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Eretmochelys imbricata | Hawksbill turtle

September 23, 2015. Life / The IUCN Red List

What is the Red List of Threatened Species?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species brings the expertise of thousands of biologists around the world together.

Jane Smart, Craig Hilton-Taylor, Russel A. Mittermeier.

It is considered the most complete source to learn about the conservation status of the Animalia, Plantae and Fungi kingdoms.

The purpose of this is to promote actions for the conservation of biodiversity. It is based on a scientific extinction risk assessment system. This database is key to preservation, extinction risk reduction, and, in some cases, recovery as well.

The list encompasses nine categories based on geographical distribution, species population size and structure. Once a species has been evaluated (until this moment it is classified as “Not Evaluated”), it falls into one of the following categories:

  • Data Deficient – A species is Data Deficient when there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction
  • Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable- species that are considered “threatened.
  • Near Threatened- a species that is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future.
  • Least Concern- a species that has been evaluated against the criteria and does not fall into any of the other categories.
  • Extinct in the Wild- a species is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalized population (or populations) well outside the past range.
  • Extinct- a species is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.

As The IUCN Red List celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, more than 71,500 species have been assessed, including most of the known species of amphibians, birds, mammals, angelfish, butterflyfish, crocodilians, freshwater crabs and crayfish, groupers, gymnosperms (including cycads and conifers), marine lobsters, mangroves, marine turtles, parrotfish, reef-building corals, seagrasses, sea snakes, sharks and rays, tunas and billfishes, wrasses, cacti, freshwater shrimps, and cone snails. The list tells us where action must be taken immediately to save species—the precious building blocks of nature—from extinction. Sadly, the list also reveals that today too many species face a severe threat to their existence.

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Nature Series Book The IUCN Red List (2014).


The IUCN Red List

50 Years of Conservation

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