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Assessments of biodiversity status are needed to track trends, and the IUCN Red List has become the accepted global standard for documenting the extinction risk of species. Obtaining robust data on population size is an essential component of any assessment of a species’ status, including assessments for the IUCN Red List. Obtaining such estimates is complicated by methodological and logistical issues, which are more pronounced in the case of cryptic species, such as the snow leopard Panthera uncia. Estimates of the total population size of this species have, to date, been based on little more than guesstimates, but a comprehensive summary of recent field research indicates that the conservation status of the snow leopard may be less dire than previously thought. A revised categorization, from Endangered to Vulnerable, on the IUCN Red List was proposed but met some opposition, as did a recent, similar recategorization of the giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca. Possible factors motivating such attitudes are discussed. Downlisting on the IUCN Red List indicates that the species concerned is further from extinction, and is always to be welcomed, whether resulting from successful conservation intervention or improved knowledge of status and trends. Celebrating success is important to reinforce the message that conservation works, and to incentivize donors.
Trade records show that since the 1990s China has changed from a net exporting to a net importing country with respect to some species of snakes. Imports of snakes to China increased up to 2002, when the National Wildlife Management Authority imposed a suspension of international trade in snakes. We investigated the impact of the ban using the same methods as an earlier study of this trade for the period 1990–2001. We found that both imports and exports of snakes recorded in the CITES Trade Database and the Wild Animal and Plant International Trade Database of China have decreased markedly since 2004. The combination of national-level control measures and CITES regulations appear to have controlled the previously unsustainable utilization of snakes in China.
The Commerce Commission has outlined the factors it considers in assessing the extent to which the submitting undertaking would allay anticipated concerns resulting from a given merger operation. The Commission examines three types of risks which could undermine the efficacy of an undertaking:
composition risks: risks associated with the scope of the assets to be divested, which may not be sufficient to attract a buyer or may not allow a purchaser to operate effectively and viably in the market;
purchaser risks: risks associated with the person purchasing the assets. The Commission will consider the incentives for an applicant to divest to a strategically weak purchaser; and
asset risks: risks associated with the loss of value or competitive capability of the assets during the divestment process.
Substantive assessment and test
The High Court's recent decision in Commerce Commission v. New Zealand Bus (2006) 3 NZCCLR 111 provided useful guidance on the “substantial lessening of competition” test in New Zealand. Prior to this decision, there was limited case law on the topic, with the High Court's decision in Brambles New Zealand Ltd v. Commerce Commission, the only statement on this test.
Miller J's judgment confirmed the principles that had been applied in previous cases, and his decision provides a useful summary of the way to approach the question of whether a substantial lessening of competition as a result of a merger operation is likely in the New Zealand context:
The question whether a substantial lessening of competition is likely is determined by comparing the likely state of competition should the acquisition proceed (the factual) with the likely state of competition if it does not (the counterfactual): Tru Tone Ltd v Festival Records  2 NZLR 352 (CA).
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