Launched earlier this month by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Survival Commission, GCSS is expected to solidify the zoo's role internationally as a hub for conservation efforts. The first partnership of its kind in IUCN's seventy-year history, GCSS is designed to strengthen the organization's capacity to support conservationists as they tackle urgent challenges facing the planet, including the loss of biodiversity, climate change, and the illegal wildlife trade.
A science-based network with representation from almost every country in the world, SSC formulates action plans aimed at saving species and provides information to IUCN related to biodiversity conservation, the inherent value of specific species and their role in ecosystem health and functioning, the provision of ecosystem services, and the ways in which species support human livelihoods. That information is used to develop and update the Red List, which identifies and evaluates species threatened with extinction. The work of IUCN also informs the United Nations' species conservation work.
"It's no exaggeration to say that every significant conservation project in the world will be touched by the Global Center for Species Survival," said Indianapolis Zoo president Rob Shumaker. "This is the next important step in our zoo's commitment to advancing animal conservation, and it fundamentally transforms our ability to make a genuine difference in protecting the natural world."