The conservation status of a species indicates whether this group still exists, and how likely the group is to become extinct. This status is not just based on the number of individuals remaining, instead it is based on many factors: overall increase or decrease in the population, rate of successful breeding, and identified threats. Many different systems of conservation status are available, but our site will utilize the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the most expansive conservation status listing and ranking system worldwide. Species are classified by the IUCN Red List into 9 groups, considering factors such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation.
The IUCN Red List also includes species that have gone extinct from as early as 500 CE. When discussing the IUCN Red List, the official term threatened is comprised of 3 categories: critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable.
- Extinct (EX) – No known living individuals.
- 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 in the near future.
- Least Concern (LC) – Lowest risk; does not qualify for a higher risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa, or groups, are included in this category.
- Data Deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
- Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.
- Categories and Criteria The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
- IUCN. (2012) IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1 Second edition. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. ISBN:9782831714356.