species e-bulletin

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

October 2011


Action now to save polar bears

A study by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) predicts a dramatic reduction in polar bear habitats over the next 10 to 50 years, due largely to global warming. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species assesses Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) as Vulnerable, with trends that suggest the population is decreasing. Polar Bears rely almost entirely on the marine sea ice environment for their survival, so much so that large scale changes in their habitat will have a devastating impact on the population.  Full story


polar bear

Penguin patrol

IUCN’s Caroline Edgar recently spent two weeks living, breathing and talking penguins on South Africa’s famous Robben Island and her life will never be the same. Caroline, of IUCN’s Ecosystem Management Programme, was among a lucky few chosen to join an expedition organized by Earthwatch UK, to monitor the African Penguin as a volunteer. The group was based on Robben Island, 7km off the coast of Cape Town. The island supports a colony of African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus), one of 27 colonies over a range that stretches from Namibia to Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  Full story and photos 

Plenty of penguins on Robben Island, South Africa

Managing deep-seas fisheries: Challenges and opportunities

During a meeting held recently at the United Nations in New York, IUCN and The Nature Conservancy provided information on policy recommendations on how to improve the management of deep-sea fisheries and ecosystems. The recommendations were developed following a workshop jointly organized by TNC and IUCN. Whilst acknowledging that considerable progress has been made by States and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) on deep sea fisheries management, including areas closures and the creation of new regional management structures, full implementation of existing agreements and greater compliance still needs to be ensured.  Full story


Work onboard a deep-sea trawler in the Indian Ocean

Striking a balance

There’s a growing realisation that successful conservation comes from involving the people who live with and depend on nature. In northern Kenya, IUCN and partners are helping to secure a future for the endangered Grevy’s zebra and the people who share a land with this iconic species. Grevy’s Zebra (Equus grevyi) is the largest of the three zebra species—distinguished from the more common plains zebra by its large size, narrow stripes and huge fuzzy ears.  Full story

Grevy's zebra pose

New national Red List highlights species at risk of extinction in Ireland

Six of Ireland’s 15 native fish species (40%) and one of its three amphibians (33%) have been classified as Threatened on the recently published Red List of Irish Amphibians, Reptiles and Freshwater Fish. Compiled by scientists from organisations across the island, the Irish Red List provides a comprehensive assessment of Ireland’s native amphibians, reptiles and freshwater fish, identifying those species most in need of conservation intervention. It also highlights the major threats these species face, so that mitigating measures can be implemented.  Full story

Logo for IUCN Red List

66th WAZA Annual Conference commits to global species conservation

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), a key member of IUCN, gathered October 2 - 6, 2011 in Prague to discuss “Partnering for Sustainable Zoos and Aquariums”. The conference defined five main objectives for WAZA: 1. Involvement of all WAZA members in the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, 2. Commitment of WAZA members in the sustainable management of animal populations, 3. Improvement of ethical standards, 4. Further WAZA membership growth, particularly in Asian countries, 5. Improvement of WAZA communications outreach.  More information


Tapirs on primetime TV

View the video clip of Pati Medici's interview on the JÔ Soares Talk Show on YouTube. This was on primetime national television and LOTS of Brazilians watched this!!!   Pati has been overwhelmed by the response to this interview from from people all over the country saying how great it was to see a researcher/conservationist on the show, that they learned a lot about tapirs and now have a lot more appreciation for this animal …. Great exposure for tapirs!

Patricia Medici, gandadora del Premio Golden Ark

Seahorse, Pipefish and Stickleback RLA

Read all about the activities of RLA Chair Amanda Vincent as well as the award of the ZSL Staff medal to SSC member Heather Koldewey on the Project Seahorse website. 

Hippocampus Hippocampus (Short-snouted seahorse)


The Amphibian Red List Authority announces the launch of a new online amphibian assessment forum,  kindly hosted by the Amphibian Specialist Group. At the moment it only has a few assessments, but reassessments will be uploaded progressively in the coming weeks/months.  RLA Focal Point, Ariadne Angulo adds "We would not have been able to pull this off without the vision, innovation and significant help of James Lewis, Amphibian Specialist Group coordinator, Scott Loarie, Stanford University, and Derek Berezdivin, our forum intern. To them, a heartfelt thank you from the Amphibian RLA."

