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
Sumatran Tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies
They have "Eye spots" or "predator spots", which are white spots on the back of their ears, are thought to make them look larger to any predator approaching from behind
They have webbing between their toes, owing to their ability to swim adroitly
Photos Courtesy of: Mark Butcher(3), ZSL(1), from left to right
From west to east: Indonesian island of Sumatra
Mountain forest and peat moss forests
Wild boar, Malayan Tapir, and deer
Swiftly swimming cornering their slower hoofed prey in the water
Silent and stealthy killers but proud and patient parents