The EDGE of Existence program offers another way. This program scores the world's mammals, amphibians, corals and birds according to how Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) they are. EDGE species tend to be very unique in terms of looks, behavior and genetics. This program highlights the gap in current conservation efforts – two-thirds of the top 100 EDGE mammals and 85% of amphibians are currently receiving little or no conservation attention. The EDGE program aims to complement rather than replace existing conservation efforts, ensuring that some of the world's most distinct species do not slide away into extinction unnoticed.
As ever with conservation, there are tough decisions to be made. It is impossible to save every species but it is up to conservationists to balance out the cute and fluffy with the scaly and important. A balance between protecting flagship species and EDGE species probably offers the best system.
by Rose Argall Rose Argall is a research and development Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Frontier has over 300 dedicated conservation and community development projects. For more information on all the opportunities available please visit www.frontier.ac.uk, and check out our blog Into the Wild .