Conservation

“ENDANGERED”, “NEAR THREATENED”, “VULNERABLE”: WHAT DO THESE ACTUALLY MEAN?

Posted on the 3rd August 2017

(This is posted with permission from the Editor of “Batis”, the newsletter of the Somerset West Bird Club. – Ed.)

We hear the words “endangered” and “near threatened” quite often when bird species are referred to. Perhaps this full explanation will help some members understand the precise meaning of these terms. Hope it helps. Editor 

EXTINCT (EX) - A species is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died. A species is presumed Extinct when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the species's life history.

EXTINCT IN THE WILD (EW) - A species is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in captivity or as a naturalized population (or populations) well outside the past range. A species is presumed Extinct in the Wild when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the species's life history. 

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (POSSIBLY EXTINCT) CR (PE) - This is not an official category of the IUCN Red List, but a tag applied by BirdLife (and under review by the IUCN Red List) to identify those Critically Endangered species (see definition below) 'that are likely to be extinct, but for which there is a small chance that they may still be extant, and hence they should not be listed as Extinct until local or unconfirmed reports have been discounted, and adequate surveys have failed to find any individuals' (see below for further details). 

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (CR) - A species is Critically Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Critically Elephant Bird Endangered (see IUCN Red List Criteria) and it is therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. 

ENDANGERED (EN) - A species is Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Endangered (see IUCN Red List Criteria), and it is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. 

VULNERABLE (VU) - A species is Vulnerable when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Vulnerable (see IUCN Red List Criteria), and it is therefore considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. 

NEAR THREATENED (NT) - A species is Near Threatened when it has been evaluated against the criteria but does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable now, but is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future. 

LEAST CONCERN (LC) - A species is Least Concern when it has been evaluated against the criteria and does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened. Widespread and abundant species are included in this category. 

DATA DEFICIENT (DD) - A species is Data Deficient when there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution and/or population status. A species in this category may be well studied, and its biology well known, but appropriate data on abundance and/or distribution are lacking. Data Deficient is therefore not a category of threat. Listing of species in this category indicates that more information is required and acknowledges the possibility that future research will show that threatened classification is appropriate. It is important to make positive use of whatever data are available. In many cases great care should be exercised in choosing between DD and a threatened status. If the range of a species is suspected to be relatively circumscribed, and a considerable period of time has elapsed since the last record of the species, threatened status may well be justified. 

NOT EVALUATED (NE) - A species is Not Evaluated when it is has not yet been evaluated against the criteria. Note that all bird species have been evaluated in 2008, so this category has not been applied for any species. 

NOT RECOGNISED (NR) - This is not an official IUCN Red List Category, but is used by BirdLife in order to document Red List history using taxonomically different lists.


 


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