Ventriloqual Frog, Eleutherodactylus dolomedes. Critically Endangered

Symposium: Antelope conservation in the 21st century: from diagnosis to action, ZSL London, 17-18 Nov 2011

This symposium aims to clarify current trends in global antelope biodiversity, understand what drives the major threat processes and, on this basis, highlight conservation priorities, taking into account both biological and socioeconomic aspects. Because antelopes demonstrate striking variation in morphology, ecology and behaviour, they are exposed to a wide range of the threats facing biodiversity today. In this way, the focus on antelopes provides a prism through which general insights into the principles governing conservation threats and their mitigation can be achieved.  Info and registration



Medicinal plants programme receives prestigious award

A joint WWF, TRAFFIC and IUCN project on sustainable use of medicinal plants in China’s Upper Yangtze Ecoregion has received an “Outstanding Contribution Award” from the Chinese State Ministry of Environmental Protection, EU-China Biodiversity Programme (ECBP), Ministry of Commerce and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Launched in 2007 in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi Provinces, the project introduced local plant producers to the skills needed for sustainable harvesting of wild traditional Chinese medicinal plants, including trade links to international markets.  Full story



Freshwater Fish - job opportunity

In collaboration with the IUCN SSC and Wetlands International, the Chair of the Global Freshwater Fish Specialist Group (FFSG), currently based at Chester Zoo, England, is seeking to recruit a Programme Officer on a part-time, one year contract. The main focus of the work will be to support freshwater fish conservation activities, and to build and maintain the website, to prepare newsletters, to assist in fundraising, to organize the annual FFSG conference, and to liaise with the regional chairs/coordinators and membership. More info


Freshwater fish

New staff

Welcome to:

Tulia Defex joins the Biodiversity Assessment Unit as a Programme Officer replacing Cristiane Elfes who has left to pursue doctoral studies.  Tulia has international experience on wildlife conservation and natural resources management. She received her Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M and has a DVM and Masters in Agribusiness Management from Universidad de La Salle in Bogotá, Colombia.

Camellia Williams takes over from Kathryn Pintus as Junior Professional in the Global Species Programme.  After her BSc in Zoology at the University of Glasgow and field experience on turtle beaches and coral reefs, Camellia completed a Masters in Conservation and Biodiversity at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus which helped her secure an internship with the EDGE of Existence conservation programme at the Zoological Society of London.  Camellia will be maintaining the Species website, writing news stories for the website, assisting in the preparation of press releases and managing the Amazing Species Twitter account.


India Red List

Caroline Pollock (Programme Officer, Red List Unit) and Dena Cator (SSC Network Support Officer, Global Species Programme) met with NM Ishwar and JS Rawat of the IUCN India office in mid-October to support them in developing a collaborative process with the Government of India to complete a Red List for India, the first stage of which is to be released for the COP11 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Hyderabad, India October, 2012. They were joined in this process by Sanjay Molur, Deputy Director of Zoo Outreach Organization in India (an experienced partner in Red Listing) who is also a member and Red List Authority of several IUCN SSC Specialist Groups. The group was joined by other experts in India, including Mohammad Ahmedullah who is the Chair of the Indian Subcontinent Plants Specialist Group as well as being Head Scientist of the Botanic Garden of Indian Republic. Already, more than 1,300 endemic Indian species have been assessed on the IUCN Red List (including all endemic amphibians, mammals and birds) and, to increase this, the group decided to assess the remaining endemic freshwater fish, amphibian and reptile species in the country for the CBD COP11 meeting in October 2012. This process was presented to and accepted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India which is the lead agency for Red Listing in the country (through the Botanical Survey of India or BSI and the Zoological Survey of India or ZSI). If you would like more information about this process, please contact either Caroline Pollock or Dena Cator


