The human asteroid: Sixth mass extinction underway
If there was any doubt about this before, a recent study has provided
further evidence that we have entered a period of mass extinction — the sixth in the Earth's history.
Gerardo Ceballos, from Universidad Autónoma de México, and colleagues published a paper in the
Science Advances in which, through rigorous analysis and conservative assumptions, they examine
whether humans are in fact driving a mass extinction. They found that in the last century vertebrates (mammals,
birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians) underwent extinctions at up to 114 times the conservatively estimated
background rate. By our calculation, at this rate half of existing vertebrate species would be extinct in 30
centuries, a depletion that could only be replenished through millions of years of evolution. But such a dramatic
loss is not inevitable. We can and must take greater action to conserve nature now.
Observing deforestation near real time: How a remote-sensing monitoring program is being used to
inform policy decisions in Peru
With ICFC support, partners Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) and Asociación para la Conservación de la
Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA) have recently published a first policy brief on the use and results of implementing a
remote sensing monitoring program in the Peruvian Andean Amazon to monitor deforestation. This brief
documents how areas subject to deforestation due to various causes (illegal mining, monoculture crop production,
new roads) can be clearly identified, monitored and quantified, even in relatively short periods of time. This
tool will be critical to inform policy decisions at the governmental level in Peru and beyond. To access the brief (in
Spanish), [>] click here.
[>] related ICFC project page
Protected areas worldwide: a report card
An article soon
to be published in Conservation Letters, a journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, takes stock of
what countries have actually achieved relative to their commitment to conserve at least 17% of terrestrial and
10% of marine environments through ecologically representative protected areas (PAs). The commitment, made
under the Convention on Biological Diversity, emphasized protecting "areas of particular important for
biodiversity". We are falling far short of this goal, especially in poorer countries, and for all taxonomic groups.
The authors, who include ICFC's Ariadne Angulo, call for better targeted PA expansion and other approaches
including community- and privately managed sites and "effective area-based conservation measures".
New staff at ICFC
ICFC has welcomed two key new staff members recently. Ariadne Angulo is ICFC's new Director of Conservation
(and has a cross appointment with IUCN) and Michelle Colero is Managing Director, Development. Each brings
valuable experience in the conservation world, Ariadne from the science and program side, and Michelle in
developing partnerships and support for international conservation. ICFC has also welcomed as a program
development Associate, Anton Struchkov, a Russian born Canadian conservationist living near Halifax. Michelle,
Ariadne and Anton join a keen small group of staff and associates united by a passion for conservation and the
determination to optimize our conservation impact. [>] Read more about ICFC
Window on Kayapo life, deep in the Amazon:
Few of us will have the opportunity to make the long journey (and get the necessary permits) to visit a
remote Kayapo community in the Brazilian Amazon. But PURE Energies, a generous supporter of the
Kayapo Conservation Program, has just returned from such a journey. Check out the wonderful video and blogs at
KayapoJourney.com for a personal perspective
of the way of life of these heroes of nature conservation.
Allan Baker, eminent scientist and shorebird conservationist. Canada and the world lost a leader in
shorebird conservation with the death on November 20th of Dr. Allan
Baker. Dr. Baker was Senior Curator of Ornithology and head of the Natural History Department at the Royal
Ontario Museum. In addition to his research in molecular evolution, he was actively involved in conservation at key
staging and wintering areas for migratory shorebirds throughout the Americas and was co-founder of the Global
Flyway Network. Allan was a friend and Advisor to ICFC and he helped us to develop our Shorebird Conservation
Initiative this year (a webpage for the initiative is in the works). His influence will continue for years to come in
our work and that of others committed to shorebird conservation.
Art exhibit of portraits aids Kayapo program
On November 13th, Terrin Art held its
"Kayapo Guardians of the Rain Forest Exhibition" with ten original paintings by Belgian artist Peter Terrin, from
which the gallery is generously donating half the proceeds in support of ICFC's Kayapo conservation program.
Thank you, Peter Terrin!
Focus on shorebirds
Shorebird species, like the Red Knot, which breeds in the Canadian Arctic and migrates 15,000 km to Tierra
del Fuego at the southern end of South America to winter, are in decline. Semipalmated Sandpiper is another
Arctic-breeding species in decline. Protected at key migration key sites on the Bay of Fundy, it faces threats at
wintering sites along the north coast of South America in the Guyanas, Suriname and northern Brazil. ICFC is
talking to shorebird experts and developing project plans to address problems that shorebirds face at key
wintering and migration stopover sites in South America. Stay tuned!
Success in foiling mink boosts Hooded Grebe breeding success.
