Bangor scientists contribute to global conservation review.

Conservation scientists at Bangor University have contributed data to the latest comprehensive conservation assessment of the world’s vertebrates.

The Red List™ report published in the international journal Science, (The Impact of Conservation on the Status of the World's Vertebrates Hoffmann et al. Science 26 October 2010: science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1194442) investigates the status of the world’s animals, birds and fish and reveals that one-fifth of species are threatened with extinction. However the analysis shows that the situation would be worse without the efforts of conservation. (See the Red List release with link to Abstract here.)

Dr Richard Jenkins, a research officer at the University’s School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, is an author on this important paper. Richard contributed to the assessment of the status of the mammals of Madagascar, particularly the bats on which he is a particular expert. He now works on a Bangor University project to address some of the threats facing these species, particularly bushmeat hunting. The project, funded by the UK government’s Darwin Initiative, has revealed worrying levels of hunting of threatened species and is working with the authorities and local communities in Madagascar to address the problem.

Julia Jones, senior lecturer in conservation at Bangor University, says “These results, the work of more than 3000 scientists from around the world, remind us of the serious threat facing many species. However they also demonstrate that conservationists are not just here to point out that there is a problem but that timely intervention by conservation projects can work and can save species from extinction.”

Nadia Richman, a PhD student at Bangor, co-ordinated conservation status assessments on a representative sample of the worlds bony fishes whilst working at the Zoological Society of London. She says “This report provides an important overview of the successes and failures of conservation. We have identified hotspots of threat, but must now use this knowledge to target conservation effort to these critical areas. The greatest proportion of funding continues to be spent on conservation in wealthy countries, countries that harbour fewest threatened species. Future efforts need to concentrate areas such as southeast Asia which presently receive a disproportionately low amount of attention but have many highly threatened species.”

Published in Science, the paper is the subject of a press conference at a crucial meeting of the signatures of the Convention on Biological Diversity happening in Nagoya, Japan on 27 October 2010.

Publication date: 28 October 2010