IUCN Red List

Latest Update – 

  • African Elephant species in March 2021 have been listed as ‘Endangered’ and ‘Critically Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List. IUCN published an assessment of the African Elephant population.
  • It was reported on December 1st, 2021 that the Whie-bellied sea eagle had only 22 nesting grounds in their native habitat as compared to 25 in the previous survey in 1996. As per the IUCN Red List, the species has undergone a 72.5% decline in numbers in the last 25 years.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), founded in 1964, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species (Animal, fungus and plant species).

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

The recently updated status of species under IUCN is important for aspirants preparing for the civil services examination. Candidates must keep themselves updated with the daily current affairs to also be aware of the other animal species in news.

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Latest Updates about IUCN Red List

  1. African Elephants species has African Forest Elephant and African Savannah Elephant. IUCN has recently updated the status of both the elephants in the IUCN Red List.
    • African Forest Elephant – Critically Endangered
    • African Savannah Elephant – Endangered
    • Note – Earlier, these two elephants were treated as a single species and were listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.
  2. The IUCN Red List now includes 134,425 species of which 37,480 are threatened with extinction.

Read about African Forest Elephants in the linked article.

IUCN Red List Assessment 2019-2022

The updated data will be provided here post the publication of the IUCN Red List 2022 (September 2021).

IUCN Red List:- Download PDF Here

A series of Regional Red Lists are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit. The IUCN Red List is based upon precise criteria to evaluate the rate of extinction of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world.

The IUCN red list provides taxonomic data, conservation status, and distribution information on species that are facing a high risk of global extinction.

This is an important topic for UPSC and other government exams.

Candidates can complement their environment and ecology preparation of UPSC Mains General Studies-III from the links given below:

  1. Environment Notes for UPSC
  2. Previous Years’ Environment and Ecology Questions from IAS Mains GS 3
  3. List of Important Environment Conventions and Protocols
  4. Current Affairs

Objectives of IUCN

The International Union for Conservation of Nature works to achieve the following goals:

  1. To provide scientific data on the status of species and subspecies at a global level.
  2. To address the factors of concern and spread awareness regarding the species and biodiversity extinction.
  3. To plan a layout for the conservation of biodiversity.

IUCN Red List Users

The IUCN Red List provides accurate data on the status of different species on the Earth.  This information is used by various departments, institutes, and organizations.

The users of the IUCN Red List are given below:

  • Government agencies (National & International)
  • Wildlife organizations and departments
  • Conservation-related NGOs
  • Natural resource planners
  • Educational organizations
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Media
  • Business communities

Purpose of the IUCN Red List Data

The information cited in the IUCN Red List is used by various organizations in the following ways:

  • International Agreements such as CITES, Ramsar Convention use the Red List data to make important decisions in sync with the status of nature as and when required.
  • World Bank Group performance standard uses the IUCN Red List data to evaluate the risk of damage to biodiversity due to large-scale infrastructures and global projects.
  • Zoos and National parks use this information to upgrade important policies like parks regulations from time to time.

Following are the 9 categories in the IUCN red list:

IUCN Red List - Critically Endangered species

  • Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining.
  • Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
  • Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild.
  • Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered soon.
  • Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at-risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
  • Data deficient (DD) – Not enough data to assess its risk of extinction.
  • Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria

As a component of the IAS Prelims Syllabus, IUCN Red List and its divisions and categorisations for different animal species constitute an important topic. Thus, aspirants must accordingly update themselves with the related data.

List of critically endangered species in India as per IUCN Red List 2019-2022

The updated data will be provided here post the publication of the IUCN Red List 2022 (September 2021).

The list of critically endangered species in India from various categories are given below:

Critically Endangered Mammals

  1. Pygmy Hog 
  2. Andaman White-toothed Shrew 
  3. Jenkin’s Andaman Spiny Shrew 
  4. Nicobar White-tailed Shrew 
  5. Kondana Rat 
  6. Large Rock Rat or Elvira Rat 
  7. Namdapha Flying Squirrel 
  8. Malabar Civet 
  9. Sumatran Rhinoceros 
  10. Javan Rhinoceros 

Critically Endangered Birds

  1. Aythya Baeri
  2. Forest Owlet
  3. Great Indian Bustard
  4. Bengal Florican
  5. Siberian Crane
  6. Spoon-billed Sandpiper
  7. Sociable Lapwing
  8. Jerdon’s Courser
  9. White-backed Vulture
  10. Red-headed Vulture
  11. White-bellied Heron
  12. Slender-billed Vulture
  13. Indian Vulture
  14. Pink-headed Duck
  15. Himalayan Quail

Critically Endangered Reptiles

  1. Gharial 
  2. Hawksbill Turtle
  3. River Terrapin
  4.  Bengal Roof Turtle
  5. Sispara day gecko 

Critically Endangered Fishes

  1. Pondicherry Shark 
  2. Ganges Shark 
  3. Knife-tooth Sawfish 
  4. Large-tooth Sawfish 
  5. Narrow-snout Sawfish 

IUCN Red List:- Download PDF Here

IUCN Conservation Plan

The strategy for the conservation of nature by IUCN is as follows:

  1. Assess – Focus on monitoring species and informing the world about the status and trends of biodiversity, thus providing measures for the protection of our biosphere.
  2. Plan – Aims to enhance collaborative and science-based strategies to ensure the most effective species conservation actions.
  3. Act – Improve the status of biodiversity, by mobilizing actions involving governments, educational institutions, civil society, and the private sector.
  4. Communicate – The effectiveness of IUCN’s species conservation work is enhanced through strategic and targeted communications.

From the perspective of biodiversity and environment and ecology as a subject of UPSC Mains, the conservation of all animal species and the initiatives being taken for their conservation must be known to the CSE aspirants.

Similar topics:

World Wide Fund for Nature Biodiversity Hotspots in India
Causes of Biodiversity Loss National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem

UPSC Preparation:

IAS Exam UPSC Books
UPSC 2022 UPSC Notes
UPSC Syllabus UPSC 2022 Calendar
Static GK Articles NCERT Books For UPSC

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