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What is the IUCN Red List?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species was first established in 1964.

It has become the most comprehensive information source about the global conservation status of animals, fungi, and plants.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™

There is no better indicator about the current state of marine animals than IUCN's Red List categories. The information provides:

In other words, the resource contains data on population size, range, habitat, ecology, and threats.

The primary users of the IUCN Red List includes government agencies, conservation-related organisations, wildlife departments, and natural resource planners.

IUCN Comprehensive Assessments

The health assessments of different species groups include amphibians, birds, conifers (woody plants), mammals, and reef building corals (polyps).

Plus, the IUCN Red List contains updated data about new discoveries, and constantly reassess the status of many existing specimens.

For example:

A downlisting in any particular species is good news (e.g. there is a noticeable improvement in population status). In the main, this happens as a result of global conservation efforts.

But, the worst possible news occurs when biodiversity is in decline. Last time we checked (September 2023), the IUCN Red List contains 150,300+ species, of which 42,100 (28%) are threatened with extinction, including:

The results currently show a high number of threatened species. Even so, the IUCN will continue their work to try and reverse the dreadful decline in biodiversity.

Building a Barometer of Life

The target for the near future is to increase the Red List assessments and build a more wide-ranging 'Barometer of Life'. In other words, listing the global taxonomic coverage of more than 160,000 species over the next few years is part of the long term plan.

So, the IUCN Red List is a crucial network for identifying species that need targeted recovery efforts. Furthermore, highlighting key habitats that need protection helps to focus worldwide conservation agendas.

Related Information and Help Guides

Note: The short video [4:29 seconds] explains more about what the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List is and how to search the different categories.

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