This just in: During
the 2013-2014 breeding season, guardians at Hooded Grebe nesting colonies reported zero incidents of
mink predation, indicating that enhanced mink control efforts were highly successful. Predation by introduced
American mink has been a key factor causing population decline for this Critically Endangered Species. [>] Project page
Protecting the Amazon: Interview with Grand Chief Megaron
A Kayapo leader talks about
threats to Kayapo lands, their motivation for protecting their lands, carbon credits, cultural survival, and Toronto's
winter weather! [>]
Grand Chief Megaron's visit to Toronto spotlights Canadian assistance in Amazonian conservation
© Jason van Bruggen/ICFC
The Kayapo people of Brazil perform a service to the world in protecting a vast area of the southeastern Amazon
from illegal logging, mining and land clearing for agriculture. But in Toronto recently a Kayapo leader pointed to
the key role played by their foreign partners, ICFC chief among them. The Amazonian rainforest benefits the
world by supporting about a third of the planet's terrestrial species and providing hugely valuable ecosystem
services such as climate and water regulation. Grand Chief Megaron explained through a translator that their land
means everything to the Kayapo and that support from international conservation organizations is crucial in
enabling them to continue to protect their lands from increasing threats.
[>] Related Globe and Mail story, Jan. 20, 2014.
Susan Canney gives TED talk on Mali elephant project Kayapo cover story in
In a newly posted TED talk, Susan
innovative approach taken by our Mali elephant project that has resulted in continued
conservation gains through Mali's period of crisis. (Follow Susan on Twitter:
ICFC's flagship program receives world attention through a cover story ("Defenders
of the Amazon")
on the Kayapo in the January 2014 issue of National Geographic
. And see the
companion article, Rain Forest Warriors: How Indigenous Tribes Protect the Amazon
[>] Read more
WILD10: ICFC at the World Wilderness Congress
ICFC staff gave presentations to hundreds of
conservation professionals from around the world this October at the tenth World Wilderness Congress in
Salamanca, Spain. Susan Canney, Director of the Mali Elephant Project, presented on Community
Conservation During Rebellion, War, and Global Terrorism, and Barbara Zimmerman, Director of the Kayapo
Program, led a session on Keeping Primary Forests Intact: Why and How
Special report on
biodiversity in The Economist
The September 14th issue of The Economist takes an in-depth look at biodiversity that is
cautiously optimistic, but overlooks key concerns.
[>] Read more
Kayapo expedition expels illegal goldminers
In a dramatic surveillance expedition this summer, 46 Kayapo warriers backed by ICFC's partner
organization expelled illegal goldminers from a remote location in Kayapo territories.
[>] Read more
New maps identify global conservation priorities
An important contribution for prioritizing
conservation was made this year with the publication of
a new analysis of the geographic distributions of three vertebrate taxa, with maps showing where these species
— and the most vulnerable among them — are concentrated. [>]
Consevationists meet in Ottawa for the BirdLife International World Congress
Conservationists from 122 countries convened in Ottawa June 19-22 for the 2013 BirdLife International
World Congress. ICFC was there...
[>] Read more
Mali — Elephant conservation hinders recruitment of young men to armed groups
Our elephant conservation work in Mali has continued through the recent occupation by Tuareg rebels and
Islamic militants in the north Gourma, and — in a striking result — has offered young men an
alternative to joining armed groups. They preferred to work for the project creating firebreaks and in
[>] Read more.
Peru — Reserve becomes more crucial for "uncontacted indigenous people"
guards were startled recently to encounter uncontacted indigenous people deep within the Los Amigos
Conservation Concession in the Peruvian Amazon. These tribal
people generally avoid contact with civilization and are protected by a large, remote reserve for indigenous people
"in voluntary isolation". [>] Read more
Ecuador — ICFC joins effort to enlarge Buenaventura reserve
Half the world's known
population of the El Oro Parakeet is found in the small Buenaventura reserve in Ecuador. There is an excellent
opportunity now to expand the reserve. ICFC and other conservation organizations joined partner
Fundación Jocotoco in raising funds to purchase
an adjacent high-value property. This acquisition is now complete! [>] Read
ICFC Annual Report for 2012 now out
View a digital version of the report or
for a printed copy.
Argentina — Newly declared Patagonia National Park to protect the hooded grebe
Thanks to the work of Aves Argentina and (ICFC partner) Ambiente Sur, a new national park was recently
declared that will protect the core breeding population of the Critically
Endangered hooded grebe, Podiceps gallardoi, on the Buenos Aires Plateau in Argentina's Santa Cruz
province. Field work is underway to survey the breeding population and address the causes
of the species' decline. See our project page.
Bruce Babbitt addresses ICFC gathering in Toronto
At a November reception in Toronto, we welcomed as speaker Bruce Babbitt, former U.S. Secretary of
the Interior in the Clinton Administration and former governor of Arizona. Mr. Babbitt, an active conservationist
and director of ICFC partner Amazon Conservation Association (ACA), talked about
ACA's Los Amigos Conservation Concession in Peru, which is located in "the last, best, most pristine
undisturbed biologically intact part of the Amazon". He lauded ICFC's new trust fund for Los Amigos
as "a model for elevating protection" of public and private protected areas. We also heard how he became
involved in tropical conservation and his take on current conservation priorities. [>] Read more