Know : The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Do you know who decides which animal / plant species are threatened, which are extinct? Know about it. We must know how it works!

Red ListThe International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species. A series of Regional Red Lists are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), founded in 1964, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species

The IUCN Red List is set upon precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. The aim is to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the international community to try to reduce species extinction. 

Major species assessors include BirdLife International, the Institute of Zoology (the research division of the Zoological Society of London), the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and many Specialist Groups within the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). Collectively, assessments by these organizations and groups account for nearly half the species on the Red List.

The goals of the Red List are

  • (1) to provide scientifically based information on the status of species and subspecies at a global level,
  • (2) to draw attention to the magnitude and importance of threatened biodiversity,
  • (3) to influence national and international policy and decision-making, and
  • (4) to provide information to guide actions to conserve biological diversity.

The IUCN aims to have the category of every species re-evaluated every five years if possible, or at least every ten years.

Categories

Red_List_Structure_of_Categories_1

Species are classified by the IUCN Red List into nine groups, set through criteria such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation.

  • Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining.
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
  • Critically Endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild.
  • Near Threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future.
  • Least Concern (LC) – Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
  • Data Deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
  • Not Evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

When discussing the IUCN Red List, the official term “threatened” is a grouping of three categories: Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable.

he percentage of species in several groups which are listed as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable (in the order of color >> ) from on the 2007 IUCN Red List.

Criticism

In 1997, the IUCN Red List came under criticism on the grounds of secrecy (or at least poor documentation) surrounding the sources of data.

These allegations have led to efforts by the IUCN to improve its documentation and data quality, and to include peer reviews of taxa on the Red List. The list is also open to petitions against its classifications, on the basis of documentation or criteria. A Nature editorial defended the Red List’s relevance in October 2008.

It has been suggested that the IUCN Red List and similar works are prone to misuse by governments and other groups that draw possibly inappropriate conclusions on the state of the environment or to effect exploitation of natural resources.


Courtesy : Google, Wikipedia and IUCN


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Earth Our Home Too : Parrots

parrots10

The parrot is a medium sized group of birds, with the parrot being best known for it’s extremely brightly coloured feathers, and the ability of some parrot species to talk, as these species of parrots are able to mimic sounds made by other animals such as humans.

There are thought to be over 350 species of parrot worldwide, ranging across rainforest regions of the Southern Hemisphere. The parrot tends to inhabit densely forested areas, where the parrot hunts insects and small mammals, as well as eating nuts, seeds and fruits.

The parrot can grow between 8cm and 1m, depending on the parrot species. The pygmy parrot is the smallest species of parrot in the world, growing to around the same size as an adult human’s finger. The pygmy parrot is found in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. The Hyacinth Macaw is the largest species of parrot in the world, growing to more than a meter in height and native to the jungles of central and eastern South America. However, the endangered kakapoof New Zealand can often be heavier than the Hyacinth Macaw, with the kakapooften reaching more than 3kg in weight.

The parrot is believed to be one of the most intelligent of all the bird species, mainly in the sense that parrots are able to replicate (mimic) the noises made around them. Some parrots are able to mimic modern sounds and human voices to almost perfection. One African grey parrot was found to have a vocabulary of more than 800 words!

Nearly all of the different parrot species around the world are known to live for a long time, particularly in comparison to other species of bird (even other species of animal). The average lifespan of the parrot is around 60 years, although it is not uncommon for parrots be much older ages, as many parrot individuals have reached the age of 100.

Parrots are identifiable by a number of their features, the brightly coloured feathers of the parrot being the most obvious one. Parrots are known to have sharp, curved beaks which help parrots to crack nuts open more easily and to access fruits on the trees. Parrots also have strong legs, but are most well known for the fact that there are four toes on each of the parrot’s two feet, two of these toes faces forwards and the other two toes face backwards. These remarkable feet help the parrot not only to perch on tree branches more easily, but also aid the parrot in climbing tree trunks or clambering through the dense jungle foliage.

Parrot populations are rapidly declining mainly due to deforestation and therefore destruction of the parrot’s natural habitat. Parrots are also a popular animal in the exotic pet trade and are trapped in the wild to be delivered to homes around the world.

Parrots are found on all tropical and subtropical continents, including Australia and Oceania, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America and Africa. Caribbean and some Pacific islands are home to endemic species. By far the greatest number of parrot species comes from Australasia and South America. 

Due to their large size (of the majority of parrot species) and intelligence, parrots have few natural predators in the wild. The human trapping and hunting parrots, is the main predator of the parrot along with monkeys, snakes and large birds of prey that tend to feed more on the eggs of the parrot rather than the bird itself.

The diet of parrots consists of seeds, fruit, nectar, pollen, buds, and sometimes arthropods and other animal prey. The most important of these for most true parrots and cockatoos are seeds; the evolution of the large and powerful bill can be explained primarily as an adaptation to opening and consuming seeds. 

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Courtesy : Google, Wikipedia, AtoZanimals.com

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