IUCN’s participation in 25th CITES Animals Committee meeting

IUCN participated in the 25th CITES Animals Committee meeting that took place July 18th to 22nd, 2011. The delegation was led by Dena Cator and Thomasina Oldfield of IUCN and also included Richard Jenkins, Chair of the IUCN SSC Chameleon Specialist Group, Amanda Vincent, the SSC Seahorse, Pipefish and Stickleback Red List Authority, Sarah Fowler of the SSC Shark Specialist Group and Phil McGowan of the SSC Galliforme Specialist Group. The delegation was also supported by Holly Dublin, Chair of the SSC African Elephant Specialist Group, Mohammad Pourkazemi, Chair of the SSC Sturgeon Specialist Group, Peter Paul van Dijk of the Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group and Rodrigo Medellin of the SSC Bat Specialist Group. The meeting addressed a variety of issues such as the shark conservation, review of significant trade, periodic review and reptile trade amongst a number of other issues relevant to various SSC Specialist Groups. Click here for a summary of the meeting and a list of relevant Specialist Groups to which the agenda items relate.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

SSC Awards - call for nominations REMINDER!

In 2012 the SSC will be giving a small number of awards for outstanding service. All SSC members are eligible to nominate candidates to receive one of the awards.

  • The Sir Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit
  • The George Rabb Award for Conservation Innovation
  • The Harry Messel Award for Conservation Leadership

click for Award details and please send nominations to Claire.santer@iucn.org no later than 01 December 2011, with the following information:

1. Name and contact details of the person being nominated.
2. Name of the award for which the person in question is being proposed.
3. A short statement (less than two pages) outlining the career of the person being nominated, and the reasons why this person shuld be considered for this award.
4. Name and contact details of the person who is doing the nominating.

SSC logo

The Volvo Environment Prize 2012

The Volvo Environment Prize is awarded for "Outstanding innovations or scientific discoveries which in broad terms fall within the environmental field". Since 1990 the Prize has been awarded to 38 individuals representing all fields of environmental and sustainability studies and initiatives.  The span of disciplines and activities for which nominations can be made is very wide but at this time the Jury is in particular interested in individuals from the non-Anglophone world.  Deadline for nominations 1st December 2011More info


Conservation Management Training Courses at the Durrell Institute

Project management skills for conservation professionals (28 Nov - 2  Dec)

This course has been designed for mid- to senior-level conservation professionals responsible for the management of endangered species and habitat conservation projects. By drawing on the principals of project management theory and the practice of project delivery within the conservation world, the course equips you with the knowledge and problem-solving skills you need to run your own conservation projects.  Details of this course and others here 


The East Asian Flora and its role in the formation of the world's vegetation, Vladivostock, 23-27 September 2012

The East Asian, or Sino-Japanese floristic region contains one of the world's richest and most ancient floras, the value of which for humankind is not yet fully understood.  This symposium will provide a useful step forward in understanding the formative processes of one of the world's most significant floras as well as an improved historical perspective of its influence on vegetation formation on different continents.  It is intended to facilitate the exchange of knowledge but also to find common points in existing and developing theories and a logical basis for the future study of East Asian flora and vegetation as a phytogeographical unit in its own right. Full information 


WAZA launches online Conservation and Sustainability Resource Centre

 As the voice of the worldwide community of zoos and aquariums, and a catalyst for their joint conservation action, WAZA has produced this Resource Centre to provide easy access to existing conservation and sustainability information available online. It follows the structure and highlights all the recommendations laid out in the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy, and will enable both the general public and those in the worldwide zoo and aquarium community to use and suggest information for the Resource Centre.  Click on WAZA Resource Centre tab to navigate the website.


Job Opportunities

IUCN positions currently under recruitment include: 

  • Programme Development Manager, Global Protected Areas Programme, IUCN HQ, Switzerland
  • Programme Operations Officer, Global Protected Areas Programme IUCN HQ, Switzerland 
  • Protected Areas Regional Communications Network Officer Global Protected Areas Programme based in Thailand
  • Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel Programme Officer, Global Marine and Polar Programme, IUCN HQ, Switzerland
  • Biodiversity Conservation Intern, European Programme, Brussels, Belgium

Species of the Day iPhone App

For all with iPhones, you can now get the ‘Species of the Day’ book as an iapp, which looks really nice and it’s a little cheaper than buying the book ... Feel free to add a customer rating too, but only if it’s positive!  Click here


IUCN Science Bulletin

The IUCN Science Bulletin is a quick summary of some of the vast amount of peer-reviewed literature that relates to IUCN’s Programme. It is not intended to be a complete overview but rather a sampler of what is being published. Science Bulletin October 2011


