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International Union for Conservation of Nature

www.iucn.org

The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization made up of more than 1,000 organizations, as well as 10,000 individual scientists and experts working on conservation around the globe. Perhaps we are best known for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which is the global standard for species science and conservation information and the connection to human livelihoods and is celebrating 50 years of conservation action in 2014.

Why We “Celebrate” Threatened Species

Yesterday I met Lonesome George. He was the last of his kind and he is now displayed in taxidermy at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He’s tucked away under a glass case in an alcove on the 4th floor amidst other extinct species, but, none of their extinctions are nearly as…

New Species for the IUCN Red List

The biodiversity of life on Earth is disappearing faster than at any time in human history. Among the many people sounding the alarm of our disappearing natural history the IUCN Red List is the instrument that is used to measure biodiversity loss and the species that are most at risk of extinction. People like Elizabeth…

The Highest Conservation Price

In all the money that is devoted to the conservation of the most charismatic species, there is one that has been lifted far above what I thought was the highest plateau of funds devoted to conservation. You might at first think of the Giant Panda. You, however, as I was, would be wrong; although millions…

The Global Status of Sharks

Hunter S. Thompson once wrote “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” While he was talking about piracy and salvage in the Florida Keys, there is an ecological attractiveness in this statement that…

5 Countries Putting All Their Money on Species

Nations throughout Africa have The Big Five (the little five too), Australia has Koalas and Kangaroos, the United States has the Bald Eagle, and Canada has the noble Beaver. Every corner of the world has its species that help to define cultures, geographies, and national identity. However, these five nations have taken their pride in…

Your Favorite Species

For three years I taught Animal Biology labs to undergraduate students at George Mason University. Extra credit assignments were not permitted, so I liked to build in a few intermittent low-ball quiz questions to provide some levity to an otherwise strict and challenging syllabus. My favorite question to ask was “what is your favorite species?”…

The Fall and Rise of the Amphibian Empire

In 1970, a group of experts on frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians noticed that populations of the Yosemite Park Toad in California had suddenly crashed. The habitat was suitable, there seemed to be nothing wrong but their numbers had crashed to very low levels. People scratched their heads and thought of it as just one…

Should Species Be Paid Royalties?

Perhaps one of the most interesting ways that people use species is to support our own actions, beliefs, and loyalties. Some of the most recognizable mascots and brands in the world are based on the qualities associated with a species or, more often than not, the actual species itself. Our cultures are filled with businesses,…

The Once and Future Common

The conservation of biodiversity through the use of information contained in The IUCN Red List is especially tailored towards the conservation of species that are threatened with extinction. It is natural that the affinity and resources for conservation would turn towards these species and in this regard The IUCN Red List has been exceptionally valuable…

Red List of Threatened Species: B-Sides

Last week IUCN released its first Red List update of 2014. Within the thousands of species added to or updated on the Red List in 2014 we uncovered interesting and important data about some popular species (read about it here). In addition to these species, The IUCN Red List is also a source of data…

2014 IUCN Red List Update: Soccer, Slippers, Sushi, and Strepsirrhini

Twice a year, the IUCN Red List is updated to include species that have been assessed for the first time or re-assessments of species that need updating. In the first update of 2014, we call attention to the Brazilian mascot of the FIFA World Cup, seductive Slipper Orchids, an expensive and Endangered Japanese delicacy, and…

IUCN Red List Stops Wildlife Trafficking

If you’re at all familiar, you know the world of wildlife trafficking is as serious as business gets. Although the case is strong against the morality of trade in threatened species, like trade in illegal drugs, it has a potent financial draw. All over the world people conceal species in every conceivable way as they…

New Species of Mammals

In 2008 the IUCN Red List had assessed the conservation status of all known mammal species. Since then, about 200 new species of mammal have been described by science in over 60 countries. These include 72 species of bats, 74 species of rodents, 14 species of primates, 4 species of carnivore, 2 species of dolphin,…

Hawaiʻi Selected to Host IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016

The IUCN World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest and most important conservation event. Held every four years, it aims to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development on a global scale. It includes leaders from governments, the public sector, business, UN agencies, conservation and social organizations from around…

The Top of the IUCN Red List

The 61 Most-Threatened Species: Identifying a definitive list of the most threatened species is a difficult and sensitive exercise. Although lists are popular and useful, a comprehensive list of the Most Threatened Species depends on what you think makes a species most at risk of extinction and could conceivable contain all 4,286 Critically Endangered species…