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

April 2011


Plenty more fish in the sea? Not for much longer

More than 40 species of marine fish currently found in the Mediterranean could disappear in the next few years. According to a study for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ on the status of marine fish in the Mediterranean Sea, almost half of the species of sharks and rays (cartilaginous fish) and at least 12 species of bony fish are threatened with extinction due to overfishing, marine habitat degradation and pollution. Full story  French  Spanish

> Overview of the conservation of the marine fishes of the Mediterranean Sea report
Salema (Sarpa salpa) was reportedly consumed as a recreational drug during the time of the Roman empire

Raoul du Toit awarded Goldman Environmental Prize

Raoul du Toit, IRF African Rhino Program Coordinator, and member of the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group, has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. The Prize recognizes individuals from six regions around the world for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Each winner was honored at ceremonies in San Francisco and Washington DC, and received a cash prize, the largest award in the world for grassroots environmentalists. Of course, in his typical fashion, Raoul plans to plow his award right back into the Lowveld Rhino Trust programs in Zimbabwe.  Full story

Raoul du Toit Peter Scott Award

New Primate found sneezing in the rain

It may be more common these days to hear doom and gloom stories of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, but exciting discoveries of new species do happen and give heart to conservationists the world over. While discoveries of new invertebrate or fish species may be relatively frequent, it’s not often that a new species of primate is discovered. Ngwe Lwin, a vigilant young Burmese conservationist, was lucky enough to come across a new species of snub-nosed monkey in the Himalayan Mountains of Myanmar whilst taking part in primate surveys in early 2010. Hunters reported seeing a monkey that had prominent lips and wide, upturned nostrils—features unlike those of any snub-nosed species previously described. Because of its upturned nose, this new Mae Hka snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri), has the endearing trait of sneezing when it rains!  Full story


IUCN Conservation Heroes - Naresh Subedi, Nepal

Asian Rhino SG

Naresh Subedi works to save Nepal’s wildlife. He studies and monitors animals such as rhinos and tigers, and actively involves local communities in conservation. Naresh is currently involved in carrying out a rhino census in the Chitwan National Park, which has the second largest population of greater one-horned rhino in the world. He recently fitted radio collars on eight rhinos living in the park and now conducts regular patrols to monitor their movements. The main purpose of this work is to study the impact that Mikania micrantha, a major invasive species in Nepal, has on rhinos. Mikania micrantha grows on plants that make up the diet of rhinos, blocking the sunlight that those plants need to survive. Full story

Rhino with a baby, Chitwan National Park

IUCN Conservation Heroes - Dr Nicolas Pilcher, Malaysia

Marine Turtle SG

Nick has a PhD in turtle biology, but he says it did not prepare him for the real-world challenges of turtle conservation. “Knowing their biology may be one thing, but working with communities, fishermen and industry to make conservation happen is a whole different story,” he says. After an early career in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Palau as a marine biologist, Nick settled down in north Borneo and established his own non-governmental organization, the Marine Research Foundation (MRF), a non-profit entity geared to saving marine life across various countries and facing differing threats. MRF, an IUCN Member, now serves as a base from which Nick addresses turtle conservation at various levels, and with an ever-growing diversity of people.Full story

Nick Pilcher, left, sewing a Turtle Excluder Device into a shrimp net with Malaysian fishermen.

IUCN Conservation Heroes - Renata Leite Pitman, Brazil

Canid SG
Renata has spent 10 years in Peru studying the short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis), one of the world’s rarest wild dog species, living for five years in the middle of the Amazon without a telephone, television, or any form of luxury. During that time she had two children, raising them in the rainforest until the eldest was six.  The short-eared dog, with its slender body and fox-like tail, is found in the Amazon rainforest region of Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador. It prefers areas with no human disturbance but not much else is known about the species. One of Renata’s aims was to find out enough information about the animal, particularly its population size so that it could be properly assessed for its conservation status for IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Full story



The latest edition of  Lemur News Vol. 15 is now available on the Primate SG website. 

Female Sclater's black lemur

Pigs, Peccaries & Hippos

The latest issue of Suiform Soundings, Volume 10(2), is now available online. 


Red List Assessor Training materials tested

Funded as part of the IUCN-Shell Partnership grant, this workshop held at IUCN HQ 11-15 April, was to evaluate newly developed Red List Assessor Training materials.  Participants ranging from Red Listing experts who could evaluate whether the concepts and methodology were accurately and sufficiently explained throughout the training, to people new to the Red List system gave immensely useful feedback.  Red List Programme Officer Rebecca Miller will now refine the course materials - the goal is to develop a certificated training module with online components.   

