CIE Spotlight: Conserving the World’s Megafauna and Biodiversity: The Fierce Urgency of Now

Thomas N.

Authors: Ripple, William J.; Chapron, Guillaume; Vicente Lopez-Bao, Jose; Durant, Sarah M.; MacDonald, David W.; Lindsey, Peter A.; Bennett, Elizabeth L.; Beschta, Robert L.; Bruskotter, Jeremy T.; Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa; Corlett, Richard T.; Darimont, Chris T.; Dickman, Amy J.; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Dublin, Holly T.; Estes, James A.; Everatt, Kristoffer T.; Galetti, Mauro; Goswami, Varun R.; Hayward, Matt W.; Hedges, Simon; Hoffmann, Michael; Hunter, Luke T. B.; Kerley, Graham I. H.; Letnic, Mike; Levi, Taal; Maisels, Fiona; Morrison, John C.; Nelson, Michael Paul; Newsome, Thomas M.; Painter, Luke; Pringle, Robert M.; Sandom, Christopher J.; Terborgh, John; Treves, Adrian; Van Valkenburgh, Blaire; Vucetich, John A.; Wirsing, Aaron J.; Wallach, Arian D.; Wolf, Christopher; Woodroffe, Rosie; Young, Hillary; Zhang, Li

Source: BIOSCIENCE, 67 (3):197-200, MAR 2017

Brief summary of the paper: In our recent perspective article, we noted that most (approximately 0 percent) terrestrial large carnivore and large herbivore species are now threatened with extinction, and we offered a 13-point declaration designed to promote and guide actions to save these iconic mammalian megafauna (Ripple et al. 2016).

Some may worry that a focus on saving megafauna might undermine efforts to conserve biodiversity more broadly. We believe that all dimensions of biodiversity are important and that efforts to conserve megafauna are not in themselves sufficient to halt the dispiriting trends of species and population losses in recent decades.

From 1970 to 2012, a recent global analysis showed a 58 percent overall decline in vertebrate population abundance (WWF 2016). Bold and varied approaches are necessary to conserve what remains of Earth’s biodiversity, and our declaration in no way disputes the value of specific conservation initiatives targeting other taxa.

Indeed, the evidence is clear that without massively scaling up conservation efforts for all species, we will fail to achieve internationally agreed-upon targets for biodiversity (Tittensor et al. 2014).