This month, the latest edition of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was released. This list is a critical tool for conservationists across the globe, used for identifying key species most at risk from habitat destruction, poaching, human activity and other such threats. By highlighting wildlife most at risk helps authorities and organisations to direct funding and conservation efforts more specifically, enabling support to be delivered where it is most needed.
The IUCN Red List provides updates on countless threatened species, but there is one update in particular that we are most pleased to see. This latest edition of the list has identified elephants in Borneo as being a separete sub-species to other Asian elephants. These elephants are smaller than average, and are known as “pygmy” Asian elephants.
We are most excited about this announcement as it has resulted from work funded by Elephant Family. Back in 2019, our partners the Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) held a workshop in Sabah to discuss the evolutionary distinctiveness of the Bornean elephant, arguing for it to be listed as a separate sub-species from its Asian relatives.
We are delighted that with funding from Elephant Family, this work was able to continue and result in the IUCN Red List being updated to included Bornean elephants. Being identified as a separate sub-species will help to improve targeting of conservation efforts, and help raise awareness of the status of these wonderful creatures.