species e-bulletin

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

March 2011


Few hopes to save the most threatened bird in the Middle East

The Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita is listed on the IUCN Red List as a “Critically Endangered” species on a global scale. It was rediscovered on a remote cliff of the Syrian desert in April 2002, following clues from local hunters and Bedouin nomads, in the framework of a UN/DGCS (Italian Development Cooperation) general fauna survey of the area. It suddenly became the rarest and most threatened bird in the Middle East!  Full story

A threatened species in Syria

Africa’s rhinos face worst poaching crisis in decades

Well-equipped, sophisticated organized crime syndicates have killed more than 800 African rhinos in the past three years - just for their horns. With the most serious poaching upsurge in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, Africa’s top rhino experts recently met in South Africa to assess the status of rhinos across the continent and to identify strategies to combat the poaching crisis.  Full story


Black rhino (Diceros bicornis)

Meeting to review invasive species and risks in Lake Tanganyika basin

 Officials, managers and experts from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia met recently in Bujumbura, Burundi to review known invasive species and risks in the Lake Tanganyika basin. The workshop, held from 29–31 March 2011 will also discuss ways to monitor, manage and control existing or possible future invasive species threats.  Full story

IUCN Expert on invasive species, Dr. Geoffrey Howard, monitors the growth of invasive water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)  at the edge of Lake Tanganyika in Burundi.

Too little done to address trade threat to Asia’s tortoises and freshwater turtles

A meeting of experts on freshwater turtles and tortoises from around the world is reporting dire findings for species in Asia, most of which are bearing the brunt of years of illegal and unsustainable trade. Seventy experts who gathered in Singapore last month for the Conservation of Asian Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles Workshop to evaluate the current status of these species in Asia found the vast majority of are nearing extinction in the wild, and very little has been done to address the problem.  Full story 

Malayan Box Turtle

Oil spills: science versus politics

 As the first anniversary approaches of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico which caused the biggest accidental oil spill in history, is the oil industry learning from its mistakes and paying more attention to the environmental risks it poses? We interviewed Dr Brian Dicks at the Oil Spill Risk Management Conference that took place last week in Sweden. Dr Dicks has advised on more than 60 oil spills worldwide. What lessons, if any, have been learned from the Gulf of Mexico spill and is the oil industry acting on them? Full story

Oil spill in Lebanon

Butterfly SG - Survey

The recently re-formed Butterfly Specialist Group is running a short on-line survey with the aim of identifying current butterfly conservation projects, priorities, and needs, and the individuals and organizations engaged in these efforts. The results will be used to create an action plan to prioritize individual species status assessments, surveys, and direct conservation action.  Any information you can give will be of great benefit to the work of the Butterfly Specialist Group.  Please complete the survey

A butterfly

Otter SG: Jim Conroy

The world of otters has lost one of its staunchest supporters: Jim Conroy, the Chair of the Otter Specialist Group, died on March 22nd after a brave battle with cancer.   A great supporter of IUCN and SSC we will miss him hugely.  A tribute to Jim will appear in the next issue of Species.

Nicole Duplaix  takes on the role of acting Chair.  Please send anything that would normally be sent to the Chair to her Nicole.Duplaix@oregonstate.edu with a copy to Lesley Wright lc.wright@yahoo.co.uk

Jim Conroy SSC Otter Specialist Group Chair 2005-2011

Coral SG

Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO)  Call for submissions
The CORDIO program has supported coral reef monitoring and research in the Indian Ocean since 1999. Topics have included reef ecology, resource use, socio-economics and support to management, policy development and capacity building and much of the work has been reported in compiled ‘Status Reports’. To continue the Status Reports series CORDIO will publish a compilation of articles in 2011, and invites submissions which will be accepted, reviewed and published on CORDIO’s web site throughout the year. Click here for full details

Coral bleaching in 2010 around Mayotte in the Indian Ocean

The SSC Steering Committee met at IUCN HQ Gland, Switzerland, 7–9 December 2010.  Click here to access the minutes of the meeting.

> SSC SC meeting WCC 4.3 Minutes

Wiley-Blackwell make Red List articles open access

Wiley-Blackwell, which publishes the journals Conservation Biology and Conservation Letters, has very kindly made a number of articles on topics relating directly to the IUCN Red List available free to access to all users.  This includes the seminal paper by Georgina Mace and Russ Lande on the development of the Red List criteria (Cons. Biol. 5: 148-157) and the more recent paper by Georgina Mace and colleagues on the history of the development of the criteria (Cons. Biol. 22: 1424-1442). Links to the articles

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1st Borneo Carnivore Symposium: Road Towards Conservation Action Plans, 18-24 June 2011, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia,

Recognizing the degree of threat and lack of information for Bornean carnivores, the symposium intends to synthesize and discuss our current state of knowledge on the status and conservation needs of this important group of Bornean mammals. The event will bring together representatives from the scientific, political and business communities to devise conservation strategies that are efficient, feasible and accepted by the society. Thus, we expect the symposium to provide the foundation from which feasible regional action strategies and plans will be developed to enhance the conservation of carnivores throughout the island. Full details 


2011 International Elephant & Rhino Conservation & Research Symposium, 10-14 October, Rotterdam

The Rotterdam Zoo in association with the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) would like to invite you to participate in the 2011 Elephant and Rhino Research and Conservation Symposium scheduled for October 10-14, 2011 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Submissions for oral presentations and posters on all aspects of elephant conservation and research are now being accepted.  Click here for info

Stumble across an elephant - Bomassa, Congo

7th Woodcock and Snipe Workshop, 16-18 May 2011, St Petersburg

Sponsored by CIC, this workshop takes place immediately after the 58th CIC General Assembly in St Petersburg. Info and registration here. NB the deadline for paper/poster abstracts submission is mid-April 2011. Send your abstract directly to yves.ferrand@oncfs.gouv.fr


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

Call for abstracts – info here. Send abstract as an attached file to Patrícia Medici epmedici@uol.com.br. Deadline 15 June 2011


XI International Otter Colloquium, 31 Aug-4 Sept 2011, Pavia - Italy

The International Otter Colloquia held every three-four years since 1979 have become one of the more important fora to discuss otter status and conservation around the world. The meeting is co-organized with the IUCN-SSC-Otter Specialist Group and will be held in Pavia, Italy from 31 August to 4 September 2011. Deadline for early registration and abstracts submission is May 31, 2011. Details can be found at the website here.  


