species e-bulletin

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

February 2011


Bumblebee Specialist Group established

As public awareness of the significance of pollinators is at an all-time high, now is an excellent time to bring the charismatic bumblebees into the mainstream of conservation efforts. There are numerous factors claimed to be threatening this ecologically important group, including severe range declines that are potentially caused by habitat loss and degradation; pathogen spillover, competition and hybridization with non-native commercial bumblebees; pesticides; and climate change. Bumblebee declines have been documented in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. A key priority of the Bumblebee Specialist Group will be to organize a Red List assessment of the global status of bumblebees as well as to promote their conservation.  Welcome to Bumblebee SG Chair Dr Paul Williams P.Williams@nhm.ac.uk and Deputy Chair Dr Sarina Jepsen sarina@xerces.org


'Aeroecology' uses radar to track flying animals

 The study of birds, bats and flying insects could be transformed by the use of technology designed for tracking storms, researchers say. Meteorologists once treated the signals from flying animals as a nuisance that complicated their measurements. But recent improvements in computing power and networking of radar stations have turned that nuisance signal into a valuable data source on animal ecology.  Read more on the BBC website here


GMSA Workshops on marine fishes held in Oceania

The Global Marine Species Assessment, a joint collaboration between IUCN’s Species Programme and Conservation International, is working to assess individual marine species for inclusion and publication on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In November 2010, the first Oceania workshop was held in Nadi, Fiji to assess the status of damselfishes (Pomacentridae) both regionally and at the global level. A second workshop was held in January 2011 in Koror, Palau to assess the status of Gobies and Cardinalfishes (Gobiidae and Apogonidae). More info

Pyjama Cardinalfish Sphaeramia nematoptera

Livestock Wild Relatives and the need to conserve them

Dr. Philip McGowan, Director of the World Pheasant Association and member of the IUCN SSC Galliforme Specialist Group, recently contributed an important article to FAO’s international journal Animal Genetic Resources which discusses the importance of conserving wild relatives of animals being used for food. This is important given that a greater proportion of wild relatives of livestock species on the IUCN Red List are at risk of extinction. The paper comments on the urgent need to coordinate a response to the loss of biodiversity regarding these wild relatives and discusses intergovernmental activities that could offer the prospect of beginning this process.  read the article

La Granja, Spain

Exploitable tree species of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Coinciding with the International Year of the Forests, a project to produce a Red List of exploitable trees in the Democratic Republic of Congo was officially launched last week in Kinshasa on the 14th February. The project is supported by His Excellency the Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism. With 145 million hectares of tropical forest representing over two thirds of the remaining forest in the Congo basin, the results of the IUCN Red List assessments will be used as a tool to guide the decision-making process and planning of long term, sustainable management of forest resources. Full story 

A timber lorry in Kongo village, Cameroon

Global Search for 'lost' frogs yields few findings, important warnings

A glimmer of hope, but much cause for concern. Those are the reactions from teams of scientists from around the world that have returned from an unprecedented search for 100 species of "lost" amphibians — frogs, salamanders, and caecilians that have not been seen in a decade or longer, and may now be extinct. The Search for Lost Frogs, launched in August by Conservation International (CI) and the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), with support from Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), sought to document the survival status and whereabouts of threatened species of amphibians which they had hoped were holding on in a few remote places. Read full story 

Rabbs Fringe-limbed Treefrog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum)


Three dedicated and renowned bat experts from the SSC Bat SG have been appointed as Honorary Ambassadors to support a joint initiative of the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS) to celebrate and promote Year of the Bat 2011-2012. Visit the website yearofthebat.org for details of the dynamic outreach activities and projects planned around the globe in this species awareness-raising campaign. 



The 22nd issue of the quarterly e-newsletter of the Rhino Resource Center is now available online. The RRC database has reached an historic milestone: there are over ten thousand pdf files on the website of references on rhinos. These files are accessible to all users without charge, and they can be read and used for research and pleasure. There is no other library in the world where so much material on the rhinoceros can be viewed so easily. Access the RRC website

Asian rhinos

Anteater, Sloth and Armadillo

 The latest issue of Edentata, the newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Anteater, Sloth and Armadillo Specialist Group, is now available.  This issue is entirely dedicated to the 2009/2010 Xenarthra Assessment for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In this issue, you will find fact sheets and updated range maps for all 31 extant xenarthrans, as well as descriptions of their conservation problems and existing conservation measures. Edentata available for download here.



