IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) has updated released the updated conservation staus of three headline species ahead of their September meeting; Bornean orang utan, whale shark and winghead shark.
Bad news for all three with the updated statuses increasing and suggesting that current conservation actions have not been sufficient.
Bornean orang utans have joined their Sumatran cousins in the Critically Endangered category and further illustrate the peril of this species, their slow and late reproduction seem to further exacerbate the losses the species has seen.
Whale sharks are another slow breeding species, though their life histories are poorly understood, that show signs of severe population decline – they have been re-evaluated to Endangered status. There have been some significant protections put into place in some parts o their range, but as Simon Pierce, lead Red List assessor, member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Shark Specialist Group, and co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation says, “more needs to be done domestically to protect whale sharks at a national level“.
The third species, winghead shark highlighted has been lifted from Near Threatened (as the name suggests, a species with a population that is not yet regarded as being threatened in the wild) to Endangered. Skipping the intermediate Vulnerable category suggests a significant amount of new data. The IUCN list entanglement in fishing gear as a particular threat due to the species morphology.
The IUCN’s work to collate and interpret huge bodies of data is hugely important, but their results can only be as good as the data they receive. We need lots of excellent data to accurately monitor the natural world, from businesses, NGOs, governments and volunteers.
Did you know that you can participate in national wildlife monitoring? The RSPB and Wildlife Trusts provide opportunities across the UK, and many other organisations specialise in specific types of species.
Link to original IUCN press release: http://www.iucn.org/news/whale-sharks-winghead-sharks-and-bornean-orangutans-slide-towards-extinction