Species Guardians

Many ways exist to save species, but one of the approaches central to the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme is the appointment of Species Guardians who take the lead in conserving a globally threatened species in their country or region. Their primary role is to take and encourage greater conservation action for their species, working with national and local governments, other concerned individuals, organisations and local communities.

BirdLife will appoint and support organisations and individuals from across the world - leaders in their field willing to take on this new global challenge. In addition to undertaking conservation work themselves, the Species Guardians will also monitor the status of the species, track the implementation and effect of actions taken, and report back to BirdLife on these each year. (Below: Conservation of the Critically Endangered Northern Bald Ibis has been assisted by Species Guardians in Morocco, Turkey and Syria.)

Priority is given to the recruitment and support of Species Guardians for globally threatened species that are Critically Endangered and are most urgently in need of conservation attention. The actions required vary from species to species, depending on the threats they face, and typically include habitat and site conservation, control of hunting and trapping, tackling invasive alien species, education and awareness-raising, building local community and government support, as well as research and monitoring.

BirdLife provides technical support to identify and implement conservation actions, and helps the Guardian to identify fund-raising opportunities and supports preparation of fund-raising proposals. It also facilitates on-the-ground conservation action through national, regional and global advocacy and policy, and ensures awareness of the species and coverage of the Guardian’s conservation work  for it by the world’s media. Finally, through its role as IUCN Red List Authority for birds, BirdLife can incorporate relevant information from the Species Guardian in the Red List updates.

BirdLife’s unique global structure, including its regional programme offices and in-country Partners, ensure that Species Guardians are never far from technical help and moral and practical support.


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