EDGE of Existence programme
The EDGE of Existence programme is a research and conservation initiative that focuses on species deemed to be the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE). Developed by the Zoological Society of London
Zoological Society of London
The Zoological Society of London is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats...

 (ZSL), the programme aims to raise awareness of the world’s EDGE species
EDGE Species
Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered species represent a disproportionate amount of unique evolutionary history. They have few close relatives and are often extremely unusual in the way they look, live and behave...

, implement targeted research and conservation actions to halt their decline, and to train in-country scientists (called EDGE Fellows) to protect them now and in the future.


The EDGE programme seeks to:
  • Identify the current status of poorly known, endangered, vulnerable and possibly extinct EDGE species.
  • Develop and implement conservation measures for all EDGE species not currently protected.
  • Support local scientists to research and conserve EDGE species worldwide.

Conserving EDGE species

The EDGE of Existence programme is centred around an interactive website that features information on the top 100 EDGE mammals and amphibians, detailing their specific conservation requirements. Ten focal species from each class are highlighted each year. Each of the top 100 species is given an EDGE-ometer rating according to the degree of conservation attention they are currently receiving, as well as its perceived rarity in its natural environment. Recent research suggests that 70% of the world’s top 100 EDGE mammals are currently receiving little or no conservation attention. The main goal of the EDGE of Existence programme is to ensure that appropriate research and/or conservation actions are implemented for each of these species by 2012.

EDGE Fellows

EDGE research and conservation is carried out by ZSL researchers, a large network of partner organizations and in-country scientists. An integral part of the EDGE programme is the EDGE Fellows Scheme, which provides funding and support to in-country scientists for field research on the conservation status and threats facing a particular EDGE species. EDGE Fellows participate in all phases of a research project, from study design to data collection, analysis and interpretation and receive guidance and training in monitoring techniques, community outreach and education. Each project is focused on delivering a conservation action plan.

Conservation catalyst

Once the action plan is completed, a meeting with local stakeholders is held to make additions and corrections to the document and to agree on a timeline and institutional responsibilities.


  • 2007 - EDGE Fellows hired to do field research on the Bactrian camel
    Bactrian camel
    The Bactrian camel is a large, even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of central Asia. It is presently restricted in the wild to remote regions of the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts of Mongolia and Xinjiang. A small number of wild Bactrian camels still roam the Mangystau Province of southwest...

    , long-eared jerboa
    Long-eared Jerboa
    The Long-eared Jerboa, Euchoreutes naso, is a nocturnal mouse-like rodent with a long tail, long hind legs for jumping, and exceptionally large ears...

    , and the pygmy hippopotamus
    Pygmy Hippopotamus
    The pygmy hippopotamus is a large mammal native to the forests and swamps of western Africa . The pygmy hippo is reclusive and nocturnal...


  • May 2007 - Expedition to Haiti
    Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

     to research the Hispaniolan solenodon.

  • May 2007 - Expedition to Papua uncovered evidence that Attenborough's long-beaked echidna still lives in the Cyclops Mountains. Conservation plans are underway.

  • August 2007 - Shortly after the baiji
    Baiji may refer to:* The Baiji or Yangtze River Dolphin * Baiji, Iraq, a city of northern Iraq.* "Baiji" is the pinyin Romanization for Baekje....

     is declared extinct, a video appears that may show a living specimen, one of EDGE's selected mammals for this year.

  • December 2007 - EDGE releases first footage of the long-eared jerboa ever captured in the wild from expedition to Mongolia
    Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...



  • 2008 - Three new EDGE Fellows hired to research the bumblebee bat
    Bumblebee Bat
    Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat , also known as the bumblebee bat, is a vulnerable species of bat and the only extant member of the family Craseonycteridae. It occurs in western Thailand and southeast Burma, where it occupies limestone caves along rivers.Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat is the smallest species of bat...

    , the slender loris
    Slender loris
    The slender lorises are two species of loris native to India and Sri Lanka, the only members of the genus Loris:* the red slender loris, Loris tardigradus* the gray slender loris, Loris lydekkerianus...

     and the golden-rumped elephant shrew
    Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew
    The Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew is the largest of the African elephant shrew family. It is the size of a small rabbit, and is only found in the coastal Arabuko Sokoke National Park north of Mombassa in Kenya. Its name is derived from the conspicuous golden fur on its hindquarters which contrasts...


  • January 2008 - EDGE begins its amphibians program by releasing the top 100 EDGE amphibians and naming ten focal species.

  • March 2008 - An EDGE expedition to Liberia
    Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

     captures rare images of the wild pygmy hippopotamus within three days of installing a network of camera traps.


  • January 2009 - Rediscovery of Hispaniolan solenodon in Haiti, followed by the establishment of a new UK Darwin Initiative
    Darwin Initiative
    The Darwin Initiative is a UK Government funding program that aims to assist countries with rich biodiversity but poor financial resources to meet their objectives under the Convention on Biological Diversity ; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ;...

     funded Hispaniolan Endemic Land Mammals Project. This project seeks to enable the long-term conservation of the Hispaniolan solenodon and hutia through participatory species action planning, field research and monitoring, and improved public awareness. It is a collaborative project between Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Zoological Society of London, Sociedad Ornitologíca de la Hispaniola, Parque Zoológico Nacional, and the Oficina de Parques Nacionales de la Republica Dominicana.


  • July 2010 - EDGE conservationists in Sri Lanka rediscover the Horton Plains slender loris (Loris tardigradus nycticeboides). Originally documented in 1937, there have only been four known encounters in the past 72 years. The rediscovery and capture by the team has resulted in the first detailed physical examination of this sub-species.

Future directions

The programme is initially focusing on mammals and has recently incorporated amphibians but will expand to cover other groups, including birds, reptiles, fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 and plants as the infrastructure and methods develop.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.