“Ignoring species conservation means ignoring a world in which species are currently disappearing at a rate 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal. The loss of wild plant and animal species is a real threat to human well-being, sustainable development and poverty reduction. In these times of economic turmoil, it would be wise not to further damage nature—our ultimate safety net,” says Jean-Christophe Vié, deputy director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme and SOS Director.
Save our Species (SOS), a global species conservation fund initiated by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has partnered with the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to make $US 3.3 million available to 23 species conservation projects around the world.
Drawing on species conservation knowledge accrued over decades by IUCN, for the first call for proposals SOS focused on species groups that were completely assessed on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species™ and already had specific conservation action plans in place. According to IUCN’s Red List, one in three amphibians, one in eight birds, and one in four mammals are at risk of extinction in the wild. Nineteen different organizations will use these funds to conserve threatened animal and plant species and their habitats.
SOS supports a variety of mammal projects such as conservation programmes targeting the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) and Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis) in Africa, in addition to the endangered Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) in Pakistan.
Mammals represent the largest portion of the SOS portfolio, but they are not the only species at risk. SOS also supports bird and amphibian projects, protecting the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) in Asia; a project to re-introduce the Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia); and an initiative preserving the Golden Mantella Frog (Mantella aurantiaca) in Madagascar.
In October 2010, SOS was established with more than $US10 million in financing commitments in order to build a global coalition to protect threatened species and their habitats.