Blog: Red List Indices of seven animal groups of Bangladesh

IUCN has recently updated the Red List of Bangladesh by assessing 1619 species from seven animal groups. This article for the first time records the Red List Index (RLI) for each of these groups and creates a baseline to measure species conservation initiatives in Bangladesh.

Chunati WildlIfe Sanctuary, Chittagong, Bangladesh.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM helps us to understand the extinction risk of species at global to national scales. After completing the assessment against a set of criteria, a species is placed into one of IUCN Red List categories. Of these categories, Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable are considered ‘threatened’ categories. In 2015, Bangladesh assessed 1619 species belonging to seven animal groups (Table). This exercise has alarmingly put 390 species in threatened categories. In other words, 24% of evaluated species in Bangladesh are now on the brink of extinction.

Calculated based on the IUCN Red List, the Red List Index (RLI) goes one step further. The RLI expresses the extinction risk of a particular group of species, globally or regionally, by a number between ‘1’ and ‘0’. Here, ‘1’ is the best-case scenario, where all species of a group are out of extinction danger or they are in the Least Concern category. On the other hand, ‘0’ is the worst-case scenario, where all species of a group are extinct from the world or the said region.

Once the RLI of a particular group is calculated a couple of times over the years and plotted on a graph, the trend of the conservation status of that group can be seen. On a global scale, for example, the latest RLI for mammals is 0.86, birds 0.91, amphibians 0.75, and corals 0.81. Over the last couple of decades, the RLIs of these four groups have been showing alarming declining trends.

The last row of the following table contains the RLIs of seven animal groups of Bangladesh based on the Red List of Bangladesh 2015. This is the first attempt to calculate the RLIs for Bangladesh. Here the RLIs of birds, amphibians, fishes and crustaceans are higher than 0.80, indicating relatively moderate conditions for these groups. But the RLI of mammals underlines serious conservation concerns as it is close to the 0.50 mark. The RLIs also indicate grim conditions for butterflies and reptiles.

 

Table: Threatened status and Red List Indices of seven animal groups of Bangladesh.

Animal Groups →

Red List Categories ↓

Mammals

Birds

Reptiles

Amphibians

Freshwater Fish

Crustaceans

Butterflies

Regionally Extinct (RE)

11

19

1

0

0

0

0

Critically Endangered (CR)

17

10

17

2

9

0

1

Endangered (EN)

12

12

10

3

30

2

112

Vulnerable (VU)

9

17

11

5

25

11

75

Near Threatened (NT)

9

29

18

6

27

1

0

Least Concern (LC)

34

424

63

27

122

47

85

Data Deficient (DD)

39

55

27

6

40

79

32

Not Evaluated (NE)

7

0

20

0

0

1

0

Total Species Assessed*

138

566

167

49

253

141

305

Regionally Extinct (RE)**

10

2

1

0

0

NA***

NA

Red List Index (RLI) 2015

0.55

0.91

0.76

0.85

0.81

0.90

0.64

*As per IUCN Bangladesh (2015). **As per IUCN Bangladesh (2000, p. 41). ***NA = Not assessed.

 

The Red List Index 2015 of Bangladesh gives us a baseline to monitor the country’s journey to prevent extinction of threatened species. It will also be useful for the country’s periodic reporting to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and for measuring the implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and other national plans, like the Country Investment Plan (CIP) for Environment, Forestry and Climate Change. Although the overall picture drawn by the Red List Index 2015 is rather depressing, it gives us yet another basis to take larger, speedier and urgent actions to halt species extinction in Bangladesh.

As we go forward, conserving our species and ecosystems, it is important we update our national Red List of plants and animals on a regular basis. This in turn will help update the national RLIs. Without such updates, it is not possible to learn if our conservation actions are working or not. It is, therefore, important to put in place a national system to coordinate regular updates to the conservation status of country’s threatened species. No action is complete until its impacts have been measured.

 

Acknowledgement: Many thanks are due to Monika Böhm of the Zoological Society of London for confirming the Red List Index calculations.

This article was contributed by Haseeb Md. Irfanullah, Programme Coordinator for IUCN Bangladesh. Haseeb tweets as @hmirfanullah

Citation of this article: Irfanullah, H.M. (2017). Red List Indices of Seven Animal Groups of Bangladesh. IUCN Blog. Accessed on <https://www.iucn.org/news/bangladesh/201704/blog-red-list-indices-seven-animal-groups-bangladesh>, on [access date]. IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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