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Title: Saving the World's Terrestrial Megafauna
Author(s): Ripple, William J
Chapron, Guillaume
Lopez-Bao, Jose Vicente
Durant, Sarah M
Macdonald, David W
Lindsey, Peter A
Bennett, Elizabeth L
Beschta, Robert L
Bruskotter, Jeremy T
Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa
Corlett, Richard T
Darimont, Chris T
Dickman, Amy J
Dirzo, Rodolfo
Dublin, Holly T
Estes, James A
Everatt, Kristoffer T
Galetti, Mauro
Goswami, Varun R
Hayward, Matt W
Hedges, Simon
Hoffmann, Michael
Hunter, Luke T B
Kerley, Graham IH
Letnic, Mike
Levi, Taal
Maisels, Fiona
Morrison, John C
Nelson, Michael Paul
Newsome, Thomas M
Painter, Luke
Pringle, Robert M
Sandom, Christopher J
Terborgh, John
Treves, Adrian
Van, Valkenburgh Blaire
Vucetich, John A
Wirsing, Aaron J
Wallach, Arian D
Wolf, Christopher
Woodroffe, Rosie
Young, Hillary
Zhang, Li
Issue Date: 1-Oct-2016
Citation: Ripple WJ, Chapron G, Lopez-Bao JV, Durant SM, Macdonald DW, Lindsey PA, Bennett EL, Beschta RL, Bruskotter JT, Campos-Arceiz A, Corlett RT, Darimont CT, Dickman AJ, Dirzo R, Dublin HT, Estes JA, Everatt KT, Galetti M, Goswami VR, Hayward MW, Hedges S, Hoffmann M, Hunter LTB, Kerley GI, Letnic M, Levi T, Maisels F, Morrison JC, Nelson MP, Newsome TM, Painter L, Pringle RM, Sandom CJ, Terborgh J, Treves A, Van Valkenburgh B, Vucetich JA, Wirsing AJ, Wallach AD, Wolf C, Woodroffe R, Young H & Zhang L (2016) Saving the World's Terrestrial Megafauna, Bioscience, 66 (10), pp. 807-812.
Abstract: From the late Pleistocene to the Holocene and now the so-called Anthropocene, humans have been driving an ongoing series of species declines and extinctions (Dirzo et al. 2014). Large-bodied mammals are typically at a higher risk of extinction than smaller ones (Cardillo et al. 2005). However, in some circumstances, terrestrial megafauna populations have been able to recover some of their lost numbers because of strong conservation and political commitment, as well as human cultural changes (Chapron et al. 2014). Indeed, many would be in considerably worse predicaments in the absence of conservation action (Hoffmann et al. 2015). Nevertheless, most mammalian megafauna face dramatic range contractions and population declines. In fact, 59% of the world's largest carnivores (more than or equal to 15 kilograms, n = 27) and 60% of the world's largest herbivores (more than or equal to 100 kilograms, n = 74) are classified as threatened with extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List (supplemental tables S1 and S2). This situation is particularly dire in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, home to the greatest diversity of extant megafauna (figure 1). Species at risk of extinction include some of the world's most iconic animals-such as gorillas, rhinos, and big cats (figure 2 top row)-and, unfortunately, they are vanishing just as science is discovering their essential ecological roles (Estes et al. 2011). Here, our objectives are to raise awareness of how these megafauna are imperiled (species in tables S1 and S2) and to stimulate broad interest in developing specific recommendations and concerted action to conserve them.
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Rights: Copyright: The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact

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