International Union for Conservation of Nature

It may interest you to know that one of this generation’s most iconic characters, Dumbledore, takes his name from an Old English term for the bumblebee. It’s easy to see why J.K. Rowling could be so inspired, bumblebees never seem incessantly busy like their honey-crazed counterparts and they tend to “bumble” along alighting among  flowers...

There’s a growing trend among scuba divers in the Caribbean: they’re on the hunt for something tasty… Last month, the Glass Goby (Coryphopterus hyalinus) suffered a change in status on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Previously considered of Least Concern to conservationists, this reef-dwelling fish is now listed as Vulnerable. And it isn’t alone....

South Africa’s illicit abalone trade is steeped in the after-effects of apartheid, organized and violent crime, illegal drugs, and corruption. Species like rhinos, tigers, and elephants are generally better at building public awareness than abalone, a large type of marine snail, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the potency of wildlife crime is any...

The IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia saw the release of the latest update to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ in front of a global audience of protected area professionals, conservationists, government representatives, and business leaders. These leaders consistently agreed that survival of many species depends on the conscious interaction between our...

Yesterday I met Lonesome George. He was the last of his kind and he is now displayed in taxidermy at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He’s tucked away under a glass case in an alcove on the 4th floor amidst other extinct species, but, none of their extinctions are nearly as...

The biodiversity of life on Earth is disappearing faster than at any time in human history. Among the many people sounding the alarm of our disappearing natural history the IUCN Red List is the instrument that is used to measure biodiversity loss and the species that are most at risk of extinction. People like Elizabeth...

In all the money that is devoted to the conservation of the most charismatic species, there is one that has been lifted far above what I thought was the highest plateau of funds devoted to conservation. You might at first think of the Giant Panda. You, however, as I was, would be wrong; although millions...

Hunter S. Thompson once wrote “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” While he was talking about piracy and salvage in the Florida Keys, there is an ecological attractiveness in this statement that...

Nations throughout Africa have The Big Five (the little five too), Australia has Koalas and Kangaroos, the United States has the Bald Eagle, and Canada has the noble Beaver. Every corner of the world has its species that help to define cultures, geographies, and national identity. However, these five nations have taken their pride in...

For three years I taught Animal Biology labs to undergraduate students at George Mason University. Extra credit assignments were not permitted, so I liked to build in a few intermittent low-ball quiz questions to provide some levity to an otherwise strict and challenging syllabus. My favorite question to ask was “what is your favorite species?”...

In 1970, a group of experts on frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians noticed that populations of the Yosemite Park Toad in California had suddenly crashed. The habitat was suitable, there seemed to be nothing wrong but their numbers had crashed to very low levels. People scratched their heads and thought of it as just one...

Perhaps one of the most interesting ways that people use species is to support our own actions, beliefs, and loyalties. Some of the most recognizable mascots and brands in the world are based on the qualities associated with a species or, more often than not, the actual species itself. Our cultures are filled with businesses,...

The conservation of biodiversity through the use of information contained in The IUCN Red List is especially tailored towards the conservation of species that are threatened with extinction. It is natural that the affinity and resources for conservation would turn towards these species and in this regard The IUCN Red List has been exceptionally valuable...

Last week IUCN released its first Red List update of 2014. Within the thousands of species added to or updated on the Red List in 2014 we uncovered interesting and important data about some popular species (read about it here). In addition to these species, The IUCN Red List is also a source of data...

Twice a year, the IUCN Red List is updated to include species that have been assessed for the first time or re-assessments of species that need updating. In the first update of 2014, we call attention to the Brazilian mascot of the FIFA World Cup, seductive Slipper Orchids, an expensive and Endangered Japanese delicacy, and...