IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) founded the Red List of Threatened Species in 1964, which has since become the most comprehensive global inventory of the conservation status of animal, plant, and fungi species. 

The IUCN Red List evaluates the extinction risk of a species based on precise criteria. The rate of decline, population size, area of distribution, and the rate of population and distribution decline are the main criteria for classifying species into one of the following nine groups. 

Categories of the IUCN Red List:

  • EX: Extinct – the species is beyond doubt extinct 
  • EW: Extinct in the Wild – the species survives only in captivity/cultivation
  • CR: Critically Endangered – species in an extremely critical state
  • EN: Endangered – very high risk of extinction in the wild
  • VU: Vulnerable – the risk of unnatural (human-caused) extinction is high without intervention
  • NT: Near Threatened – close to being at risk of extinction in the near future
  • LC: Least Concern – unlikely that the species becomes extinct in the near future
  • DD: Data Deficient
  • NE: Not Evaluated

Data source and citation:

IUCN 2020. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2020-3. https://www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on [15 December 2020].

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