Over 1000 species translocated to counter global biodiversity threats

Friday 15 April 2016


More than 1000 species have been the subject of conservation translocations as the world’s biodiversity faces the threats of habitat loss, invasive species and climate change.

Conservation translocation is the intentional movement and release of a living organism where the primary objective is a conservation benefit. This will usually comprise improving the conservation status of the focal species locally or globally, and/or restoring natural ecosystem functions or processes.

Delivering the prestigious St Andrews Prize for the Environment lecture next week (Wednesday 20 April) one of the world’s leading conservationists will argue that because many species are left vulnerable to extinction, translocations may be necessary to reinforce, reintroduce, or relocate populations.

alex-prize-lecture-mainbodyDr Axel Moehrenschlager (pictured), Director of Conservation and Science at the Calgary Zoo and Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Reintroduction Specialist Group, said: “Conservation translocations such as reintroductions have increased exponentially over recent decades. This is likely due to improvements in science and practice, but also in response to ever increasing pressures on the world’s ecosystems.

“Unfortunately the mere preservation of habitat in isolation of more intensive management may now leave many species vulnerable to extinction.

“That said, conservation translocations have often been successful. Indeed we were surprised last week to find that over 1000 species have been translocated for conservation to date.”

Dr Moehrenschlager, who has conducted research and training to develop science-based solutions for effective conservation for more than 25 years, will deliver the 2016 St Andrews Prize for the Environment Lecture on Wednesday 20 April from 6 to 7pm in the University of St Andrews Medical and Biological Sciences Lecture Theatre, North Haugh, St Andrews. Entry is free. No preregistration is required.

Notes to news editors

The St Andrews Prize for the Environment was set up by the University of St Andrews and ConocoPhillips in 1998 to recognise significant contributions to environmental conservation. Following receipt of over 500 entries from around the world, three finalists have been chosen for this year’s prestigious award. The winner will receive US$100,000 and the two runners-up will each receive US$25,000.

The winner will be announced in St Andrews on Thursday 21 April 2016.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 46 7310 or [email protected].

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