Categories of IUCN Red List

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization which is responsible for assessment of species all across the world. IUCN conducts field survey to monitor species in every country. Based on the survey, IUCN classify plants and animals in different categories. This information about current status of species is published by IUCN in ‘Red Data List’ publication. Red Data List provides information on status, trend and threats of species in order to plan conservation strategies for those species.

The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the global extinction risk status of world’s biodiversity. The trend of species population given in Red List serves as an important tool to take prompt actions towards biodiversity conservation and policy change. Such actions further play an important role to protect the natural resources that we need for our survival. Information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use and/or trade, threats, and conservation provide base for implementing necessary conservation decisions.

IUCN Red List

IUCN continuously maintain record of population of different species. IUCN classify species for which enough information on population record is available into following categories:

  1. Extinct – Extinct species are those species for which no individual is found in geographical locations where that species was found earlier.
  2. Extinct in Wild – Extinct in wild include those species which are known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalized population (or populations) well outside the past range.
  3. Critically endangered – This category include species for which population is declining at rapid rate and therefore these species are facing extremely high risk of extinction.
  4. Endangered – Endangered species are those species which are facing risk of extinction due to habitat loss, poaching and other factors. Such species may become extinct in future, if the threat continues to affect them.
  5. Vulnerable – Vulnerable species are those species whose population have been observed to be declining due to on-going threats like habitat loss, deforestation or other factors. Such species may become endangered in near future, if threat continues to adversely their survival rate.
  6. Near Threatened – These species do not qualify for critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable categories at present. However, they may soon qualify in threatened category in future.
  7. Least Concern – Those species for which number of individuals are abundant are known as least concern

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