Save Ecosystem-Boosting Small Carnivores

Target: Bruno Oberle, Director-General of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Goal: Better assess threats against and status of small carnivorous animals.

Small carnivorous animals help keep plants intact and even disperse their seeds. They prevent the spread of invasive species. And they play numerous other incalculable roles in preserving the diverse ecosystems they call home. While their numbers are dwindling to often critical levels—in the Americas alone 62 percent of their populations have dropped—they receive notably little attention in comparison to their bigger and more attention-grabbing counterparts. In the world of conservation, small carnivores like ferrets, jackals, and weasels have gotten a raw deal.

Almost three times as many smaller carnivores are threatened as compared to large carnivores. In some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, the disparities are even greater. Despite these threats, larger animals are assessed and listed as threatened up to a decade before small carnivores receive the same treatment. And the overwhelming majority of conservation marketing efforts are reserved for the more photo-friendly animals as well.

The international agency responsible for bringing attention to the status of at-risk wildlife should embrace and execute a more inclusive conservation strategy. Sign the petition below to encourage equity in saving the world’s most endangered animals.


Dear Director-General Oberle,

The IUCN Red List is a critical tool in raising public awareness about wildlife conservation and driving action plans to protect animals at risk. But inequities in Red List assessment prevent this resource from reaching its full potential. Notably, the small carnivores that play such a crucial role in maintaining ecosystems receive significantly less attention in both assessments and eventual listings.

Some studies have indicated that the number of endangered small carnivores is as much as five times greater than larger carnivores. Yet the bigger animals get the lion’s share of the attention and benefit from much earlier assessments concerning their status. Please invest in balancing the scales so that all threatened or endangered animals have a fighting chance at survival.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Luciano Bernardi

One Comment

  1. We need these small animals to assist us through the climate crises. We need both our small animals and wildlife. Humans develop land for convenience and don’t consider habits. Corporations, builders, industry, lumber, and more don’t care what they destroy just that they can have what they want, now. Nature doesn’t work that way. Humans are one of the few species that can build up. We should do that and keep habitats where they are, uninterrupted. If we are to live through this time we need to recognize the importance of everything. The world is made up of many wonderful things!

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