What is IUCN?

The word IUCN means International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is a membership union of over 1,400 states, organizations, and other stakeholders worldwide and has been active in the field of nature conservation since 1948.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority dedicated for the conservation status of each and every species.

The IUCN has its headquarters at Gland, Switzerland, near Geneva. It was formerly based in Morges, Switzerland.

What is IUCN Red Data List?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was established in 1964. This is also known as IUCN Red List or else IUCN Red Data List.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, lobbying and education.

This is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of biological species’ global conservation status. It employs a set of criteria to assess the danger of extinction for numerous species and subspecies. These requirements apply to all species and all parts of the planet.

The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of conservation concerns among the general public and policymakers, and to assist the worldwide community in its efforts to decrease extinction of species.

Who list species for IUCN Red Data List?

Countries or organizations create a series of Regional Red Lists that assess the risk of extinction for species within a political control unit.

Approximately 50% of the species in the Red Data List are assessed by the major species assessors.

BirdLife International, the research section of the Zoological Society of London and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre are considered as the major species assessors.

The IUCN assesses each species against several criteria that determine their risk of extinction. The process involves experts from around the world who evaluate how close a species is to being wiped out. Each species is evaluated based on its population size, geographical range, number and severity of threats and its rate of decline.

Some species may be evaluated as endangered in some countries but not in others; however, they will only be listed as endangered if they meet those criteria globally.

IUCN Red Data List facts

  • The IUCN aims to have the category of every species re-evaluated once in every few years if possible. The IUCN Red Data list is updated twice each year.
  • Data collected by the IUCN are used to evaluate the conservation status of species and ecosystems.
  • The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species is the best-known worldwide conservation status listing and ranking system.
  • This contains information on taxa’s taxonomic status, conservation status, and habitat that has been reviewed globally using the Categories and Criteria of the IUCN Red Data List.

More services by the IUCN

Other major projects include: a system for measuring and quantifying the impact of human activities on nature (the IUCN Red List Index); a set of methodologies designed to assess the ecological footprint; a system for monitoring changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services; and a series of programs to protect and restore critical ecosystems.

Importance of IUCN Red Data List

This list identifies species that are endangered, vulnerable or threatened with extinction. The Red List seeks to provide a global snapshot of the conservation status of thousands of species, using the best available information.

It is frequently recognized as the “world’s most comprehensive inventory of plant and animal species’ global conservation status.”

How many species are listed in IUCN Red Data List?

The Red List was launched in 1964 and has grown steadily since then, with more than 142,500 species classified by 2022.

Are microbes considered in IUCD Red Data List?

Although it focuses on animals and plants, it also includes fungi and microbes.

Categories in the IUCN Red Data List

  • Extinct – Living individuals are not found from the species at the moment.
  • Extinct in the Wild – Only few individuals surviving in captivity
  • Critically Endangered
  • Endangered
  • Vulnerable
  • Near Threatened
  • Conservation Dependent
  • Least Concern
  • Data Deficient
  • Not Evaluated


The world is continuously changing, and so is the nature of the threats faced by biodiversity. It is necessary to update conservation priorities on a regular basis, and it is important to consider the impact of habitat changes, climate change and invasive species as well as a number of previously unrecognized threats.

This approach is intended to estimate the relative risk of extinction, and the primary goal of the IUCN Red List is to document and highlight those plants and animals that are at a higher danger of extinction on a worldwide scale.

By analyzing and comparing data from different regions and on different taxonomic groups it is possible to identify patterns in threat processes and draw conclusions about the causes of extinction. This knowledge can be used to improve conservation strategies.

Share this post
About Author

Science A Plus