IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria

The IUCN Red List plays a pivotal role in raising awareness about biodiversity loss and aiding in the preservation of threatened and endangered species worldwide

Iucn Red List

The IUCN Red List is a globally recognized conservation tool that assesses the extinction risk of various species of plants, animals, and fungi. It serves as a comprehensive database that categorizes species into different threat levels, ranging from “Least Concern” to “Critically Endangered.” Managed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Red List provides vital information to scientists, policymakers, and conservationists to prioritize and guide conservation efforts.

The primary objectives of the Red List involve offering scientifically grounded data regarding the global status of species and subspecies. This aims to highlight the scale and significance of endangered biodiversity, exert influence over both national and international policies and choices, and furnish essential information for shaping strategies aimed at safeguarding biological diversity.

IUCN Red List Latest Updates

The African Elephants species comprises the African Forest Elephant and the African Savannah Elephant. Recently, the IUCN Red List has been updated to reflect the status of both these elephant species.

  • African Forest Elephant – Critically Endangered
  • African Savannah Elephant – Endangered

Note – Earlier, these two elephants were treated as a single species and were listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.

The current IUCN Red List encompasses a total of 134,425 species, out of which 37,480 species are under the threat of extinction.

IUCN Red List Users

The IUCN Red List offers precise information regarding the status of various Earth’s species. This data is utilized by diverse departments, institutions, and organizations.
Below is a list of individuals and groups who utilize the IUCN Red List

  • Government agencies (National & International)
  • Wildlife organizations and departments
  • Conservation-related NGOs
  • Natural resource planners
  • Educational organizations
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Media
  • Business communities

Purpose of the IUCN Red List Data

The data presented in the IUCN Red List is utilized by diverse organizations for the following purposes:

  • International Agreements such as CITES, Ramsar Convention use the Red List data to make important decisions in sync with the status of nature as and when required.
  • World Bank Group performance standard uses the IUCN Red List data to evaluate the risk of damage to biodiversity due to large-scale infrastructures and global projects.
  • Zoos and National parks use this information to upgrade important policies like parks regulations from time to time.

The Red List categorizes species as follows:

  • Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining.
  • Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
  • Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild.
  • Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered soon.
  • Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at-risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
  • Data deficient (DD) – Not enough data to assess its risk of extinction.
  • Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

List of Critically Endangered Species in India as per IUCN Red List 2019-2022

Below is the compilation of critically endangered species in India across various categories:

Critically Endangered Mammals

  • Pygmy Hog
  • Andaman White-toothed Shrew
  • Jenkin’s Andaman Spiny Shrew
  • Nicobar White-tailed Shrew
  • Kondana Rat
  • Large Rock Rat or Elvira Rat
  • Namdapha Flying Squirrel
  • Malabar Civet
  • Sumatran Rhinoceros
  • Javan Rhinoceros

Critically Endangered Birds

  • Aythya Baeri
  • Forest Owlet
  • Great Indian Bustard
  • Bengal Florican
  • Siberian Crane
  • Spoon-billed Sandpiper
  • Sociable Lapwing
  • Jerdon’s Courser
  • White-backed Vulture
  • Red-headed Vulture
  • White-bellied Heron
  • Slender-billed Vulture
  • Indian Vulture
  • Pink-headed Duck
  • Himalayan Quail

Critically Endangered Reptiles

  • Gharial
  • Hawksbill Turtle
  • River Terrapin
  • Bengal Roof Turtle
  • Sispara day gecko

Critically Endangered Fishes

  • Pondicherry Shark
  • Ganges Shark
  • Knife-tooth Sawfish
  • Large-tooth Sawfish
  • Narrow-snout Sawfish

Check out more details of IUCN Red list of Threatened Species at below link.



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