As we slash, burn and concrete over the last few wildernesses in the world, human beings are driving all kinds of species to extinction. Many of these will be small - fish, insects and other invertebrates - and some will vanish even before they are discovered, but the larger mammals and birds are disappearing too. More than one in 10 of the world's bird species and a quarter of its mammals, including the Black rhinoceros, the Asian elephant and Siberian tiger, are officially listed as threatened with extinction according to the World Conservation Union's Red List.
The Red List acts like a hospital's casualty department to assess the urgency of incoming cases of possible extinction. In this lecture Georgina Mace, Director of Science at the Zoological Society of London, will discuss how we can determine whether a species is endangered, and the unexpected difficulties in deciding whether it is in fact extinct. What does the Red List tell us about the kinds of species we will share our earth with in a future world? And, perhaps, most importantly, what are the consequences of Red-Listing for understanding and maintaining global biodiversity?