Sign the Consensus Statement on Protection of the Ross Sea

 One of IUCN’s members, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), is looking for additional scientific experts who would join the growing number of scientists from all disciplines supporting the creation of a Ross Sea marine reserve. So far over 450 scientists have signed the ‘Scientists’ Consensus Statement on Protection of the Ross Sea’.  Click here for more info and to add your name.  


IUCN Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest

Have you been exploring the underwater world with your photo camera? Would you like to share your underwater photos to inspire others?Participate in IUCN’s 2011 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest.
The first, second and third place photographs will be featured on the IUCN website (www.iucn.org) and in the IUCN Marine News magazine in May 2011. The first place winner will also receive a Planet Ocean book.
Click here to participate before 15th April

Yvonne Sadovy doing underwater research on grouper spawning aggregations in Fiji

In Memorium Peter Van Bree

On 24 February 2011 Peter van Bree passed away in Amsterdam, aged 83 years. Active in the nature conservation movement from an early age he was one of the initiators of the establishment of the IUCN Netherlands National Committee as well as an active member of the SSC and the SSC Steering Committee until 1994. With his passing, we have lost a passionate conservationist and a remarkable personality, who played a very important role in the nature conservation movement in the Netherlands. Instrumental in supporting a large number of conservation projects on the ground he inspired many young individuals to follow the path of conservation. 


The 25 most endangered turtles and tortoises

Without concerted conservation action, many of the planet’s turtles and tortoises, iconic survivors from the Age of Dinosaurs, will become extinct within the next few decades. That’s according to a new report from the Turtle Conservation Coalition, a global alliance of conservation groups, including the IUCN Species Survival Commission's Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG), which names the world’s 25 most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles.  Full story

> Turtles in Trouble
The Elongated Tortoise (Indotestudo elongata) in Mae Nan Khao forest, southern Thailand

The status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in central Africa

One of the main reasons cited for inadequate representation of biodiversity in the development processes is a lack of readily available information on inland water taxa. In response to this need for basic for information on species, the IUCN Species Programme conducted a regional assessment of the status and distribution of 2,261 taxa of freshwater fishes, molluscs, odonates, crabs and selected families of aquatic plants from throughout central Africa. This study is based on the collation and analysis of existing information, and the knowledge of regional experts.

> The status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in Central Africa
IUCN - Freshwater Biodiversity Unit

Zoology in the Middle East Supplementum 3, 2011 Free download

This special volume focuses on Biodiversity Conservation in the Arabian Peninsula and includes articles from several SSC members covering a wide taxonomic and regional range, and including a variety of research, planning and conservation management approaches.  This publication provides a review of progress and highlights future directions for biodiversity conservation on the Arabian Peninsula.  Download articles here


2010 survey on the African Lion: Conservation Status of the Lion (Panthera leo Linnaeus, 1758) in Malawi.

Published by the Fondation IGF and now available online, this national survey was carried out, at the request and under the auspices of the authorities in charge of wildlife in the country, by teams of national and IGF Foundation experts. The 4 other similar national surveys on the status of the Lion in Benin, Central African Republic, Mozambique and Tanzania are all available on the IGF website here


ProAves Conservacion Colombiana No.14

This edition marks an important step forwards for parrot conservation, containing action plans and conservation assessments for 15 threatened parrot species as well as scientific papers on the biology and ecology of the Santa Marta Parakeet, Yellow-eared Parrot and Golden-plumed Parakeet. ProAves has a long history of parrot conservation in Colombia, ever since its inception, and is pleased to be able to present further results and proposals for ensuring that these flagship species can be encouraged and saved from extinction.  Available online here


Latest IUCN publications "Off the Shelf"

For the latest information on IUCN publications, see “Off the Shelf”. The February 2011 issue is now available.

Off the shelf newsletter

Hulme PE 2011. Addressing the threat to biodiversity from botanic gardens. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, in press

This controversial article discusses the role of botanic gardens in plant invasions - and click here for the response of Red List partner organisation GCGI.


LIFE and European Mammals: Improving their conservation status March 2011 - 64 pages

Europe is home to a wide range of mammals from the smallest shrew to the massive European bison. Though strategically important for Europe's rich biodiversity, many mammals have suffered as a result of habitat degradation and loss, in addition to other direct threats such as excessive hunting and human disturbance. While many species remain endangered, EU conservation policy has addressed threats to mammals, and some positive results have been achieved. This brochure highlights many of the actions that the EU has supported and offers a valuable overview of what has been achieved towards securing the future of Europe's diverse range of mammals, both great and small. Download: LIFE and European Mammals: Improving their conservation status pdf (~6,7 MB)


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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Europe Overseas Forum on Google Groups

 The IUCN EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories Programme team has established an email discussion group for everyone interested in advancing biodiversity and climate change action in the Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union (EU).  Called Europe Overseas Forum and hosted on Google Groups - more info here


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


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