The IUCN Red List Is Getting Longer Each Year

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added another 1,840 species to its updated “Red List of Threatened Species”. This brings the total number of threatened and endangered species to over 30,000.

What is the IUCN Red List?

The IUCN Red List is the most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of all plant and animal species across the planet. The list defined extinction risk of the species after assessment and puts them in nine categories extending from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct). Species considered to be threatened with extinction are out under either of the three – Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU).

How is this list constituted?

There are mainly five criteria to these evaluations –

  1. The rate of decline in population.
  2. Their geographic range.
  3. If the species already has a small population size.
  4. If they are small in number and live in a restricted area.
  5. If the quantitative analysis point towards a high probability of extinction.
Why do we need this list?

The IUCN Red List brings to out notice the current state of biodiversity on Earth and the human threat it faces. It provides a globally accepted standard to detect the conservation status of species over time. It also allows scientists to understand the nature of threats and the effect they have on the environment in the long term.


Humans are a destructive species. We have failed to protect the only planet we have. Lists like these show us where we went wrong. But more importantly, it tells us how we can make amends. Knowing our mistakes is the first step towards formulating policies that can ensure a better and more diverse biome in the future. It is the only way to protect the planet and in the long term survival of our species.


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