The mission of the EDGE of Existence programme is to prevent the extinction of the world's most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species.
The first step to achieving this mission is to raise awareness of these species. While efforts to conserve large charismatic animals such as elephants and rhinos are well-known, many other threatened species are sliding towards extinction unnoticed. Few people have ever heard of a bumblebee bat or the Chinese giant salamander. We aim to raise awareness of poorly-known EDGE species through our website, events, media reports and close encounters at ZSL London Zoo which is home to a number of EDGE mammals and amphibians. Only when we are aware these species exist and need our help can we begin to conserve them.
The next crucial step is to study the species in its natural habitat to determine the main threats so that informed conservation decisions can be made. Scientific research is essential for guiding effective conservation, providing insight into the status, trends and distribution of EDGE species and helping to define the different threats faced by these animals. Field studies also provide an excellent opportunity to engage local communities and stakeholders, enabling them to take part in conservation. The information collected is often used to produce a Conservation Action Plan, but sometimes the conservation actions needed are not always the most obvious solutions.
Conservation programmes must then be implemented following the guidelines and recommendations made by researchers in the field and local stakeholders. Conservation programmes should involve – and provide benefits to – local communities so that they can continue to protect their natural resources into the future, and benefit from the sustainable management of their environment.
One of the most effective ways in which the EDGE of Existence programme is working to secure the future of EDGE species is by helping to build conservation capacity in regions in which they occur. This is achieved though awarding two-year Fellowships to future conservation leaders ("EDGE Fellows") working on poorly-known EDGE species. The Fellows programme aims to create a new global network of in-country conservationists trained in cutting-edge wildlife management techniques and well-equipped to design and implement a project for a local EDGE species.
Explore the map above to find out more about EDGE Projects and Fellows.