Aves de Colombia

Coincidiendo con el mes internacional de las Aves y luego del éxito de la Guía de Aves de Colombia en idioma inglés en 2010, ProAves tiene el gusto de presentar la nueva Guía de Campo de las Aves de Colombia en Español que reúne ilustraciones originales de las 1.889 especies registradas en Colombia. Estamos seguros de que este libro inspirará a una nueva generación de colombianos interesados en estudiar y proteger a sus aves.   click here


ODONTOCETES - The Toothed Whales

For 86 per cent of all toothed whale species, entanglement in gillnets, traps, weirs, purse seines, longlines and trawls is resulting in an unsustainably high death toll. This is among the findings of a report published by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals under the UN Environment Programme. (UNEP/CMS). The report is an encyclopedia on the 72 species of toothed whales compiled by Professor Boris Culik of Kiel University in Germany and represents the most recent scientific findings on the distribution, migration, behaviour and threats to this suborder of the cetaceans, which includes sperm whales, beaked whales, porpoises and dolphins which have teeth rather than the baleen of other whales.  Available online or in print Full details


Biology Open (BIO)

The Company of Biologists has announced a new online only, open access periodical, Biology Open (BiO). This publication will feature peer-reviewed scientific articles on a range of subjects relating to biology, including cell science, development biology and experimental biology. More information on the journal may be obtained from the periodical’s website.


Journal of Threatened Taxa

The 35th issue of the Journal of Threatened Taxa is online at www.threatenedtaxa.org


ENV Wildlife Crime Bulletin

Education for Nature - Vietnam (ENV) publishes this newsletter monthly.  The September issue features wildlife farming focussing on the need for effective monitoring while the October issue features an illegal tiger farm and the rise of public activism in fighting wildlife crime.


New Red List User Guidelines now available

The IUCN Standards and Petitions Subcommittee recently released the new update of the Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 9.0 (September 2011). These can be downloaded from the Categories and Criteria page on the IUCN Red List web site . To help users navigate through this essential Red List reference document, the Contents section how includes embedded hyperlinks to each section. An appendix has also been included showing a summary of the changes that have been made to the guidelines since version 8.1. (see page 87 of the document). All specialists involved in preparing Red List assessments should update their version of the User Guidelines document as soon as possible.

Logo for IUCN Red List

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


Logo for IUCN Red List


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IUCN Commission Newsletters

World Commission on Protected Areas
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CEC Newsletter
Commission on Environmental Law
CEL Newsletter
Commission on Ecosystem Management
CEM News Ecosystem 
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Join the Conservation Debate - Looking for a Leader

The Green Economy concept is gaining increasing profile in environmental circles but what’s needed to make it a mainstream endeavour? Who is currently leading the drive and who should be in the driving seat? Can we expect business to take a leading role when many companies are struggling for survival in the ongoing financial crisis?

The feature article Looking for a leader for our latest World Conservation Debate looks at what progress is being made to turn the green economy vision into reality - who is making the bold moves and who is shying away from responsibility.  Read the article and add your comments to the debate. 


About Rio+20

The United Nation Conference on Sustainable Development will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 4 to 6 June 2012. This Conference will focus on two themes: 1) a Green Economy in the context of Sustainable Development and poverty eradication; and 2) the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development. If you want to learn more about this meeting, you can visit IUCN web pages on the Conference or the Rio+20 official website. 


Other IUCN Newsletters


IUCN’s participation in CBD SBSTTA 15 meeting

IUCN is sending a small delegation to the meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 15) for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that will take place November 7 – 11 in Montréal, Canada. The delegation will be led by Dr. Jane Smart, Director of the Global Species Programme and also Director of the Biodiversity Conservation Group within IUCN. IUCN’s position paper for the meeting (in English, French or Spanish. The meeting will focus on a number of issues relating to the scientific and technical work of the Convention including the 2011-2020 CBD Strategic Plan, Sustainable Use, Invasive Alien Species, Inland Water Ecosystems and various other topics. More info.  For updates during the meeting, please refer either back to the IUCN CBD webpages or to the IISD Earth Negotiations Bulletin


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