Conservation success stories: updating the Red List

Conservation success stories: updating the ‘Red List’

There are countless efforts being made locally, nationally and internationally to protect wildlife, and there were some good news stories coming out of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) World Conservation Congress in Hawaiʻi (early September 2016). Their ‘Red List of Threatened Species’ is the global gold standard on the status of the world’s animals and at the Congress the updated list was announced, with some notable status changes including two Australian conservation success stories.

The status of the bridled nailtail wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata) has improved, moving from endangered to vulnerable. Now found only in a small part of central Queensland, this once common species had a dramatic population decline during the 19th and early 20th centuries due to the impacts of invasive species and habitat loss. It was believed extinct for over 30 years until it was rediscovered in 1973. Since then, a successful translocation conservation program establishing new populations within protected areas is enabling this species to commence the long road to recovery.

The greater stick-nest rat (Leporillus conditor) once ranged across semi-arid regions of southern Australia, however by the 1930s was extinct on the mainland, only surviving in the wild on South Australia’s Franklin Islands. Due to a successful species recovery plan, which has involved a captive breeding program, reintroductions to former habitat and introductions to predator-free areas, the greater stick-nest rat has also improved status, moving from vulnerable to near threatened.

On an international level, big news was the change in status for the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Its improvement from endangered to vulnerable confirms that the Chinese government's efforts to conserve this species are effective. Also due to successful conservation actions, the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii) has moved from endangered to near threatened.

Conservation success stories: updating the Red List

Published: 15th Sep 2016

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