IUCN Report on Endangered Species Threatened by Conflict


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    Recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) released a report on endangered species threatened by conflict.

    Major Highlights of the Report 

    • A report examined the close interplay between the environment and armed conflict.
    • It found that Civil unrest and military exercises pose heightened risks to more than 200 threatened species, including elephant populations and the critically endangered Eastern gorilla which is found in the conflict-prone Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
      •  The species were facing threats from the direct killing of wildlife, degradation of ecosystems and the disruption of conservation efforts.
    • The report pointed to the dramatic impact on a range of species from conflicts.
      • Impacts of 1994 war in Rwanda
        • During the 1994 war in Rwanda for instance, 90% of the large mammals in the Akagara National Park were killed for food or trade, with the genocide sending thousands of people fleeing through protected areas, killing animals for food and clearing trees along the way.
      • Sudan militia
        • It also highlighted a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime indicating that militia from Sudan was responsible for the deaths of some 2,000 elephants in the Central African Republic in 2007 alone.
      • Vietnam War
        • The report also said the Vietnam War “almost certainly accelerated the slide into extinction” of the Javan rhinoceros, as the Viet Cong shot them to supplement a meagre diet.
    • The report meanwhile found that conflicts were less frequent within the boundaries of nature reserves and other protected areas.
    • Such areas cover an estimated 15% of the land but overlap with only three per cent of the armed conflict events.


    • The report stressed that conservation, restoration and sustainable management of natural resources can help in reducing the pressures that drive conflict.
    • It suggests improving the condition and productivity of the landscape which supports the livelihoods and well-being of indigenous and local communities.
    • As environmental degradation and climate change intensify, it is becoming increasingly important to formulate security, development and environmental policy.
    • The report listed policy recommendations to mitigate and prevent armed conflict, including establishing safeguards for staff in protected areas, environmental defenders and other conservationists.
    • It also called for sanctions against those who commit environmental war crimes.

    About  International Union for Conservation of Nature’s(IUCN) Red List

    • Established in 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s(IUCN)Red List has become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species.
    • The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. 
    • The RED LIST has emerged as a powerful tool for initiating actions for biodiversity conservation and policy change.

    Source: TH