ZSL’s EDGE of Existence programme is the only global conservation initiative to focus specifically on threatened species that represent a significant amount of unique evolutionary history.

Using a scientific framework to identify the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species, the EDGE of Existence programme highlights and protects some of the most unique and most wonderful species on the planet. EDGE species have few close relatives on the tree of life and are often extremely unusual in the way they look, live and behave, as well as in their genetic make-up. They represent a unique and irreplaceable part of the world’s natural heritage, yet an alarming proportion are on the verge of extinction.

The aim of the EDGE programme is to put these species on the map and catalyse conservation action to secure their future. Each year a number of the most poorly known and neglected EDGE species are selected for conservation attention. Where virtually nothing is known, ZSL-led expeditions often represent the first step in determining whether rare and cryptic EDGE species still survive. Longer-term surveys are carried out by EDGE Fellows (aspiring in-country scientists that receive financial, institutional and logistical support from the EDGE programme) to determine the status of these species and identify appropriate conservation actions. ZSL partners with EDGE Alumni to support long-term, scaled up conservation projects focusing on their priority EDGE species.

The ultimate goal of the EDGE programme is to ensure that local stakeholders, governments, and in-country and international conservation organisations take ownership of these forgotten species and commit to ensuring their future survival.

1 week ago
Is bigger always better? British presenter and zoologist Lucy Cooke joined EDGE's own Davi Telesin the field to learn about the diminutive pygmy sloth on Escudo Island, Panama. Listen to her BBC podcast now

#WeirdandWonderful #EDGEspecies #sloth
3 weeks ago
Showing off some EDGE merch for our 'marketplace' stall at the Capacity Building in Conservation conference hosted by @OfficialZSL. NGOs & institutions from around the world are here to learn from each other and to develop ideas to protect endangered species & spaces #CB4C2019 https://t.co/iEK3bjJEx6 EDGEofExistence photo
3 weeks ago
How can we learn from our mistakes in capacity building? We can start by understanding that investing in people is always a gamble, but with time and patience the rewards can be great 🌍🌎🌏 #CB4C2019 #conservationcapacity #capacitybuilding @OfficialZSL https://t.co/xtK18x5lws EDGEofExistence photo