Now Designated Separately, Two African Elephant Species are Facing Extinction

Now Designated Separately, Two African Elephant Species are Facing Extinction

Last week the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released a new Red List conservation assessment for African elephants, evaluating the status of both the savanna elephant and the smaller forest elephant. 

Why This Matters: The IUCN Red List currently lists over 35,000 threatened species of plants, animals, insects, and even fungi. A UN report found that one million species could be threatened with extinction in the coming decades due to climate change, illegal poaching and trafficking, and habitat destruction.

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37% of UNESCO Heritage Sites Damaged by Climate Change

37% of UNESCO Heritage Sites Damaged by Climate Change

Many of the world’s most well-known treasures are UNESCO heritage sites, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Taj Mahal. Yet dozens of these sites are under threat from climate change. Flooding, droughts, fires, and the bleaching of coral reefs have marred 83 of the 252 World Heritage Sites.

Why this Matters: UNESCO World Heritage sites are incredibly important ecosystems and cultural symbols, and it would be a tragedy to lose them.

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“Himalayan Viagra” — the World’s Costliest Fungus — Is Added to IUCN Red List

“Himalayan Viagra” — the World’s Costliest Fungus — Is Added to IUCN Red List

This week Shivani Azad reported in Times of India that the “world’s costliest fungus,” Ophiocordyceps sinensis, was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species as a “vulnerable” species. The fungus, better known as “Himalayan Viagra,” yields profits on the global market between $5 billion and $11 billion  — in traditional Chinese medicine, it is a panacea for a  wide variety of medical issues, including as an aid to sexual performance.

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North Atlantic Right Whale and Many Species of Lemurs Now Critically Endangered

North Atlantic Right Whale and Many Species of Lemurs Now Critically Endangered

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is the global authority when it comes to whether a species is at risk of extinction, yesterday added the North Atlantic Right Whale of the eastern U.S. to its list of Critically Endangered species (elevated from Endangered) that are on the brink of extinction.  The IUCN also “upgraded” 13 different species of lemurs to the Critically Endangered list along with 20 other lemur species at risk of imminent extinction.

Why This Matters:  These species are on the verge of going extinct not because of anything they did, but rather because of us humans.

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Interview of the Week: Justin Kenney, UN Foundation, on Super Year for the Ocean

Interview of the Week: Justin Kenney, UN Foundation, on Super Year for the Ocean

Justin Kenney is the Senior Advisor for Climate, Energy, and Environment at the United Nations Foundation.   ODP: It’s a new year and in 2020, we know there will be a huge focus on the U.S. elections. But it is also a huge year for ocean conservation. Why? JK: 2020 will be the most important year […]

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What Are We Doing to Protect Biodiversity?

What Are We Doing to Protect Biodiversity?

  Throughout this week we’ve written about what biodiversity means, what’s driving its loss and how it relates to climate change. It’s been pretty somber content so we also wanted to talk about what’s being done to ensure that we don’t see the worst biodiversity loss scenarios. Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the […]

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