IUCN Introduces New Standard Assessing Species Recovery

IUCN Introduces New Standard Assessing Species Recovery

by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has set a new conservation standard, called the IUCN green status of species. This standard will not only suggest how close a species is to extinction but also how close it is to recovering its original population size and health. […]

Continue Reading 448 words
Advocates Urge Shipping Speed Limits to Protect Endangered Gulf Whale

Advocates Urge Shipping Speed Limits to Protect Endangered Gulf Whale

By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer

A coalition of environmental groups is urging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to set an 11.5 mph limit on shipping speeds in an 11,500 square mile stretch of water off the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama. 

Why This Matters: Whales, despite operating at the top of their food chains, face mass casualties and mortal threats from human activity.

Continue Reading 554 words
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.

Continue Reading 627 words
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.

Continue Reading 509 words
“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.

Continue Reading 684 words
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.

Continue Reading 561 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.