Overestimated range maps used for endemic birds in India’s Western Ghats lead to underestimated threats, study finds

New research suggests that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature is overestimating the ranges of several bird species endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range in India, which can have major implications for determining the extinction threat faced by those species. The IUCN is an international organization that counts over 1,000 governments and NGOs amongst its members and works with more than 11,000 scientists and other experts to assess the conservation status of species around the globe. Best known to the public as the publisher of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the organization’s work is highly influential among businesses, governments, and other decisionmakers. In a paper published earlier this week in the journal Biological Conservation, researchers detail their findings that suggest the IUCN has “vastly” overestimated the geographic range sizes for 17 of 18 endemic birds studied in the Western Ghats.

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