IUCN Red List categories with example

IUCN Red List categories with example


The IUCN Red List is a powerful conservation tool that provides a systematic and scientifically rigorous assessment of the extinction risk faced by various species across the globe. It categorizes species based on their conservation status into different groups, ranging from the highest level of risk to those considered least vulnerable.

These are some example of IUCN Red list categories:

Extinct (EX):

  • Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)
  • Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus)
  • Pyrenean Ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica)
  • Dodo  (Raphus cucullatus)
  • Wooly mammoth  (Mammuthus primigenius)

Extinct in the Wild (EW):

  • Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii)
  • Père David’s Deer (Elaphurus davidianus)
  • Pinta giant tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdonii)
  • Catarina pupfish (Megupsilon aporus)
  • Christmas Island whiptail-skink (Emoia nativitatis)

Critically Endangered (CR):

  • Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus)
  • Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis)
  • Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii)
  • Namdapha Flying Squirrel (Biswamoyopterus biswasi) 
  • Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris)

Endangered (EN):

  • Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)
  • Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
  • Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)
  • Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus)

Vulnerable (VU):

  • African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
  • Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)
  • Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)
  • Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)
  • Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

Near Threatened (NT):

  • Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus)
  • Western Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla)
  • Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)
  • Maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)
  • Ball python (Python regius)

Least Concern (LC):

  • Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
  • Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
  • Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
  • Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Extinct and Extinct in the Wild:

The most heartbreaking categories in the Red List are “Extinct” (EX) and “Extinct in the Wild” (EW). Species listed as Extinct are considered gone forever, with no known living individuals remaining.

Species classified as Extinct in the Wild are still found in captivity or under managed populations but have vanished from their natural habitats. Tragically, these species can no longer sustain themselves without human intervention. The Spix’s Macaw and Père David’s Deer are among the species facing this heartbreaking fate.

Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable:

The Red List’s most critical categories include “Critically Endangered” (CR), “Endangered” (EN), and “Vulnerable” (VU). Species falling under these categories are at high risk of extinction if immediate action is not taken.

Near Threatened and Least Concern:

While not facing immediate danger, species listed as “Near Threatened” (NT) are still at risk and may become vulnerable if conservation measures are not implemented. On the other end of the spectrum, “Least Concern” (LC) species have stable populations and a relatively low risk of extinction. The Red Fox and the resilient Honey Bee are examples of species currently considered Least Concern.

Conservation Impact and Ongoing Efforts:

The IUCN Red List has played a pivotal role in conservation efforts worldwide. It provides a roadmap for governments, organizations, and communities to prioritize conservation initiatives, allocate resources efficiently, and implement strategies to protect endangered species and their habitats.

Key Objectives of IUCN:


The primary goal of IUCN is to conserve nature and biodiversity by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and protecting ecosystems and species.

Research and Data Collection:

IUCN conducts scientific research and gathers data on various aspects of conservation, including species assessments for the Red List, ecosystem monitoring, and analysis of environmental issues.

Policy Advocacy:

IUCN plays an active role in advocating for policies and legislation that support nature conservation and sustainable development at the national and international levels.


The IUCN brings together governments, NGOs, scientists, indigenous communities, and other stakeholders to collaborate on conservation initiatives and share knowledge and expertise.

IUCN Red List:

One of IUCN’s most well-known initiatives is the IUCN Red List, which assesses the conservation status of thousands of species to identify those at risk of extinction.

Protected Areas:

IUCN works to establish and manage protected areas worldwide, aiming to conserve critical habitats and biodiversity.

Sustainable Development:

IUCN promotes the integration of conservation and sustainability principles into development projects and policies to ensure that economic growth is balanced with environmental protection.

Species Survival Commission (SSC):

SSC is one of IUCN’s six commissions and is responsible for conducting species-related research and conservation programs.

World Conservation Congress:

IUCN holds a World Conservation Congress every four years, where members and stakeholders come together to set the organization’s priorities and strategies.


The IUCN Red List serves as a sobering reminder of the critical state of our planet’s biodiversity. It is also a beacon of hope, guiding us towards a more sustainable future. With collective efforts, dedication, and a commitment to protecting our planet’s precious biodiversity, we can make a positive impact and ensure that future generations inherit a world teeming with life and natural wonders.

Let us be inspired by the IUCN Red List and work together to protect and conserve the myriad of life forms that make Earth our extraordinary home. For in doing so, we secure not only their future but our own as well.

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