28% of plant and animal species from the Pacific Islands are threatened with extinction. This is the latest figure identified under IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species™ (2008). The report also states that of the species assessed, 14% are listed under the data deficient category illustrating the lack of information to determine their threat status.
In the process of improving and strengthening our knowledge of species in the region, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) together with regional partners has brought together local and international experts for a training workshop this week in Lami, Fiji (Feb 14 - 18) to train them to assess species according to globally recognized criteria in order to determine whether or not a species is threatened with extinction.
“Evidence from the 2008 Red List clearly shows that either information is limited in accuracy, out of date or poorly documented,” says Helen Pippard, Species Officer for the IUCN Oceania Regional Office. “Pacific Islands are perhaps one of the least known regions of the world in terms of known species”.
The scientists at this workshop are those whose works focus on reptiles, land snails and freshwater fishes. These groups of animals have been identified as those in which our knowledge for assessment is lacking in the region.
“We will train these experts to use IUCN’s globally recognized sets of criteria so that they can properly document their findings in the field and ensure that we improve our knowledge of these three animal groups,” says Helen Pippard. “Results will feed into the global Red List and will also allow us to produce a regional Red List for the Pacific Islands”.
The IUCN Red List currently provides the most up-to-date collated information for the Pacific Islands. This widely used tool plays an increasingly prominent role in guiding conservation activities of governments, NGOs and scientific institutions.
“The Pacific Islands Red List of Threatened Species once developed will be the most significant tool that will help prioritize and shape conservation planning and inform Pacific Islanders of the real threats to our biodiversity ,” says Taholo Kami, Regional Director for the IUCN Oceania Regional Office. “This tool will ensure that up to date species information is available and can be used by decision makers as well as assist countries to monitor trends in biodiversity at the regional level. Fast tracking this process will give leverage to all conservation efforts across the region”
This workshop is coordinated by IUCN with support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the Fonds Pacifique and Conservational International.
Notes to editors
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species. The IUCN Red List now plays an increasingly prominent role in guiding conservation activities of governments, NGOs and scientific institutions www.iucnredlist.org/
- The analysis report of the 2008 IUCN Red List in relation to the countries and species of the Pacific Islands is available here
- The 2008 IUCN Red List contains listings for the following 24 Pacific Island Countries and territories: American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, US Minor Outlying Islands and Wallis and Futuna.