The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species. It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species. These criteria are relevant to most species and all regions of the world. With its strong scientific base, The IUCN Red List is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.
At a glance
species assessed by 2020
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The IUCN Red List in a nutshell
A global authority
The IUCN Red List assesses the conservation status of species at a global level, drawing on expert knowledge from around the world.
Who uses the Red List?
The IUCN Red List is used by institutional, business and community users such as:
- national and international government agencies
- wildlife departments
- conservation-related non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
- natural resource planners
- educational organisations
- zoos and aquariums
- the business community
How is the Red List used ?
IUCN Red List data are used for a variety of purposes:
- International agreements use IUCN Red List data to guide decision making and as an indicator of the status of nature. These include, but are not limited to agreements such as CITES, the Ramsar Convention, UN Sustainable Development Goals and CBD Aichi Targets
- World Bank Group Performance Standard PS6 uses The IUCN Red List Index to minimise the risk to biodiversity from large-scale infrastructure and natural resource extraction projects
- Government agencies rely on IUCN Red List data to guide policies such as National Parks regulations
- Zoos use The IUCN Red List Categories to educate the public about species' status
- Scientists use IUCN Red List data as a primary data source in their analyses and publications
- Teachers and students use IUCN Red List data in college projects
- Journalists use IUCN Red List data to inform their articles
The IUCN Red List is a key indicator for the SDGs and Aichi Targets
The IUCN Red List is an essential resource for global, regional and thematic reports
UN bodies, academic institutions and civil society organisations rely on the IUCN Red List to inform a range of global, regional and thematic assessments and reports. Recent examples include the:
- Annual UN Sustainable Development Goals reports
- Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
- UN Convention on Biological Diversity Global Biodiversity Outlook
- Ramsar Convention Global Wetlands Outlook
- WWF Living Planet Report, BirdLife International State of the World’s Birds, and Royal Botanic Garden Kew’s State of the World’s Plants
The IUCN Red List Partnership
The IUCN Red List is produced by the Red List Partnership, currently: Arizona State University, BirdLife International, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Conservation International, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), NatureServe, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Sapienza University of Rome, IUCN Species Survival Commission, Texas A&M University, and Zoological Society of London.
Learn more about the experts and browse the IUCN SSC Specialist Groups directory
The IUCN Red List Categories
The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species assessed. Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct).
Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.
Read more about the Red List Categories and Criteria
The Red List Index
The IUCN Red List Index (RLI) provides a clearer view of real trends within different taxonomic groups, and for biodiversity as a whole.
The RLI is available for groups in which all species have been assessed at least twice. Currently, the Index is available for five groups : birds, mammals, amphibians, corals and cycads.
The RLI clearly demonstrates that the status of these five major groups continues to decline.
Read more about the Red List Index
A critical indicator
The IUCN Red List is an authoritative indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity.
Far more than a list of species and their status
We welcome your support
The IUCN Red List aims to assess 160,000 species by 2020 and relies on donations to fund the assessment and re-assessment of species.
A key partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation established in 2016 is helping us achieve our 2020 target.
Contact us and see how you can get involved !