The IUCN Red List Categories

Pre-1994 categories (IUCN 1980)

Extinct (Ex). Taxa which are no longer known to exist in the wild after repeated searches of their type localities and other known or likely places.

Endangered (E). Taxa in danger of extinction and whose survival is unlikely if the causal factors continue operating. Included are taxa whose numbers have been reduced to a critical level or whose habitats have been so drastically reduced that they are deemed in immediate danger of extinction.

Vulnerable (V). Taxa believed likely to move into the Endangered category in the near future if the causal factors continue operating. Included are taxa of which most or all the populations are decreasing because of over-exploitation, extensive destruction of habitat or other environmental disturbance; taxa with populations that have been seriously depleted and whose ultimate security is not yet assured; and taxa with populations that are still abundant but are under threat from serious adverse factors throughout their range.

Rare (R). Taxa with small world populations that are not at present Endangered or Vulnerable, but are at risk. These taxa are usually localized within restricted geographical areas or habitats or are thinly scattered over a more extensive range.

Indeterminate (I). Taxa known to be Extinct, Endangered, Vulnerable or Rare, but where there is not enough information to say which of the four categories is appropriate.

Insufficiently Known (K). Taxa that are suspected but not definitely known to belong to any of the above categories because of a lack of information.

Not threatened (nt). Taxa that are not in any of the above categories. No Information or Unknown (?). Taxa for which there is no information.

Note: In addition to the categories above, occasionally "hybrid" categories are used, such as Ex/E (probably Extinct) or E/V (near Endangered).

The IUCN Red List Categories

Prepared by the IUCN Species Survival Commission As approved by the 40th Meeting of the IUCN Council, Gland, Switzerland, 30 November 1994

The categories Extinct (EX)

A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died. Extinct in the Wild (EW)

A taxon is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population (or populations) well outside the past range. A taxon is presumed extinct in the wild when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon's life cycle and life form.

Critically Endangered (CR)

A taxon is Critically Endangered when it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future, as defined by any of the criteria (A to E) below.

Endangered (EN)

A taxon is Endangered when it is not Critically Endangered but is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future, as defined by any of the criteria (A to E) below.

Vulnerable (VU)

A taxon is Vulnerable when it is not Critically Endangered or Endangered but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future, as defined by any of the criteria (A to D) below.

Lower Risk (LR)

A taxon is Lower Risk when it has been evaluated, does not satisfy the criteria for any of the categories Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. Taxa included in the Lower Risk category can be separated into three subcategories:

Conservation Dependent (cd). Taxa which are the focus of a continuing taxon-specific or habitat-specific conservation programme targeted towards the taxon in question, the cessation of which would result in the taxon qualifying for one of the threatened categories above within a period of five years.

Near Threatened (nt). Taxa which do not qualify for Conservation Dependent, but which are close to qualifying for Vulnerable. Least Concern (Ic). Taxa which do not qualify for Conservation Dependent or Near Threatened. Data Deficient (DD)

A taxon is Data Deficient when there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution and/or population status. A taxon in this category may be well studied, and its biology well known, but appropriate data on abundance and/or distribution is lacking. Data Deficient is therefore not a category of threat or Lower Risk. Listing of taxa in this category indicates that more information is required and acknowledges the possibility that future research will show that threatened classification is appropriate. It is important to make positive use of whatever data are available. In many cases great care should be exercised in choosing between DD and threatened status. If the range of a taxon is suspected to be relatively circumscribed, if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the last record of the taxon, threatened status may well be justified.

Not Evaluated (NE)

A taxon is Not Evaluated when it is has not yet been assessed against the criteria.

The Criteria for Critically Endangered. Endangered and Vulnerable

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (CR)

A taxon is Critically Endangered when it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future, as defined by any of the following criteria (A to E):

A) Population reduction in the form of either of the following:

1) An observed, estimated, inferred or suspected reduction of at least 80% over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on (and specifying) any of the following:

a) direct observation b) an index of abundance appropriate for the taxon c) a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat d) actual or potential levels of exploitation e) the effects of introduced taxa, hybridisation, pathogens, pollutants, competitors or parasites.

2) A reduction of at least 80%, projected or suspected to be met within the next 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on (and specifying) any of (b), (c), (d) or (e) above.

B) Extent of occurrence estimated to be less than 100 km2 or area of occupancy estimated to be less than 10 km2, and estimates indicating any two of the following:

1) Severely fragmented or known to exist at only a single location.

2) Continuing decline, observed, inferred or projected, in any of the following:

a) extent of occurrence b) area of occupancy c) area, extent and/or quality of habitat d) number of locations or subpopulations e) number of mature individuals.

