Project Overview

The IUCN Small Mammal Specialist Group (SMSG), Global Wildlife Conservation, Durrell Wildlife Conservation and Texas A&M have joined forces as a strategic partnership to bolster conservation efforts for small mammals, a charismatic group often overshadowed by larger mammals comprising rodents, tree shrews and the eulipotyphlans, made up of the shrews, moles, hedgehogs and solenodons. Small mammals in general have been understudied and under-represented in terms of both conservation funding and actions. In fact, for the majority of the more than 2,800 species within the Small Mammal Specialist Group there is a lack of even basic ecological knowledge and very few people are working to conserve them.

GWC is supporting this new partnership to bring together a range of expertise so that together we can achieve effective conservation action to secure the future of small mammals. The group will set strategic priorities and implement practical conservation actions in the field.

(Circular photo of Santa Marta Toro by Lizzie Doyle)

Project Goals

We have a strong and dedicated team in place to deliver three main programs of work. SMSG, Durrell and Texas A&M are responsible for driving the taxonomic and ecological research for the group and for promoting conservation actions. GWC is involved in a strategic role, helping with the design and decisions associated with the various programs of work:

  • Promote small mammal conservation within the world’s leading zoos. Getting the zoo community more involved with small mammal conservation is key to success. To do this, we first need to better understand why certain species are currently held in collections. Once we have this information, we plan to undertake a number of ex situ needs assessments, which will involve bringing experts together for a series of regional planning workshops.
  • Develop champions for key small mammal species. Individuals and small organizations can play a huge role in championing species conservation efforts, and ultimately this can lead to site-level protection programs. We will identify key species using a variety of prioritization methods and then help build capacity to support small mammal conservation. We want to excite people about small mammal species, and hopefully they will then go on to inspire other researchers and conservationists to work on them, too.
  • Build capacity in key small mammal regions. By identifying key geographical regions to begin conservation efforts, we can have maximum benefits to a whole suite of small mammal species. We will use the results of IUCN Red List assessments to determine where there are particularly high densities of Threatened and Data Deficient species and then focus our efforts on these regions.

Quick Facts

Priority species

Santa Marta Toro, Hispaniola Solenodon, Kha-nyou, Namdapha Flying Squirrel , Ilin Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat and others


IUCN Small Mammal Specialist Group, GWC, Durrell Wildlife Conservation, Texas A&M

Total small mammals


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