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More than 300 critically endangered species completely unprotected, new study shows

April 7, 2004 (Washington, DC) At least 300 Critically Endangered (CR) as well as at least 237 Endangered (EN) and 267 Vulnerable (VU) bird, mammal, turtle and amphibian species have no protection in any part of their ranges, according to the most comprehensive peer-reviewed analysis of its kind. The findings appear in the current issue of the journal Nature.

The "global gap analysis" authors state that a major shift in conservation planning is required to avoid large-scale species extinctions over the next few decades. The prevailing strategy for global conservation, forged at the 1992 World Parks Congress, calls for protection for 10 percent of every major biome by the year 2000. But even though more than 10 percent of the Earth's land surface is now protected, the complete lack of protection for many of Earth's most threatened species underscores the "gaps" in the protected area system.

"Protecting more than 10 percent of the planet's land surface is a major conservation achievement," said Gustavo Fonseca, Executive Vice President for Programs and Science at Conservation International (CI) and Professor of Zoology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. "But this study proves that no matter how appealing arbitrary percentage targets might be from a political standpoint, we should focus specifically on those places with the greatest concentrations of threatened and endemic species."

The Center for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS) at CI led the study, in which 21 scientists representing 15 organizations participated.

But the analysis builds upon the work of thousands of scientists and dozens of institutions. CABS scientists compared a map of over 100,000 protected areas to maps of 11,633 species ranges from four species groups, based on data compiled through the Species Survival Commission of IUCN-The World Conservation Union and BirdLife International. They then identified places where species live without any prot
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Contact: Luba Vangelova
L.Vangelova@conservation.org
202-912-1294
Conservation International
7-Apr-2004


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