(ANIMAL CONSERVATION) SOUTH KOREA — The Alliance for Zero Extinction is asking for the public’s help to select seven endangered animal sites for their new campaign. At the World Conservation Congress in South Korea, the AZE announced their mission to bring awareness to seven refuges of one or more endangered species. Alluding to the Seven Wonders of the World, the AZE believes that wildlife preservation should receive the same effort as that of historical monuments. Exactly 587 sites are host to 920 of the world’s nearly extinct species and with public involvement, seven of 20 AZE  nominated sites that are most important to maintaining global biodiversity will receive support from the organization. Read more to learn how you can become involved and cast your vote. — Global Animal 
The Alliance for Zero Extinction launched a campaign to help seven of the world’s most endangered species. Photocredit: kirainet via flickr

Robert Johns, American Bird Conservancy

A new initiative was announced earlier today by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea. AZE’s 7 Wonders (www.AZE7Wonders.org) campaign asks voters to help select seven sites from around the globe to highlight the plight of species on the brink. The winning sites will be featured in a campaign to help conserve endangered species. 

AZE has posted a list of 20 candidate sites from which voters can select their choice of seven. The 20 shortlisted sites were chosen from among 587 sites around the world identified by scientists working with AZE; sites that are the last refuges for one or more endangered species. The 20 sites represent a variety of taxonomic groups, including birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, as well as diverse geographies. Voting will be open through November and can be carried out at the campaign website: www.AZE7Wonders.org.

“The world rallies to preserve the heritage of priceless historical places like the Great Pyramid of Giza or the Colosseum, and we should also protect the places on Earth that harbor the most endangered species,” said Mike Parr, AZE Chair and Vice President of American Bird Conservancy. “By highlighting seven places out of the 587 sites that are most important to the preservation of the Earth’s biodiversity, in the tradition of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World,’ we can help draw attention to the importance of saving these sites.”

“The idea is to stimulate interest in – and hence action to save – threatened species that only occur in one place. Local pride will go a long way towards protecting these species,” said Tom Brooks, AZE Steering Committee member and Vice President for Science and Chief Scientist at NatureServe.

Fiji crested iguana by Matthias Liffers; Golden poison frog by ProAves

The campaign was launched today at the World Conservation Congress, which is being hosted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and where some 8,000 people have gathered to address global conservation issues. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was used by AZE to help identify the 920 Endangered and Critically Endangered species restricted to 587 single sites worldwide.

“These species have lived on Earth longer than any man-made structure, and we cannot allow them to disappear in the shadows, unnoticed,” said Parr. “We hope citizens feel a sense of pride and vote for the charismatic species found only at the unique places in their country.”

The following 20 sites (in random order) and their endangered species were selected for voting in the AZE’s 7 Wonders campaign:

1. Gough Island, UK – Tristan Albatross

2. Isla Robinson Crusoe, Chile – Juan Fernandez Firecrown

3. Abra Patricia, Peru – Long-whiskered Owlet

4. Raso da Catarina, Brazil – Lear’s Macaw

5. Hellshire Hills, Jamaica – Jamaican Ground Iguana

6. Anhui Chinese Alligator Nature Reserve, China – Chinese Alligator

7. Roti Island, Indonesia – Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle

8. Baly Bay National Park, Madagascar – Angonoka Tortoise

9. Yadua Taba Island, Fiji – Fiji Crested Iguana

10. Río Saija, Colombia – Golden Poison Frog

11. Bale Mountains, Ethiopia – Malcom’s Ethiopia Toad

12. Morningside and Handapan Ella Plains, Sri Lanka – Shrub Frog

13. Manas National Park, India – Pygmy Hog

14. Menabe – Andranomena, Madagascar – Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur

15. Helan Shan Nature Reserve, China – Helan Shan Pika

16. Rodrigues Mainland, Mauritius – Rodrigues Flying Fox

17. Massif de la Hotte, Haiti – La Hotte Glanded Frog

18. Lower Tana River, Kenya – Tana River Mangabey (monkey)

19. Chatham Islands, New Zealand – Shore Plover

20. Poyang Hu, China – Siberian Crane

The campaign is sponsored by AZE member, American Bird Conservancy. AZE (www.zeroextinction.org) is a joint initiative that aims to prevent species extinctions by identifying and safeguarding key sites, each of which is the last remaining refuge for one or more Endangered or Critically Endangered species. AZE’s goal is to create a frontline of defense against extinction by protecting as many of these sites as possible. Data are available on all AZE sites and an accompanying map graphically illustrates the location of each of the sites around the world.

More American Bird Conservancy: http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/120910.html