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How many bird and mammal extinctions has recent conservation action prevented?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rike Bolam, Dr Louise MairORCiD, Professor Philip McGowan



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Aichi Target 12 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) contains the aim to ‘prevent extinctions of known threatened species’. To measure the degree to which this was achieved, we used expert elicitation to estimate the number of bird and mammal species whose extinctions were prevented by conservation action in 1993–2020 (the lifetime of the CBD) and 2010–2020 (the timing of Aichi Target 12). We found that conservation action prevented 21–32 bird and 7–16 mammal extinctions since 1993, and 9–18 bird and two to seven mammal extinctions since 2010. Many remain highly threatened and may still become extinct. Considering that 10 bird and five mammal species did go extinct (or are strongly suspected to) since 1993, extinction rates would have been 2.9–4.2 times greater without conservation action. While policy commitments have fostered significant conservation achievements, future biodiversity action needs to be scaled up to avert additional extinctions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bolam FC, Mair L, Angelico M, Brooks TM, Burgman M, Hermes C, Hoffmann M, Martin RW, McGowan PJK, Rodrigues ASL, Rondinini C, Westrip JRS, Wheatley H, Bedolla Guzman Y, Calzada J, Child MF, Cranswick PA, Dickman CR, Fessl B, Fisher DO, Garnett ST, Groombridge JJ, Johnson CN, Kennerley RJ, King SRB, Lamoreux JF, Lees AC, Lens L, Mahood SP, Mallon DP, Meijaard E, Mendez Sanchez F, Percequillo AR, Regan TJ, Renjifo LM, Rivers MC, Roach NS, Roxburgh L, Safford RJ, Salaman PS, Squires T, Vazquez Dominguez E, Visconti P, Woinarski JCZ, Young RP, Butchart SHM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Conservation Letters

Year: 2020

Volume: 14

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 01/01/2021

Online publication date: 09/09/2020

Acceptance date: 23/08/2020

Date deposited: 06/11/2020

ISSN (electronic): 1755-263X

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1111/conl.12762


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