Over Earthwatch, the international environmental charity, will this month be part of an historic meeting of The World Conservation Union Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC), the biggest network of conservation experts dedicated to fighting the species extinction crisis.
The meeting of the SSC's Specialist Group Chairs will take place in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, from February 11th to 14th. It will mark the first ever meeting of its kind in the Commission's almost 60-year history. Representing Earthwatch will be Research Manager Dr. James Burton, who is Chair of the Asian Wild Cattle (and Buffalo) Specialist Group.
He explains, "The meeting will include discussion of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which is relevant to Earthwatch scientists, because this is the primary source of information on assessing the conservation status of species. Earthwatch scientists supply considerable data to this Red List database, as well as using it as a resource. For example, Earthwatch scientists Dr. Laurie Marker and Dr. Frank Paladino contribute research findings on the cheetah and leatherback turtle from our conservation projects in Namibia and Costa Rica."
The IUCN SSC is a science-based network of around 7,000 volunteer experts from almost every country of the world, including researchers, government officials, wildlife veterinarians, employees from institutes such as Earthwatch, marine biologists and protected area managers. The SSC's primary role is to provide information on issues such as biodiversity conservation, the inherent value of species, and their role in ecosystem health. IUCN members like Earthwatch also provide scientific advice to government agencies and other IUCN members, and support the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.
Dr. James Burton adds, "This meeting is an exciting step in the quest to protect the world's fragile species. It will be a great opportunity for learning, and sharing knowledge and experiences that will be disseminated to the Earthwatch scientific community."