IUCN was founded in October 1948 as the International Union for the Protection of Nature (or IUPN) following an international conference in Fontainebleau, France. The organization changed its name to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1956 with the acronym IUCN (or UICN in French and Spanish). This remains the full legal name to this day. IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network - a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 140 countries, grouped in six Commissions. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.
One of the IUCN missions is to establish and regularly update a “red list” of threatened animals and plants species . IUCN elaborated a list of rigorous and recognized criteria that allow to evaluate the risk of extinction and, then, to classify the species into one of the nine categories of this red list.
- ©M. Dupuis - Red Sea coral hind or jewel grouper classified Data Deficient
- Cephalopolis miniata - Data Deficient - © M. Dupuis
- A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.
EXTINCT IN THE WILD (EW)
- A taxon is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalized population (or populations) well outside the past range.
CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (CR)
- A taxon is Critically Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Critically Endangered, and it is therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
- A taxon is Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Endangered, and it is therefore considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
- A taxon is Vulnerable when the best available evidence indicates that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Vulnerable, and it is therefore considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
NEAR THREATENED (NT)
- A taxon 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 taxon 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 taxa are included in this category.
DATA DEFICIENT (DD)
- A taxon 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 taxon in this category may be well studied, and its biology well known, but appropriate data on abundance and/or distribution are lacking.
NOT EVALUATED (NE)
- A taxon is Not Evaluated when it has not been studied by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.