IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Artwork: Alice Shirley

Synchronicity Earth has supported the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in undertaking a comprehensive review and update of its Red List website, the gateway through which governments, scientists, educators and businesses obtain factual and objective information on the status of the world’s 74,000 assessed animal, plant and fungi species.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ (The Red List) is the world’s most comprehensive source of information on the conservation status of the world’s known wildlife. It is a tool widely used to influence, encourage and assist decision-makers and societies throughout the world to help conserve the integrity and diversity of nature.

The Red List provides information regarding a species population size; the current trends in the population/s, whether a species numbers are declining or increasing; where the species is found and the major threats it faces where applicable. The status of a species is assessed according to a number of carefully devised categories and criteria including the level of population decline over a certain time period, the level to which a species range has contracted or to which it is restricted and population size. The degree to which a species is threatened with extinction can be categorized as follows: Not Threatened, Data Deficient, Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild, and Extinct.

The aim is for each species to be assessed at least every 10 years, which can help track changes in the status of the species before it is too late. The Red List is frequently used as a decision-making tool and to set criteria for funding or protection. While the information is not always as accurate as would be ideal, it is currently the most comprehensive existing tool on species’ status. As such, the functioning of its website is key to providing a useful and effective interface to meet the needs of its many users. Now 50 years old, and having been designed with a much smaller set of data, it is no longer working efficiently. The IUCN is therefore creating a blueprint for a new web portal, consulting a range of providers and users of the Red List before going on to produce a new platform in the future. The new website will drastically improve use, and will allow all users of the Red List to access and use this information more easily.


At A Glance