Red List Success

Posted: 27th June, 2017

The Deep’s IUCN Marine Red List Officer has been in post now for a year and in that time has demonstrated the pivotal role that zoos and aquariums can play in the conservation of the world’s species.

Constantly evolving, pioneering collections are exploring new avenues to drive positive impacts for global conservation. Since being appointed, The Deep’s Red List Officer, Rob Bullock, was dealt the mammoth task of contributing to the assessment of 20,000 species by 2020. In just 12 months, working with the IUCN Marine Biodiversity Unit, he has contributed to 454 assessments on aquatic species, including the stonefish - the world’s most venomous fish. This critical work identifies the status of each species and informs conservation decision making at a global scale. This data is then published on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Rob has been working to inspire and help develop further collaborations within other BIAZA zoos and aquariums across the UK, delivering a training workshop to enlist other like-minded conservationists into the programme. Working in collaboration with the IUCN Director of Strategic Partnerships, these actions will facilitate the inclusion of new IUCN Red List partnerships within the wider BIAZA community, bringing the specialised skill set of zoo and aquarium staff further into the global conservation effort.

Over the coming months, Rob will be spending time with representatives from collections who have signed up and will be training their staff on how to assess species for the Red List.

Attendance at IUCN conferences across the globe is also a vital part of the role and has seen Rob represent The Deep at a variety of exotic locales. His next venture sees him contributing to the assessment of Western Indian Ocean species in Zanzibar. This workshop will see specialists gather from across the globe to assess the extinction threat for several hundred fish species within this valuable area of marine biodiversity. By working together, many of the ‘not-evaluated’ species in the ocean may have a safer future.

The IUCN Red List has been assessing the extinction threat faced by species around the world for the last 50 years. It is the most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of the world’s species. This crucial tool is instrumental to driving conservation actions towards threatened species, enabling conservationists to reduce or prevent extinctions. The Red List is a global reference relied on by policy makers at the highest levels.

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