3) Extreme fluctuations in any of the following:

a) extent of occurrence b) area of occupancy c) number of locations or subpopulations d) number of mature individuals.

C) Population estimated to number less than 250 mature individuals and either:

1) An estimated continuing decline of at least 25% within three years or one generation, whichever is longer or

2) A continuing decline, observed, projected, or inferred, in numbers of mature individuals and population structure in the form of either:

a) severely fragmented (i.e. no subpopulation estimated to contain more than 50 mature individuals)

b) all individuals are in a single subpopulation.

D) Population estimated to number less than 50 mature individuals.

E) Quantitative analysis showing the probability of extinction in the wild is at least 50% within 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer.

ENDANGERED (EN)

A taxon is Endangered when it is not Critically Endangered but is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future, as defined by any of the following criteria (A to E):

A) Population reduction in the form of either of the following:

1) An observed, estimated, inferred or suspected reduction of at least 50% over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on (and specifying) any of the following:

a) direct observation b) an index of abundance appropriate for the taxon c) a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat d) actual or potential levels of exploitation e) the effects of introduced taxa, hybridisation, pathogens, pollutants, competitors or parasites.

2) A reduction of at least 50%, projected or suspected to be met within the next 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on (and specifying) any of (b), (c), (d), or (e) above.

B) Extent of occurrence estimated to be less than 5000 km2 or area of occupancy estimated to be less than 500 km2, and estimates indicating any two of the following:

1) Severely fragmented or known to exist at no more than five locations.

2) Continuing decline, inferred, observed or projected, in any of the following:

a) extent of occurrence b) area of occupancy c) area, extent and/or quality of habitat d) number of locations or subpopulations e) number of mature individuals.

3) Extreme fluctuations in any of the following:

a) extent of occurrence b) area of occupancy c) number of locations or subpopulations d) number of mature individuals.

C) Population estimated to number less than 2500 mature individuals and either:

1) An estimated continuing decline of at least 20% within five years or two generations, whichever is longer, or

2) A continuing decline, observed, projected, or inferred, in numbers of mature individuals and population structure in the form of either:

a) severely fragmented (i.e. no subpopulation estimated to contain more than 250 mature individuals)

b) all individuals are in a single subpopulation.

D) Population estimated to number less than 250 mature individuals.

E) Quantitative analysis showing the probability of extinction in the wild is at least 20% within 20 years or five generations, whichever is the longer.

VULNERABLE (VU)

A taxon is Vulnerable when it is not Critically Endangered or Endangered but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future, as defined by any of the following criteria (A to E):

A) Population reduction in the form of either of the following:

1) An observed, estimated, inferred or suspected reduction of at least 20% over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on (and specifying) any of the following:

a) direct observation b) an index of abundance appropriate for the taxon c) a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat d) actual or potential levels of exploitation e) the effects of introduced taxa, hybridisation, pathogens, pollutants, competitors or parasites.

2) A reduction of at least 20%, projected or suspected to be met within the next ten years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on (and specifying) any of (b), (c), (d) or (e) above.

B) Extent of occurrence estimated to be less than 20,000 km2 or area of occupancy estimated to be less than 2000 km-, and estimates indicating any two of the following:

1) Severely fragmented or known to exist at no more than ten locations.

2) Continuing decline, inferred, observed or projected, in any of the following:

a) extent of occurrence b) area of occupancy c) area, extent and/or quality of habitat d) number of locations or subpopulations e) number of mature individuals

3) Extreme fluctuations in any of the following:

a) extent of occurrence b) area of occupancy c) number of locations or subpopulations d) number of mature individuals

C) Population estimated to number less than 10,000 mature individuals and either:

1) An estimated continuing decline of at least 10% within 10 years or three generations, whichever is longer, or

2) A continuing decline, observed, projected, or inferred, in numbers of mature individuals and population structure in the form of either:

a) severely fragmented (i.e. no subpopulation estimated to contain more than 1000 mature individuals)

b) all individuals are in a single subpopulation

D) Population very small or restricted in the form of either of the following:

1) Population estimated to number less than 1000 mature individuals.

2) Population is characterised by an acute restriction in its area of occupancy (typically less than 100 km-) or in the number of locations (typically less than five). Such a taxon would thus be prone to the effects of human activities (or stochastic events whose impact is increased by human activities) within a very short period of time in an unforeseeable future, and is thus capable of becoming Critically Endangered or even Extinct in a very short period.

E) Quantitative analysis showing the probability of extinction in the wild is at least 10% within 100 years.

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