Launched in January 2007, ZSL's EDGE of Existence programme prioritises species for conservation attention according to their degree of unique evolutionary history (Evolutionary Distinctiveness) weighted by conservation urgency (Global Endangerment, representing threat status according to the IUCN Red List). The world's most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species are not only on the verge of extinction but are also totally unique in the way they look, live and behave. These irreplaceable species include the long-beaked echidna (one of only two types of egg-laying mammal), the Chinese giant salamander (a newt that has reached human proportions) and the West Indian solenodons (the only mammals capable of injecting venom into their prey through their teeth). EDGE species are immediate priorities for conservation attention because if they disappear then millions of years of unique evolutionary history will be lost forever and there will be nothing like them left on earth.
Our research has identified a major gap in global conservation efforts: 64% of the world's top 100 EDGE mammals and 85% of the top 100 EDGE amphibians are currently receiving little or no conservation attention. These alarming figures are likely to be even higher in less well-known taxa. EDGE's mission is to secure the future of these forgotten species through supporting targeted on-the-ground action for priority EDGE species (EDGE Projects), building conservation capacity in regions in which priority EDGE species occur (through our Fellowship programme) and encouraging others to support and engage in EDGE species conservation.
For more information visit: www.edgeofexistence.org
They are functionally blind due to lack of lenses in the eyes, and thus they use echolocation to detect food, navigate, and communicate amongst one another
They are recognized as the National Aquatic Animal of India
The Ganges River Dolphin is 1 of 4 "obligate" freshwater-living dolphins in the world
Photos Courtesy of: Mansur BCDP Wildlife Conservation Society
Length: 1.5-2.5 m
Up to 150 kg
Inhabits muddy, freshwater
Small fish and invertebrates (i.e. clams, shrimp)
Taking advantage of all senses except sight in order to enjoy life the fullest in the clouded world of rivers
Happy-go-lucky, side-ways swimming, mysteriously magnificent water mammal