National Geographic

VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers

Menu

Tag archives for IUCN

The Disturbing War for Abalone

South Africa’s illicit abalone trade is steeped in the after-effects of apartheid, organized and violent crime, illegal drugs, and corruption. Species like rhinos, tigers, and elephants are generally better at building public awareness than abalone, a large type of marine snail, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the potency of wildlife crime is any…

Food Species Top the Latest Additions to The IUCN Red List

The IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia saw the release of the latest update to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ in front of a global audience of protected area professionals, conservationists, government representatives, and business leaders. These leaders consistently agreed that survival of many species depends on the conscious interaction between our…

A Massive New Marine Protected Area Network in Gabon

By John Robinson

The first day of the IUCN 2014 World Parks Congress marked a significant win for the oceans. The President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon announced the decision to create a new marine protected area network of ten marine parks covering more than 18,000 square miles (over 46,000 square kilometres). The network – encompassing about 23 percent of Gabon’s territorial waters and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) – will safeguard whales, sea turtles, and other marine species inhabiting the nation’s coastal and offshore ecosystems. As the President noted in his speech, this puts Gabon “near the 20 to 30 percent that marine biologists tell us is needed to maintain biodiversity and restore depleted areas outside parks.” This is a massive increase from the 1 percent of marine area currently protected by Gabon.

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…

Saving our Coral Reefs From the Bottom Up

From Jensi Sartin of the Reef Check Foundation: The beauty of the Caribbean reefs have been a tourist attraction for decades, if not centuries. They teem with life, holding an amazing variety of fantastical fish and other sea creatures. But at the current rate, Caribbean reefs will be lost within 20 years. Worse, the damage is largely the result of our own actions.

This dire news comes from the Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012, an extensive report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The report explains that the direct threats from overfishing and land-based pollution are combining dramatically with the longer term effects of climate change to destroy a vital natural resource that lies just a short flight from the United States.

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…

To Save Coral Reefs, Start With Parrotfish

  Coral reefs are very complex ecosystems, but luckily managing them sustainably is not. Simply don’t catch fish faster than they reproduce, don’t damage the corals or pollute the water, reduce atmospheric CO2, and protect some areas as marine reserves. That’s easier said than done, and it’s not news. What is new is that an…

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…