Canid SG Chair Claudio Sillero is teaming up with Spencer Scott Travel in the UK to lead a trip to the Bale Mountains in February 2010.  For each client, Spencer Scott will make a generous donation to Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme.  More info

Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis) 2008 IUCN Red List Status: Endangered


The Cetacean Specialist Group has created a new webpage.  On the website, there is background information about the Specialist Group, news, a list of members and a map of where they are located, information on the status of the world’s cetaceans, a description of special projects, reports for download and related links.

Humpback whale

SSC Plant Conservation Sub-Committee

Members of the Plant Conservation Sub-committee met in Gland, Switzerland on November 8 & 9 to decide how the plant specialist groups should take forward plant conservation in 2011. An array of topics were discussed, including plant Red List assessments, the goals of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation emerging from the Convention of Biological Diversity Conference of Parties 10 (CBD CoP10) meeting, and documentation for plant Red List assessments.  The minutes from the meeting will soon be available here  

A medicinal plant photograph, Rangoon Creeper (Quisqualis Indica Linn.) taken in Budar, Nepal.

Sharks - Symposium sur la conservation des Requins en Afrique de l'Ouest

M. Mika Diop (membre de SG) écrit « Après 8 années de mise en œuvre du Plan sous régional d’action pour la conservation et la gestion durable des populations de Requins, nous envisageons organiser un symposium scientifique sur la conservation en Afrique de l’ouest en début d’année 2011. Nous comptons sur votre expérience pour nous assister à la réussite de l’organisation et de la réussite de ce symposium qui abordera divers thèmes allant de l’exploitation des Requins à leur conservation en passant par les aspects législatifs et leurs mesures de gestion ; les aspects liés à la commercialisation et à l’exportation. A l’étape actuelle, nous sollicitons les personnes intéressées pour s’associer au comité scientifique d’organisation et de validation scientifique des abstracts ainsi que des relecteurs. Contacter Mika Diop directe mika_dfr@yahoo.fr

Basking shark

Marine Turtles

Marine Turtle SG Chair, Dr Nicholas Pilcher was in Karachi recently training fishermen in the use of a Turtle Exclusion Device (TED).  Organised by  IUCN Pakistan under its Balochistan Partnerships for Sustainable Development Programme the training took place at the Marine Fisheries Department, Government of Pakistan where around 40 fishermen and representatives of other organizations participated in the training. Dr. Pilcher mentioned that this device was invented by a fisherman around 30 years ago, but still its usage has not become common. The primary purpose of TED is reducing the mortality of sea turtles in fishing nets, while safeguarding the livelihoods of the local fishermen.  Full story

The Loggerhead Turtle at Karachi, Pakistan.

Red List training materials online

IUCN receives frequent requests from around the world for formal training in the use of the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. The Red List unit is developing new and revitalised training materials to facilitate understanding and application of the IUCN Red List methodology. There is a wealth of resource materials on the training pages of the Red List website including:  Red List Documents,Training Presentations, Case Studies and the Species Information Service (SIS).  

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Job Opportunity: Manager, Species Programme

This is a new position to support the ongoing development of the IUCN Species Programme in the UK. Under the overall supervision of the Head, Species Programme, the incumbent is responsible for the day to day management of the operations of the Species Programme in the UK, including management of the newly formed IUCN UK charity (name to be confirmed), and fundraising. The work complements that carried out by the Deputy Head of the Species Programme, based in Gland, Switzerland.  Full details

Monkey in Costarican forest

Free digital access to 30 years of UNEP-WCMC publications and reports

Since its creation in 1979 WCMC has produced well over 1500 books and major reports. UNEP-WCMC has selected 380 of the most important books and reports from this collection, and has worked with the Biodiversity Heritage Library to make these freely available online.  Click here to access the UNEP-WCMC archive.


Directory of funding opportunities

Terra Viva Grants is an information directory of international grant funding for agriculture, energy, environment, and natural resources in the developing world. Providing information about funding opportunities the focus is on identifying grant makers (donors) serving the developing world. Most users of the information are grant seekers – people searching for financial support of their work as individuals or as organizations.

