International Union for Conservation of a Nature(IUCN)

  • IUCN stands for International Union for Conservation of a Nature. It is a membership Union composed of both government & civil society organisations.
  • It is the global authority on the status of natural world and measures needed to safeguard it.
  • Headquartered in Switzerland.


  • IUCN Red List is a rich compendium of information on threats, ecological requirements, and habitats of species; and on conservation actions that can be taken to reduce or prevent extinctions.
  • Based on an objective system for assessing risk of extinction of a species based on past, present, and projected threats using the rigorous IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria.
  • There are eight IUCN Red List Categories based on criteria linked to population trend, size and structure, and geographic range.
  • Produced by IUCN Global Species Program, Species Survival Commission & IUCN Red List Partnership.

What does IUCN mean by “threatened”?

  • Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with global extinction.

What does each category mean?

In descending order of threat, the IUCN Red List threat categories are as follows:

  • Extinct or Extinct in Wild
  • Critically EndangeredEndangered and Vulnerable: Species threatened with global extinction.
  • Near Threatened: Species close to the threatened thresholds or that would be threatened without ongoing conservation measures.
  • Least Concern: Species evaluated with a lower risk of extinction.
  • Data Deficient: No assessment because of insufficient data.

IUCN has UN observer status ensuring nature conservation has a voice at highest forum of global governance.

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