10/12/2014

Bristol Zoo marks 50th anniversary of endangered species list

Throughout the month of November, Bristol Zoological Society is celebrating the 50th anniversary of International Union for Conserving Nature (IUCN) Red List, which identifies the world’s most threatened species and facilitates their conservation.

Throughout the month of November, Bristol Zoological Society is celebrating the 50th anniversary of International Union for Conserving Nature (IUCN) Red List, which identifies the world’s most threatened species and facilitates their conservation. Bristol Zoological Society is home to approximately 557 species, of which 255 are listed as Vulnerable in the wild, or a higher level of threat as Endangered or Critically Endangered. The Zoo’s Asiatic lions, for example, are listed as Critically Endangered, with as few as 400 left in the wild.

Throughout the month of November, Bristol Zoological Society is celebrating the 50th anniversary of International Union for Conserving Nature (IUCN) Red List, which identifies the world’s most threatened species and facilitates their conservation.  

Bristol Zoological Society is home to approximately 557 species, of which 255 are listed as Vulnerable in the wild, or a higher level of threat as Endangered or Critically Endangered. The Zoo’s Asiatic lions, for example, are listed as Critically Endangered, with as few as 400 left in the wild.

For Bristol Zoo, the IUCN Red List is a vital tool used to inform the design of conservation breeding programmes. The Red List is also a valuable education tool for describing the conservation status of a species to the public. During November, Bristol Zoo will be working hard to raise public awareness of the IUCN Red List by highlighting it in our presentations and displaying it in public enrichment activities.

Many of the Society’s staff are involved in IUCN sub-groups, dedicated to conserving species in the wild and coordinating the movement of species in human care. Dr Christoph Schwitzer, the Bristol Zoological Society’s Director of Conservation, is the Vice-Chairman of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, responsible for primates in Madagascar, as well as being the Red List Authority Coordinator responsible for designation of all primates on the list.

Through identifying those species most at risk, the Red Data List allows conservation organisations and policy makers to focus species conservation efforts.  The Red List consists of eight categories based on population trends and threats ranging from Extinct to Least Concern. 

Kirsten Pullen, CEO of BIAZA, said: “The IUCN Red List is the most comprehensive information source on the conservation status of the world’s animals, plants and fungi. So far 73,686 species have been assessed for the list; the goal is to achieve assessment of 160,000 of the 1,889587 species.”

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