Congratulations to Tapir Specialist Group Chair Pati Medici who has won this year's Durrell Institution for Conservation and Ecology research prize for her conservation action work with Tapirs. This is well-deserved and many congratulations! Visit for the Tapir website for more info on all their Tapir work.


Amazing Species

To increase awareness of the enormous variety of life on our planet, and raise the profile of threatened species, we have launched the IUCN Red List ‘Amazing Species’. Throughout 2011, a different ‘amazing’ species will be regularly featured on the IUCN website, with information on the threats it faces and any conservation action being undertaken. The species selected represent the entire range of taxonomic groups and cover all regions. Both charismatic and obscure species will be featured, providing an insight into the astonishing level of biodiversity that exists.  Click on Amazing Species

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Access Free to Oxford Journals

Content from Oxford Journals titles (www.oxfordjournals.org) is currently available online, free of charge. Access is free to articles from a wide range of journals, including Environmental History, Forestry, Journal of Environmental Law, and Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. While it remains unclear when this free access began or how long it will continue, the unexpected opportunity for free access appears to be available worldwide and is not limited to Oxford Open’s peer-reviewed open-access periodicals (www.oxfordjournals.org/oxfordopen).

Children of French Polynesia with books from the Honu Toolkit

Project to Determine Age and Geographical Origin of African Elephant Ivory seeking samples

Led by The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (FANC) the objective of the project is to create a reference database for the geographical origin of African elephant ivory and to develop a method for ageing the ivory as part of Germany's contribution to the implementation of the CITES African Elephant Action Plan. Using the isotopic composition of ivory, some 500 ivory samples from African range states will be analyzed and the results combined with the IUCN-SSC African Elephant Specialist Group’s vector data. But there are still not enough ivory samples throughout the African elephants range available for the project. The FANC is therefore seeking owners of ivory who would like to support this important research project with small samples for analysis. Please contact Mrs Karin Hornig (hornigk@bfn.de) or Mrs Claudia Denkl (denklc@bfn.de) if you can help. For more info on the project in  English and French.

Elephants in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Announcing WCPA-SSC Joint Task Force on ‘Biodiversity and Protected Areas

WCPA and SSC have launched a joint task force to address the interface between species and protected area conservation. The task force has two objectives:
• To conduct a meta-study to elucidate which factors increase the probability of protected area success in safeguarding biodiversity, especially of threatened species.

• To facilitate a process to consolidate the global standards and criteria for the identification of sites of biodiversity conservation significance

Click to see The Terms of Reference of the joint taskforce and the summary workplan. If you have substantive contributions to make to either or both of the taskforce’s two objectives, visit the Google group here where you can register to join the task force and state what contributions you can make. 

Plains zebra herd

Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT)

IBAT for research and conservation planning is an innovative tool designed to facilitate access by national partners to biodiversity information that can support their research and conservation planning needs. The tool is the result of a ground-breaking conservation partnership among BirdLife International, Conservation International, International Union for Conservation of Nature and United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Click on IBAT for conservation planning to register.  There is also an IBAT for business tool designed to facilitate access to accurate and up-to-date biodiversity information to support critical business decisions. Click on IBAT for business for more info.


Southeast Asian Bat Conference, 6-9 June, Indonesia

The 2nd Southeast Asian Bat Conference will take place in Bogor, Java, Indonesia 6th-9th June. Full details


Deuxième Congrès Méditerranéen d'Herpétologie, Marrakech - Maroc

 A la demande de nombreux collègues et dans le but de permettre une plus large participation au Deuxième Congrès Méditerranéen d'Herpétologie, Marrakech - Maroc, 23 - 27 mai 2011, la date limite d'envoi des résumés pour le CMH2 a été repoussée au 28 février 2011. Si vous n'avez pas encore soumis votre résumé, vous avez toujours la possibilité de le faire et de participer à cette grande manifestation scientifique. Cliquez ici pour info http://www.ucam.ac.ma/cmh2/acceuil.html

Grass Snake

Fifth International Tapir Symposium October 16-21, 2011 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Organised by the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG) Click here for details and registration


Job opportunities

TRAFFIC: Medicinal Plants Officer, Europe – based in Hungary click here
TRAFFIC: Regional Director, Europe – based in Cambridge, UK click here
UNEP: Deputy Executive Director click here