IUCN Red List Assessor workshop, April 2011

Marine Species News April 2011

 This is the third edition of “Marine Species News”, the SSC Marine Species Conservation Subcommittee news-bulletin that aims to keep you informed of the projects, programmes and people within IUCN working on conservation of marine species. 


Rolex Awards

Time is running out to submit your pre-application for the Rolex Awards - the deadline is the 31st of May. The awards provide successful applicants with $100,000 towards projects, a Rolex Chronometer, and the benefit of international publicity. 13 Specialist Group members working on more than 50 species have received a Rolex Award in the past and Rolex are currently looking to support even more projects with an environmental and/or species focus. Rolex awards - Good Luck!


Indexing for Life - The i4Life project

Coordinated by the University of Reading the i4Life project has one principal goal – to provide tools for the comparison and harmonisation of the various species catalogues used by six global biodiversity programmes using the Catalogue of Life as a yardstick by establishing a virtual research community that will interlink and harmonise the taxonomic catalogues presently used by each of the global partners.   Partners to this project are the six major global programmes exploring the full extent of life on earth and include the IUCN Red List along with GBIF for distribution modelling, the ENA project at EMBL-EBI and the Barcode of Life Initiatives (CBOL and ECBOL) for molecular diversity, the Encyclopedia of Life with its life desks and the Species 2000 Catalogue of Life taxonomic framework.  More info on the project website


World Migratory Bird Day 14-15 May

This year's theme focusses on “Land Use Changes from a Bird’s-Eye View” and aims to highlight the negative effects human activity is having on migratory birds and our global environment.  Through their dependence on many habitats along their migrations, birds often feel the effects of changes to these environments before many other animal species, making them key indicators for the health of our environment.  For more info on the theme and events WMBD 2011

World Migratory Bird Day 2011

EDGE coral reef conservation field course, July 2011 Indonesia

The course aims to train in-country early-career conservationists (Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia nationals) in skills vital to coral reef research, monitoring and management. The deadline for applications is Monday 16th May.  There will also be further support available (EDGE Fellowships) for three trainees who successfully complete the course to carry out conservation research on the three priority EDGE coral species from the Coral Triangle region. Contact Catherine Head Catherine.head@zsl.org for more information


2nd World Conference on Biological Invasions and Ecosystem Functioning November 21-24 2011, Mar del Plata, Argentina

BIOLIEF 2011 will be a forum for the presentation, discussion, and synthesis of research on biological invasions in the broadest sense. The conference will place a particular emphasis on studies concerning the impact of invasive species on ecosystem functioning and/or services, irrespective of taxonomic groups or ecosystem types. However, studies on any other ecological aspect of biological invasions will also be welcome. Topics such as the spread of invasive species into ecosystems, the biogeography and history of species introductions, and the community- or species-level impact of biological invasions will also be included in the final conference program.  More info


Jane Goodall Institute Research Center announced

Duke University has announced the establishment of the Jane Goodall Institute Research Center, which will house Goodall’s archives and digitized data from 50 years of uninterrupted study of chimpanzees. More information is available at Duke’s website


Asahi Glass Foundation Questionnaire on Environmental Problems and the Survival of Humankind by the Asahi Glass Foundation

The Asahi Glass Foundation’s Environmental Survey has been undertaken for 20 years and presents an interesting barometer of global opinions on environmental issues. It doesn’t take long to complete.  Please answer the survey questions from a personal position using IUCN Respondent’s ID: IUCN2011.  Deadline for completing the survey is 31 May.   


Don Merton

Don Merton who died earlier this month, was a member of both the Conservation Breeding and Re-introduction Specialist Groups and was certainly a visionary in species conservation.   Without Don Merton, the kakapo, the Chatham Island black robin and other unique native New Zealand birds would probably have become extinct - Forest & Bird tribute  


IUCN Science Bulletin April 2011

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


Global Strategy for Plant Conservation

Following the agreement on an updated Global Strategy for Plant Conservation at the CBD CoP10 meeting in Nagoya, Japan, a Biodiversity Network Japan report detailing the new Strategy can be found at the links below. The report describes the new targets to be achieved over 2011-2020 and also the work that Japan had already undertaken to fulfil the previous targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. The document is in both Japanese and English.  Download pdf of  the report.


April issue of Biodiversity and Conservation

The April issue of Biodiversity and Conservation is accessible online for free. Content from the May 2011 issue as well as that of selected contemporary issues is also available for free. For access to these articles, please visit the Springer Link page for the journal:


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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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


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