Celebrating Endangered Species Day: The IUCN

The third Friday of May: Endangered Species Day- The IUCN
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The third Friday of May: Endangered Species Day- The IUCN. Image: Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Celebrating Endangered Species Day: The IUCN

The third Friday in May is Endangeed Species Day, a day that aims to raise awareness about the importance of protecting endangered species worldwide. Many species are currently endangered or at risk of extinction due to habitat loss, climate change, illegal hunting and poaching, and other factors. 

There are currently more than 157,100 species on the IUCN Red List, with over 44,000 species that are threatened with extinction. 41% of amphibians, 26% of mammals, 21% of reptiles, and 12% of bird species are threatened with extinction. Some of the world’s most endangered animals in the wild include Javan Rhinos, Mountain Gorillas, the African forest Elephant, and, unfortunately, many more.

Protecting endangered species is important for biodiversity maintenance, which is essential for ecosystem stability, resilience, and sustainability. Many species also provide essential ecosystem services that benefit humans, including pollination of crops, water purification, and carbon sequestration.

Since 1948, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has helped to identify the species at risk and informs the world about conservation action and policy. It is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network. The IUCN has over 15,000 experts and 1,4000 Member organizations and works in over 160 countries. Their goal is to have 160,000 species assessed.

The IUCN Red List is a comprehensive database that assesses the conservation status of various species around the world. It helps provide information about species’ range, population size, habitats, threats, and conservation actions.

Species on the IUCN Red List are classified into one of nine Red List Categories that include: Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, Least Concern, Data Deficient and Not Evaluated.

Species that are listed as Vulnerable, Endangered, and Critically Endangered species are considered to be threatened with extinction.

The IUCN monitors the impact of climate change on nature and helps to guide the conservation and restoration of ecosystems to help mitigate and adapt to it. They work with governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders to develop conservation strategies and action plans for endangered species.

The plans often involve habitat protections, captive breeding programs, and community involvement to ensure the survival and recovery of species at risk.

The IUCN sets guidelines and standards for the conversation and management of endangered species. These guidelines provide a framework for sustainable practices and help organizations and governments make informed decisions regarding the protection of species and their habitats.

The IUCN supports and conducts research on endangered species to better understand their biology, ecology, and threats. Monitoring programs help track population trends and assess the effectiveness of conservation measures.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature also works with the public to raise public awareness about the importance of biodiversity and the need for endangered species conservation. Raising awareness also encourages responsible behavior to mitigate threats to species and their habitats.

The IUCN has developed a Nature 2030 Programme, which works towards protecting people, land, water, oceans, and climate through five pathways to transformative change: recognize, retain, restore, resource, and reconnect. 

Celebrating Endangered Species Day is important not only today but every day. Here are a few ways to celebrate:

  • Attend a lecture or seminar by a conservation group.
  • Donate to an endangered species organization.
  • Avoid unsustainable food products.
  • Learn more about the Endangered Species Act.
  • Volunteer at a local nature center.
  • Create fundraisers to support the events and programs planned to protect endangered species.
  • Visit the IUCN website and learn more about endangered species in your area and what you can do.

The animals we know and love at risk need our help and every action we take helps.

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