AZE's 7 Wonders



AZE 7 Wonders Winners

Below we present the winners of the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) “7 Wonders” global poll. In total, the campaign received more than 100,000 votes from the public via social media to select seven sites from n original short list of 20 chosen to represent the 587 AZE sites so far identified around the globe. Each of these sites is the only known home to one or more Endangered or Critically Endangered species identified on the IUCN Red List.

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RODRIGUES ISLAND, MAURITIUS - RODRIGUES FLYING FOX

Rodrigues flying fox by Vladimir Motyuka
Rodrigues Island, V. Tatayah, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation

The Rodrigues flying fox is most active at dawn and dusk when it leaves its cave or tree to search for its food which consists primarily of fruit. Like most fruit bats, it does not possess the ability to echolocate, but relies on its sense of smell and large eyes that provide good vision in low light. It faces threats from habitat loss and hunting. Efforts are underway to breed the species in captivity. The Rodrigues Warbler also calls this site its only home. AZE member Bat Conservation International, along with Mauritius Wildlife Foundation works to conserve bat populations around the world.

"The Rodrigues flying fox is beautifully adapted to the dry woodlands of its small Indian Ocean island.  Unfortunately, it's not alone in its troubles – island bats around the world face similar, severe threats.  AZE's 7 Wonders is an important reminder of all that we lose when species go extinct." said Andrew Walker, Executive Director, Bat Conservation International.


ABRA PATRICIA, PERU - LONG-WHISKERED OWLET

Long-whiskered Owlet by Dubi Shapiro
Abra Patricia, Peru by Mike Parr

The Long-whiskered Owlet feeds primarily on insects, and is one of the smallest owl species in the world. The owlet faces habitat loss due to timber extraction and agricultural expansion. The Ochre-fronted Antpitta also calls this site its only home. Private and community protected areas have been established by AZE members ECOAN and American Bird Conservancy to safeguard habitat for these species.


RIO SAIJA, COLOMBIA - GOLDEN POISON FROG

Golden poison frog by ProAves
Rio Saija, Colombia by Alonso Quevedo

The golden poison frog is one of the most toxic animals in the world; a two inch specimen has enough poison to kill ten people. The frog's bright coloring, which varies from yellow to orange to pale green, serves as a warning to potential predators. Threats to the frog include deforestation for agriculture, and potentially a fungal-borne disease. This is one of two endangered species found only here. A new reserve established by AZE member Fundación ProAves with help from Conservation International, WLTUS, and Global Wildlife Conservation now protects a small population, but more help is needed.


ROTI ISLAND, INDONESIA - ROTI ISLAND SNAKE-NECKED TURTLE

Roti Island snake-necked turtle by Anders G.J. Rhodin
Roti Island by Anders G.J. Rhodin

The Roti Island snake-necked turtle is one of the most endangered turtles in the world. It has been severely diminished by the illegal pet trade. Efforts are underway to breed this species in captivity and to hopefully initiate a reintroduction program. The Turtle Conservation Fund, Turtle Survival Alliance, and Chelonian Research Foundation are AZE members, and with the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, are leading champions of turtle conservation efforts worldwide.


POYANG HU, CHINA - SIBERIAN CRANE

Siberian Crane by Gunnar Pettersson
Poyang Hu, China by Poyang Zheng-Zhongjie

It’s hard to “hide” 3,000 tall, white Siberian Cranes, but that’s what Poyang Lake did for many years until the wintering density of these spectacular birds there became widely known to ornithologists. The lake’s dramatic water fluctuations are key to the wetlands’ productivity, and provide habitat for more than 400,000 total waterbirds in winter. China's finless porpoise is highly threatened and also found here.  Impacts of dams in the catchment, sand dredging, and climate change threaten the lake. AZE member, the International Crane Foundation (ICF) is a leading champion of crane conservation efforts worldwide.

“AZE’s Seven Wonders Campaign is dramatically expressing global interest in conservation of this unique wetland, at a time when its future is very much in doubt,” said Jim Harris, Senior Vice President of ICF.  “The positive nature of this campaign makes it especially useful as a support for conservation in China.”


RASO DA CATARINA, BRAZIL - LEAR'S MACAW

Lear's Macaw by Ciro Ginez Albano
Raso Da Catarina, Brazil by E. Figueiredo

The Lear's Macaw was down-listed from Critically Endangered to Endangered in 2009 thanks to intensive conservation action, though it still faces threats from the illegal global pet trade and habitat destruction for livestock grazing. A private reserve established by AZE member Fundação Biodiversitas with support from American Bird Conservancy includes a research station and guest lodge at this site


ISLA ROBINSON CRUSOE, CHILE - JUAN FERNANDEZ FIRECROWN

Juan Fernandez Firecrown by P. Hodum
Isla Robinson Crusoe by P. Hodum

This 36-square-mile island off the Pacific coast of Chile is home to the Juan Fernández Firecrown’s only remaining population. This spectacular hummingbird continues to be threatened by habitat degradation from invasive plants and predation by domestic cats, although conservation measures are underway to address these issues. The island has a literary heritage, as well, inspiring Daniel Defoe’s 'Robinson Crusoe’ , Jonathan Franzen’s account in the New Yorker and by Eric Dinerstein, Lead Scientist with WWF's new book The Kingdom of Rarities. The non-profit organization Juan Fernández Islands Conservancy/Oikonos is leading conservation efforts on the islands.

“The designation of Isla Robinson Crusoe  as one of the AZE 7 Wonders of the World is an important recognition of the global significance of the island, not just for the Juan Fernández Firecrown but also for other endangered endemic species and the unique ecosystems on which they depend.  We hope that this innovative campaign will generate additional support for the critical conservation work necessary for the island.” Said Peter Hodum, Board Member of Oikonos.