Criteria for the Definition of Conservation Areas

Site Selection Examples

Sites (and Corresponding Species) That Clearly Qualify

1) Santa Margarita Island (Baja California Sur, Mexico)

The Margarita Island kangaroo rat (Dipodomys margaritae) [CR] is found only on Santa Margarita Island. According to Best (1992), this species "probably is restricted in its distribution to the lowland area between the northern and southern mountain ranges."

2) Sierra Madre del Sur (Guererro, Mexico)

The short-crested coquette (Lophornis brachylopha) [CR] is known only from a 25-km stretch of the Atoyac-Paraíso-Puerto el Gallo road in the Sierra de Atoyac (north-west of Acapulco), and is likely to be confined to the Sierra Madre del Sur in Guerrero. All records of this hummingbird have been near the villages of Arroyo Grande, Paraíso and Nueva Delhi in the months of January and March-May.

3) Hellshire Hills (Jamaica)

The Jamaican iguana (Cyclura collei) [CR] exists today only in the Hellshire Hills 20 km west of Kingston, an area of about 114 km2. This area persists as a wilderness area because of the ruggedness of the terrain and lack of surface water, making the hills unsuitable for agriculture and large-scale settlement. The species was historically common along the dry areas of the south coast and on nearby Goat Island and Little Goat Island. The Goat Islands were thought to be the last refuge for Jamaican iguana until it disappeared from them in the 1940s. Introduction of the Indian mongoose, changing land-use patterns, and human population growth probably led to the decline. The species was rediscovered in the Hellshire Hills in 1970, and currently exists in the west and central portions where there are two known communal nest sites. There may be no more than 100 animals remaining in the wild.

Sites (and Corresponding Species) That Just Barely Qualify

1) Morro do Diabo State Park (São Paulo, Brazil)
This site is one of nine sites at which the black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) [CR B1+2abcde,C2a] occurs. However, the number of individuals there (820) not only represents 83% of the tamarin's total population, but by far the best opportunity to conserve the species, since the next largest population is only 70 individuals. Thus, while the black lion tamarin clearly qualifies based on the endangerment threshold, and Morro do Diablo is a discrete area, this site just qualifies according to the irreplaceability criteria.
2) Laquipampa Reserved Zone and Environs (Lambayeque, Peru)
Approximately 100 white-winged guans (Penelope albipennis) [CR] are found in a number of small river valleys in Lambayeque and Piura in northwest Peru. The species and associated sites most clearly qualify on the basis of endangerment and irreplaceability. While the area in question is a series of about 50 small river valleys rather than a clearly defined site, ecological evidence suggests that the individuals in the valleys act as a single metapopulation - thus this area can just barely be considered a discrete site.

Species (and Corresponding Sites) That Do Not Qualify

Taxonomic Uncertainty

The Tachira emerald (Amazilia distans) has only been recorded from the foothills of the westernmost Andes of Venezuela. Though previously categorized as Endangered, the species is now considered to be a hybrid of the white-chinned sapphire (Hylocharis cyanus), and the glittering-throated emerald (Amazilia fimbriata). As a result, the species was not evaluated in the most recent IUCN evaluation by BirdLife International. Since its taxonomy is unclear, and it is not possible to assign it to a threat category, evaluation for inclusion in AZE should wait until the species status is reinstated and a threat ranking assigned. If the current situation continues, no site can be designated.

Not Yet Evaluated

The bald parrot (Pionopsitta aurantiocephala), first described in 2002, is known from a few localities along tributaries of the lower Madeira and upper Tapajós rivers in the southern Amazonia region of Brazil. The full extent of its distribution and potential threats to its habitat have not yet been evaluated under IUCN criteria. It is therefore currently not possible to assign it definitively to a threat category, and evaluation for inclusion in AZE must wait until an IUCN threat ranking has been assigned.

No Site Identified

The kouprey (Bos sauveli) of Southeast Asia is currently listed as Critically Endangered [CR]. Unfortunately, there are no surviving individuals of this species, even in zoos, and no site has been identified where they are likely to persist. At such time that individuals can be located that site would immediately qualify.

No Irreplaceable Sites

The muriqui or wooly spider monkey (Brachyteles arachnoides) is Critically Endangered [CR]. The current populations are declining and found in low densities. The total population is estimated at only several hundred individuals distributed in several areas in southeastern Brazil, including a number of national parks. So despite being one of the most threatened primates in the world, this species does not qualify as an AZE species because there is no single best opportunity, (i.e., one irreplaceable site) to conserve this species. Of course AZE encourages interested groups to work to conserve this species, but it does not meet the criteria for an AZE species.