World’s First State of Migratory Species Report

A turtle swimming in the ocean, which is an a bright blue green colour. Credit: Randall Ruiz on Unsplash
A turtle swimming in the ocean. Credit: Randall Ruiz on Unsplash
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The first-ever State of the World’s Migratory Species report was launched in February 2024, as part of the latest global conference of Parties to the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

The landmark report reveals:

  • While some migratory species listed under CMS are improving, nearly half (44 per cent) are showing population declines.
  • More than one-in-five (22 per cent) of CMS-listed species are threatened with extinction.
  • Nearly all (97 per cent) of CMS-listed fish are threatened with extinction.
  • The extinction risk is growing for migratory species globally, including those not listed under CMS.
  • Half (51 per cent) of Key Biodiversity Areas identified as important for CMS-listed migratory animals do not have protected status, and 58 per cent of the monitored sites recognised as being important for CMS-listed species are experiencing unsustainable levels of human-caused pressure.
  • The two greatest threats to both CMS-listed and all migratory species are overexploitation and habitat loss due to human activity. Three out of four CMS-listed species are impacted by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, and seven out of 10 CMS-listed species are impacted by overexploitation (including intentional taking as well as incidental capture).
  • Climate change, pollution and invasive species are also having profound impacts on migratory species.
  • Globally, 399 migratory species that are threatened or near threatened with extinction are not currently listed under CMS.

Until now, no such comprehensive assessment on migratory species has been carried out. The report provides a global overview of the conservation status and population trends of migratory animals, combined with the latest information on their main threats and successful actions to save them.

Today’s report clearly shows us that unsustainable human activities are jeopardising the future of migratory species – creatures who not only act as indicators of environmental change but play an integral role in maintaining the function and resilience of our planet’s complex ecosystems. The global community has an opportunity to translate this latest science of the pressures facing migratory species into concrete conservation action. Given the precarious situation of many of these animals, we cannot afford to delay, and must work together to make the recommendations a reality.

Inger Andersen, UN Environment Programme Executive Director

Migratory species are extremely crucial for the world’s ecosystems by providing vital benefits, such as pollination, nutrien transfer, pest predation, and carbon storage. Billions of these important animals migrate annually on land, in rivers and oceans and in the skies, crossing national boundaries and continents. Some travel thousands of miles during various seasons to breed in other areas.

Prepared by conservation scientists at UNEP-WCMC for the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the CMS State of the World’s Migratory Species report is a comprehensive document utilizing the most robust species data sets available. It incorporates expert contributions from renowned institutions such as BirdLife International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the Zoological Society of London. The primary focus of the report is on the 1,189 animal species identified by CMS Parties as requiring international protection and listed under CMS. Additionally, it includes analysis related to over 3,000 other non-CMS migratory species. Species listed under the Convention are those deemed at risk of extinction throughout their range or in need of coordinated international efforts to enhance their conservation status. This report serves as a vital tool in understanding and addressing the conservation challenges faced by migratory species worldwide.

Here are the complete Press Release and the Full Report

I am a Chartered Environmentalist from the Royal Society for the Environment, UK and co-owner of DoLocal Digital Marketing Agency Ltd, with a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, an MBA in Finance, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics. I am passionate about science, history and environment and love to create content on these topics.

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