Endangered Species Red List: A Call for Conservation

You must have heard about various species, either plants or animals, going extinct shortly. You may also have read about extinct species. But do you know how these scientists determine the danger to these species? They use information from the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species

The Endangered Species Red List, or the IUCN Red List, is a list of health information on the world’s biodiversity. IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) formulated the list in 1964. The IUCN maintains a list of plants and animals slotted according to how likely they are to go extinct, making safety measures mandatory for almost all species. 

As environmental concerns grow globally, the Red List’s role in highlighting endangered species‘ dilemma is becoming more crucial than ever. 

IUCN Red List

The IUCN Red List details global plants, animals, and fungi that might be in danger of extinction. It helps conserve biodiversity and change policies to protect natural resources for human survival. 

The Endangered Species Red List includes a species’ population, range, ecology, and habitat. Government Bodies, NGOs, Businesses, and Individuals can access and use the information to save endangered species from extinction. 

Purpose of IUCN Endangered Species Red List

Various organizations use the information cited in the IUCN Red List in the following ways:

  • International agreements such as CITES and the Ramsar Convention use this data to make necessary judgments that sync with nature’s status.
  • The World Bank Group utilizes this data to assess the risk of harm to biodiversity caused by large-scale infrastructure and global projects.
  • Zoos and National parks periodically use this data to upgrade essential policies.

IUCN Red List Criteria

The IUCN assesses species’ extinction risk using five quantitative standards. They are:

  1. The population decline rate
  2. The geographic area covered by the species
  3. Whether the species has a tiny population size
  4. Whether the species covers a small geographic location or lives in a limited space
  5. Whether the quantitative analysis results suggest an increased chance of extinction in the wild

IUCN Red List Categories

The IUCN assesses the species based on their criteria and divides them into nine categories.

  • Extinct (EX) 
  • Extinct in the wild (EW)
  • Critically endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN) 
  • Vulnerable (VU) 
  • Near Threatened (NT) 
  • Least concern (LC) 
  • Data Deficient (DD)
  • Not evaluated (NE)

IUCN Red List Animals

Here is a table listing the endangered animals and their respective habitats:

Endangered AnimalHabitat/Location
Amur LeopardRussian Far East, China
Javan RhinoUjung Kulon National Park, Indonesia
Hawksbill TurtleTropical Oceans worldwide
White RhinoSouthern Africa
Black RhinoEastern and Southern Africa
Indian RhinoIndia, Nepal
Sumatran RhinoSumatra and Borneo (Indonesia)
Bengal TigerIndia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal
Asiatic LionGir Forest, India
Ganges River DolphinGanges and Brahmaputra Rivers, India
African ElephantSub-Saharan Africa
Polar BearArctic region
IUCN Red List

Conservation Success Stories: Project Tiger

The IUCN Endangered Species Red List has inspired many to make different efforts to conserve animal species. An example is Project Tiger in India, which was set off in 1973 and contributed towards the growing number of tigers by guarding their living quarters and restricting poaching activities.

At the start of the project, the population of tigers in India was estimated to be around 1,827. According to the All India Tiger Estimation conducted in 2018, the tiger population had increased to approximately 2,967. The project includes the restoration of habitats, building wildlife sanctuaries to safeguard, community action, and fierce anti-poaching laws.

Challenges in Conservation

The conservation journey has experienced various successes but still needs to improve. The primary constraint on effective action is usually due to the following: 

Insufficient Funding

Conservation programs often suffer from inadequate budget allocations, limiting the ability to implement effective protection measures.

Political Instability

Changes in government and policy priorities can disrupt ongoing conservation efforts and impede long-term planning.

Public Awareness

There is a general lack of public understanding and awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity, which is crucial for garnering support and involvement in conservation initiatives.

Climate Crisis

The ongoing global climate crisis poses a significant threat to wildlife by altering habitats and reducing available resources, making conservation efforts more urgent and challenging.

The Green Status of Species

The IUCN Species Green Status evaluates the species’ population recovery and calculates their conservation success.

There are eight Green Status Categories.

  • Extinct in the Wild
  • Critically Depleted
  • Largely Depleted
  • Moderately Depleted
  • Slightly Depleted
  • Fully Recovered
  • Non-Depleted
  • Indeterminate.

A Green Status study examines conservation actions and their effect on the current Red List status. It also explains what to expect if conservation is stopped and indicates the improved status of species when undergoing conservation. 


The IUCN Endangered Species Red List highlights the current decline of Earth’s biodiversity and humans’ power over life on the planet. You can measure any species’ conservation status against IUCN’s standard, which is accepted globally. Around 157,000 species have been assessed using the IUCN Red List categories and criteria.

Today, the list has become an online database that is easily accessible to anyone. Scientists often use this list to know a species’ current percentage and any changes in it. They can also analyze the threats and protection measures that underpin the observed movements.


What is the IUCN Red List?

The IUCN Red List compiles the conservation status of different plants, fungi, and animal species worldwide. It rates the risk and rate of danger to these species and guides the management of imminent threats.

What does “endangered species” mean?

Endangered species are those species or groups of organisms that are threatened by extinction because of changes in some of the factors, such as loss of habitat through deforestation or climatic changes and poaching.

How are species added to the Red List?

The addition of species depends on scientific research based on parameters like population sizes, rate of decrease, and geographical distribution, among others, that affect their chances for survival.

What is the difference between endangered and threatened species?

Endangered species face the danger of extinction, whereas threatened species may face the danger of extinction soon.

Name some endangered species of India.

Endangered species of India are the Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Lion, Indian Rhino, and Ganges River Dolphin.

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