Hercules beetle in Dominica

Zooquaria No73 Spring 2011

The "cover star" for this issue of the quarterly magazine of EAZA is a honeybee, marking an article on the new invertebrate exhibits at Plock Zoo.  You'll also find reports from the recent Global Freshwater Fish Conservation symposium and the CBSG meeting on intensively managed programmes. The breeding programme spotlight for this issue is on capuchin monkeys, while in situ conservation features newts in Vietnam and the Mediterranean monk seal. There's also news from both the Ape Campaign and the Carnivore Campaign, and a look at the Dutch Zoo Conservation Fund. Download here 


Oxford University Press makes conservation biology textbook freely available

Conservation Biology for All provides cutting-edge but basic conservation science to a global readership. A series of authoritative chapters have been written by the top names in conservation biology with the principal aim of disseminating cutting-edge conservation knowledge as widely as possible. Important topics such as balancing conservation and human needs, climate change, conservation planning, designing and analyzing conservation research, ecosystem services, endangered species management, extinctions, fire, habitat loss, and invasive species are covered. Numerous text boxes describing additional relevant material or case studies are also included. Download this authoritative textbook for free


Ensuring a future for South Africa’s frogs: a strategy for conservation research

 G.J. Measy (ed.) (2011), published by The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) SANBI Biodiversity Series 19, "Ensuring a Future for South Africa's Frogs" constitutes a research strategy for amphibian conservation in South Africa, and has the potential to become a model for other countries and regions of the world.   Available for free download from the SANBI website www.sanbi.org.za

We live because the earth lives

A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes From Maine to Texas

Providing a comprehensive, current, and accurate identification guide to the more than 1,000 nearshore and offshore fishes that live in brackish and marine waters from Maine to Texas, Val Kells and Kent Carpenter bring decades of experience to this project. With Kells' detailed, vivid illustrations and Carpenter's deep knowledge of biology, taxonomy, and nomenclature, this book captures the stunning diversity of species along America's eastern shores.  Available from Johns Hopkins University Press. Click here for more info


The status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in the Eastern Himalaya

Biodiversity within inland water ecosystems in the Eastern Himalaya region is both highly diverse and of great regional importance to livelihoods and economies. However the ecosystem requirements of biodiversity are often not considered in the development planning process. In response to the need for information on the status and distribution of inland water taxa, the IUCN Species Programme, in collaboration with Zoo Outreach Organisation (ZOO) conducted the Eastern Himalaya Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment, a review of the global conservation status of 1,073 freshwater species belonging to three taxonomic groups – fishes (520 taxa), molluscs (186 taxa), and Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) (367 taxa).

> The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in the Eastern Himalaya
IUCN - Freshwater Biodiversity Unit

Polar bears: proceedings of the 15th Working Meeting of the IUCN/SSC

Polar Bear Specialist Group, Copenhagen, Denmark, 29 June–3 July 2009
These proceedings provide an overview of the ongoing research and management activities on polar bears in the circumpolar Arctic. They address more recent concerns of threats arising as a consequence of increased human activities in both the Arctic and in regions far beyond the Arctic. They also provide a more comprehensive assessment of all threats to the status of each polar bear subpopulation.

> Download pdf
Proceedings of the 15th Working Meeting of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group

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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Other IUCN publications

- Sustainable development of the world’s large marine ecosystems during climate change : a commemorative volume to advance sustainable development on the occasion of the presentation of the 2010 Göteborg Award (2010) (http://www.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2010-079.pdf)

- The water lily : a flagship species for local to global conservation (2009) (http://www.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/Rep-2009-018.pdf

- Effects of pelagic longline fishing on seamount ecosystems based on interviews with Pacific island fishers (2010)(http://www.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2010-086.pdf)

- Utilisation de la Liste Rouge de l’UICN pour le suivi des risques de perte de biodiversité : application aux poissons démersaux exploités d’Afrique du Nord Ouest (2010) (http://www.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2010-085.pdf)


IUCN YouTube channel re-vamped!

Click on the IUCN YouTube channel and access a quick update on how you can use it to both enjoy watching IUCN videos and to highlight the ones produced by SSC members. The videos are grouped into several different categories – or ‘Playlists’ as YouTube calls them. The best videos are also published directly on the video page of the IUCN website  Please take a look and let us know if you have any good-quality videos that would fit any of the Playlists.


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