The EDGE of Existence programme
is the only global conservation initiative to focus specifically on threatened species that represent a significant amount of unique evolutionary history.
Using a scientific framework to identify the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species, the EDGE of Existence programme highlights and protects some of the weirdest and most wonderful species on the planet.
The aim of the EDGE programme is to put these species on the map and catalyse conservation action to secure their future. Each year a number of the most poorly known and neglected EDGE species are selected for conservation attention. The ultimate goal of the EDGE programme is to ensure that local stakeholders, governments, and in-country and international conservation organisations take ownership of these forgotten species and commit to ensuring their future survival.
Some notable animals on the top 100 EDGE List:
1. Yangtze River dolphin
According to Chinese legend, this graceful freshwater dolphin is the reincarnation of a drowned princess. Long considered the world‘s rarest and most threatened cetacean, this species may already be extinct.
7. Black Rhinoceros
This two-horned African rhinoceros has suffered more persecution than any other species of rhino. This two-horned rhinoceros has a reputation for being unpredictable and dangerous. The total population decreased by a massive 96% between 1970 and 1992, the largest decline of any of the rhino species.
18. Giant Panda
The charismatic giant panda is the world's best known flagship species for conservation. Despite extensive protective measures, pandas are being forced into smaller and increasingly isolated pockets of habitat where there is often insufficient bamboo to support the declining populations. Only a few thousand giant pandas survive in the wild.
21. Pygmy Hippopotamus
The species has a severely fragmented distribution and is under increasing pressure from logging, farming and human settlement. The small isolated Nigerian population is thought to be extinct. There have been no confirmed reports of this distinct subspecies for decades, although unofficial reports from local people provide some encouragement that they may still exist.
77. African Elephant
The largest living terrestrial mammal, the African elephant is extremely intelligent, highly adaptable, and exhibits a remarkable degree of social cohesion manifested in very strong and long-lasting social ties. It is threatened by habitat loss, illegal hunting for its ivory, and deliberate persecution by the people it comes into conflict with.
81. Long-Eared Jerboa
Jerboas are small jumping rodents that resemble mice with long tufted tails and very long hindlegs. The long-eared jerboa can be distinguished from other jerboas by its enormous ears, which are about a third larger than its head. The species is thought to be declining as a result of human disturbance of its habitat.
82. Grevy's Zebra
The largest of the living zebra species. In recent history, the species has undergone one of the most substantial reductions of range of any African mammal. There has also been a 87 percent decline in numbers since the end of the 1970s. These declines were due in part to hunters killing the animals for their skins, which were made into fashionable clothing during the 1970s and 80s.
88. Blue Whale
The largest mammal ever known to have existed. The species is thought to feed almost exclusively on krill (small, shrimp-like crustaceans). For centuries the blue whale was safe from exploitation because of its sheer size and speed. However, the species was driven to the brink of extinction following the development of modern whaling techniques.
The orangutan is the only great ape that occurs outside Africa, and is the largest arboreal mammal in the world. Orangutans are the slowest breeding of all mammal species, giving birth to a single young every 6-8 years. Scientists predict that unless immediate action is taken, this peaceful primate could be the first great ape to become extinct in the wild.
Thanks to Albert
for the tip.