CMS to Present Preliminary Review of the Conservation Status of Migratory Species

Gandhinagar, 19 February 2020 - A preliminary review of the conservation status of CMS-listed migratory species will be presented to CMS COP13 today, highlighting priority areas for further development.
Key findings from the review show:
  • That the conservation status of 87 per cent of species listed on Appendix I and 56 per cent of the species listed on Appendix II can be considered of global concern;
  • That the population trends of 73 per cent of Appendix I species and 48 per cent for Appendix II are decreasing;
  • Stable or increasing population trends for 14 per cent of Appendix I species and 18 per cent of Appendix II species;
  • That fish appear to be the most rapidly declining taxa; 
  • That more than 90 per cent of CMS-listed species are impacted by biological resource use1,  in general and for all disaggregations by taxa -  mammals, birds, reptiles and fish (This includes both direct use of the target species as well as unintentional taking, and indirect effects related to the use of other species); and  
  • That three out of four species listed on Appendix I are impacted by intentional use2 while about 20 per cent are subject to forms of persecution and control3
The preliminary review is based on information from the IUCN Red List database, and also includes analysis for CMS-listed species of a few widely used indicators:  trends in protected area coverage of Key Biodiversity Areas identified for migratory species; the Red List Index of CMS-listed and migratory species; and the Living Planet Index for species listed on the CMS Appendices.
It was produced by the CMS Secretariat, in consultation with the Scientific Council with a view to delivering a flagship report, pending further resources. While the preliminary nature of the review suggests caution in drawing conclusions at this stage, areas for further development have been identified. These include:
  • An expansion of the current preliminary review, including an analysis of the relative impacts of various threats;
  • An in-depth review of the conservation status of individual Appendix I-listed species, starting with those classified in the categories of lowest threat of extinction in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with a view to determining inter alia:

          - differences in the conservation status of individual populations or management units;

- the importance of the protection provided by the listing on Appendix I for the conservation of the species and its individual populations;

  • An assessment of the impact of direct use on the conservation status of species listed on Appendix I.
A number of key factors need to be considered:  
  • An earlier version of the review was submitted to the CMS Scientific Council.  Time constraints did not allow a wider consultation and peer-review process before publication.
  • The scope of the IUCN data does not always fully correspond to the CMS listing, notably when only regional populations are listed in CMS Appendices.
  • The periodicity of Red List assessments varies greatly among assessed taxa. While the compilation of information for the individual species considered by the review uses the most recent assessment, for some species this can date back more than 15 years. 
  • Due to resource and time constraints, the compilation of information on threats is limited to the association of threats to individual species, without being able to consider additional data that could allow a quantification of the importance of such threats both in absolute and relative terms. Thus, the analyses of threats are limited to the calculation of the number and percentage of species affected by individual threats, without evaluating their severity and relative importance.
  • The IUCN classification of threats on which the compilation and analyses are based differs in some respects from other categorizations of threats commonly in use. For instance, habitat loss or degradation, generally regarded as a major threat to biodiversity, is not categorized as such in the IUCN classification. 


1 Defined in the IUCN – CMP Unified Classification of Direct Threats as “Threats from consumptive use of “wild” biological resources including both deliberate and unintentional harvesting effects; also persecution or control of specific species”.

2 With reference to the IUCN classification of threats, this includes hunting and collecting terrestrial animals and fishing and harvesting aquatic resources at both small and large scales, when the species being assessed is the target (threats coded 5.1.1, 5.4.1, 5.4.2)

3 Examples of persecution/control include wolf control, pest control, persecution of snakes because of superstition, beach protection with sharks nets, sharks and seals killed because they eat commercial fish species, etc.

Last updated on 19 February 2020