Photo © John Ternan Calgary Zoo
Day after day, an increasing number of species are becoming rare or even extinct in the wild. The current mass extinction threatens to undermine the ecological fabric of nature and associated life-support systems for humanity. As our population triples from 3 billion in 1960 to 9 billion by 2050, societies world-wide recognize that conservation actions are necessary now to prevent extinctions and restore nature. The Conservation Translocation Specialist Group (CTSG), formally known as the Reintroduction Specialist Group, of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) is working with others to face emerging threats, restore species, and yield wide-ranging benefits for nature and people. Actions of our practitioners worldwide illustrate that there is hope and that positive change is possible.
IUCN is the only environmental organization affiliated with the UN General Assembly as it integrates government, non-government, and indigenous organizations to provide expertise regarding nature and associated implications for humanity. IUCN’s Red Listing Process yields the globally authoritative list of imperiled species and its methodology is used by most countries to determine national lists of species at risk. The IUCN SSC includes a small number of disciplinary groups that deal with overarching issues such as climate change, wildlife health, and sustainable use.
The CTSG is one of IUCN’s disciplinary groups, with member representation spanning all continents. CTSG is headquartered at the Calgary Zoological Society in Canada in partnership with the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi. CTSG developed IUCN SSC Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations, which are now available in 8 languages and have been integrated into government policy in many regions. These guidelines are applicable to all species on Earth, conservation translocations have been conducted for over 1500 species, and the diversity of objectives, species, and countries of application continues to increase. CTSG advances science, informs government policy, trains practitioners, and promotes the application of conservation translocations to benefit nature. Such activities acknowledge social, cultural, political, and economic considerations and often align to enhance tangible benefits to society.