Terra Viva Grants

Reintroducing rare raptors to Andalusia’s mountains

Species recovery formed the focus of a recently completed EU LIFE Nature project from Spain, where a programme of preparatory ground work was carried out to help facilitate long-term re-colonisation of bearded vultures. Illegal poisoning and power line collisions contributed to the disappearance of bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus) from Andalusia during the 1980’s. Such a loss had major knock-on implications for other populations of this vulture species. Full story 

Asturias, Spain

The Chicago Zoological Society seeks new proposals for the CZS CBOT Endangered Species Fund

In general, the Society's CBOT Committee wishes to have grant funds applied to these types of projects:

• protection of populations of threatened and endangered species or a specific habitat that is of high biological value

• assessment of population and environmental status, conservation strategy and sustainable use

• educational and training projects that assist in developing local conservation capacity

Grants of up to USD5000 are open to SSC Specialist Group Chairs and Officers, AZA/WAZA Chairs and Officers, and all interested researchers. Each group should select and submit only one proposal. For more information contact Carla Owens at cbotesf@czs.org.   Criteria and submission format guidelines available here


Job Opportunity

Biodiversity International is recruiting for the position of Scientific Coordinator, Identification of Tree Species and Geographic Origin, based in Serdang, Malaysia.  Click here for details

Malaysian forest

Species 52 June-December 2010: Out now

Species 52, the magazine of the Species Survival Commission is now available for download from the Species pages of the IUCN website. It includes a comprehensive update on activities of SSC Specialist Groups and the IUCN Species programme. Features articles include:

  • Fungi: the orphans of Rio
  • Protecting plants: the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
  • Save Our Species: a global response to the challenge of biodiversity loss
  • Jubilation in Japan: Nagoya defines future for life on Earth
> Species 52
Species 52 front cover

TRAFFIC India exposes the surreptitious owl trade in India

Use of owls in black magic and sorcery driven by superstition, totems and taboos is one of the prime drivers of the covert owl trade, finds a TRAFFIC India investigation into the illegal trade, trapping and utilization of owls in India. The report “Imperilled Custodians of the Night” was launched by Shri Jairam Ramesh, Hon. Minister of Environment and Forests at his office in New Delhi. Full story


Best LIFE Nature Projects 2009, European Commission, Environment Directorate-General November 2010 - 44 pages

The 23 projects featured in this publication represent the most successful of the recently completed LIFE Nature projects, in terms of best practices and/or demonstration actions on nature conservation and the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives. The projects have target a broad range of endangered species and habitats across several EU Member States.   download pdf (6mb)


 Rodriguez,JP et al Establishing IUCN Red List Criteria for Threatened Ecosystems. Conservation Biology, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01598  Download pdf


Latest issue of Zooquaria

The quarterly magazine of the European Association of Zoos & Aquaria is now available for download - featuring sea turtles, Mexican military macaws, giffon vultures and the venomous reptile collection at Leipzig, .an update from the Przewalski's horse group at the Hortobagy National Park in Hungary and a report from WAZA and CBSG meetings in Cologne.  Download here


L'antenne Mozambicaine de la Fondation IGF publie son quatrième bulletin d'information

Le bulletin apporte les toutes dernières informations sur les projets locaux de la Fondation IGF, en particulier, il fait le point sur le programme de réhabilitation de la Réserve Nationale de Gilé et de sa périphérie, le programme de réorganisation et valorisation de la chasse sportive au Mozambique, et le projet "Buffle" de la Réserve Nationale de Niassa.  Pour savoir plus.


The list of Red List Assessment workshops and Red List and SIS training workshops scheduled in the coming months is available here. 


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51st TRAFFIC Committee Meeting

The 51st meeting of the TRAFFIC Committee took place on Monday, November 15th in Gland, Switzerland. TRAFFIC International  is a joint programme of IUCN and WWF.  TRAFFIC’s 2009-2012 programme is being delivered on schedule including progress in its five key result areas which are:

  • resource security and wildlife trade,
  • early warning through monitoring of trade levels,
  • flagship species in trade (Asian big cats, elephants, great apes, rhinos, vicuña, marine turtles),
  • wildlife trade routes,
  • rapid response to newly-emerged wildlife trade-related factors.

TRAFFIC reports on a number of targets related to these priority areas in terms of outputs and on participation at a number of major meetings this year, including: CITES COP15, CBD SBSTTA 14, CBD COP10 and the Tiger summit. More information on TRAFFIC’s programme of work.

Traffic Website

IUCN Commission Newsletters

World Commission on Protected Areas
WCPA News update
Commission on Education and Communication
CEC Newsletter
Commission on Environmental Law
CEL Newsletter
Commission on Ecosystem Management
CEM News Ecosystem 
Commission on Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy

CEESP Newsletter


The 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Cancún, Mexico

Taking place  from 29 November to 10 December, this will be the first COP following the famous Copenhagen conference held in December 2009, which failed to reach an aspired new global legally-binding deal on climate change. There appears to be broad expectation that the adoption of a legally binding agreement may be postponed beyond December 2010. IUCN believes that while negotiations continue towards the ultimate objective of a global, legally binding agreement, it is vital that the COP takes confidence building measures in the form of a balanced package of decisions on REDD-plus, adaptation, technology transfer and capacity building. Read the latest IUCN UNFCCC Newsletter outlining the focus of IUCN’s work in Cancún.

Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina

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


Photo credits@ IUCN: Header : Intu BOEDHIHARTONO