What is the Relevance of IUCN Red Data Book?

The IUCN Red List (founded in 1964) is the world’s most authentic source of information on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species and their links to livelihoods within the territory of the state or country. Far more than a list of species and their status, it is a powerful tool to inform and catalyse action for biodiversity conservation and policy change - critical to protecting the natural resources we need to survive.

Red List Categories

There are nine categories in the IUCN Red List system, from species that are not threatened (Least Concern) to already extinct species. The threatened categories (Vulnerable, Endangered and Critically Endangered) are based on five scientific criteria that evaluate the risk of extinction of the species based on biological factors such as: rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, degree of population, and distribution fragmentation. These criteria can be applied to all species (except micro-organisms) in all regions and all countries.

Categories are assigned using five scientific criteria that evaluate the risk of extinction of the species, based on biological factors, such as population declines and range size.

Categorization of Species by the IUCN:

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Facts at a Glance

1. IUCN Global Species Programme works for the conservation of the plants, fungi and animals. It provides the foundation for making informed decisions about conserving biodiversity from local to global levels.

2. The main purpose of the IUCN Red List is to catalogue and highlight those plants and animals which are facing a higher risk of global extinction (i.e. those listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable).

3. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species (critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and extinct).

4. In 1964 the first comprehensive list of threatened mammals and birds was compiled and published. It enabled the general public access to the data.

5. All birds were assessed for the first time in 1988. Some other species are assessed in1998 all Conifers, in 2004 all Amphibians, in 2008 all Mammals; Cycads and Reef Building Corals; in 2011 all Tuna and in 2012 all Sharks and Rays.

6. IUCN Red Data Book provides scientifically correct information on the current status of globally threatened biodiversity.

7. Plants, fungi and animals that have been assessed and have a low risk of extinction are classified as Least Concern.

8. The Least Concern assessments did not appear on IUCN Red Lists produced before 2003 (except for a few that were listed in 1996). Just for the sake of transparency, all Least Concern assessments are now included on The IUCN Red List.

9. The IUCN Red List are published periodically (usually at least once every four years).

10. For each searched species, The IUCN Red List provides information on population size and trends; geographic range and habitat needs. Till date more than 76,000 species have been searched with more than 22,000 are at risk of extinction.

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