Red Data Book & IUCN YouTube Lecture Handouts for TISS Exam-Environment

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IUCN and Red Data List - Knowing About Biodiversity


  • Established in 1948
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) , officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
  • Natural conservation and sustainable use of natural resources
  • Headquarters at Gland, Switzerland
  • Has membership of 1400 governmental and NGOs
  • Has 16,000 volunteers
  • Has observer and consultative status at UN
  • Helped in establishment of World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre
  • Previous Names:
    • International Union for Preservation of Nature (1948 – 1956)
    • World Conservation Union (1990 – 2008)
  • Publish IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (conservation species worldwide) – 1st published in 1964


  • 1959: UNESCO decides to create an international list of Nature Parks and equivalent reserves & IUCN asked to do so
  • 1961: World Wildlife Fund set up as a complimentary organisation
  • 1975: Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) comes into force, and its secretariat is administered from IUCN՚s headquarters
  • 1991: Published Caring of the Earth
  • 2003: IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Program (BBP) was established - support private partners to address environmental and social issues
  • 2012: IUCN publishes list of “The world՚s 100 most threatened species”
  • IUCN program 2017 - 2020 focus on 17 SDGs
  • Green Data Book – reference on environmental data of 200 economies – agriculture, forestry, biodiversity, energy and sanitation
  • Red Data Book – rare and endangered species and monitoring programs

Red Data List

  • Released in 1964
  • World՚s most comprehensive status on biological species
Red Data List

Purpose of Red Data List

  • Awareness to degree of threat
  • Provide global index about decline of biodiversity
  • Identify and document species at high risk of extinction
  • Prepare conservation priorities
  • Information about CITES (Conservation on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and Conservation of Biodiversity
  • Scientifically based information on status of species
  • Draw attention to magnitude and threat of species

Categories are re-evaluated every 5 years possibly and atleast every 10 years

2007: Classification of both western lowland gorilla & Cross River gorilla raised from endangered to critically endangered due to Ebola virus and poaching

BirdLife International

  • Official Red List authority for birds, for IUCN
  • It identifies sites known/referred to as ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas’
  • Strives to conserve birds
  • Worlds largest nature conservation partnership
  • Identifies the sites referred to as ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas’


  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
  • Came into force in 1975
  • Legally binding on the parties – does not take the place of national laws
  • Similar treaty: Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants – MIKE
  • Multilateral Treaty
  • Also known as Washington Convention

Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC)

  • NGO on trade in wild animals and plants
  • Joint program of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and IUCN.
  • Complimentary to CITES
  • Founded in 1976
  • Headquarters at Cambridge, United Kingdom.
  • Deals with trade in wild plants and animals & it is not a threat to the conservation of nature.
  • Investigates and analyses wildlife trade trends, patterns and impacts.


IUCN – 9 categories

IUCN – 9 Categories
Increasing Risk of Extinction

Pink pages: Include critically endangered species. As the status of the species changes, new pages are sent to the subscribers.

Green pages: Species that were formerly endangered, but have now recovered to a point where they are no longer threatened.

Critically endangered criteria:

  • Populations have declined or will decrease, by greater than 80 % over the last 10 years or three generations.
  • Have a restricted geographical range.
  • Small population size of less than 250 individuals and continuing decline at 25 % in 3 years or one generation.
  • Very small or restricted population of fewer than 50 mature individuals.
  • High probability of extinction in the wild.

Changes in Categorization

Changes in Categorization

The older 1994 has only a single “Lower Risk” category which contained three subcategories:

  • Conservation Dependent (LR/cd)
  • Near Threatened (LR/nt)
  • Least Concern (LR/lc)

In the 2001: Near Threatened and Least Concern have now become separate categories, while Conservation Dependent is no longer used and is merged into Near Threatened.

India and IUCN

Became a State Member of IUCN in 1969 by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC)

IUCN India Country Office was established in 2007 in New Delhi

Aim is to reduce ecosystem and species loss, conserve and use biodiversity sustainability, enhance governance and policy and address challenges related to poverty alleviation, food security and climate change.

Critically Endangered list includes 10 mammals, 15 birds, 6 reptiles, 19 species of amphibians, 14 fishes

Critically Endangered Mammals

  • Pygmy Hog (Porcula salvania)
  • Andaman White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura andamanensis)
  • Jenkin՚s Andaman Spiny Shrew (Crocidura jenkinsi)
  • Nicobar White-tailed Shrew (Crocidura nicobarica)
  • Kondana Rat (Millardia kondana)
  • Large Rock Rat or Elvira Rat (Cremnomys elvira)
  • Namdapha Flying Squirrel (Biswamoyopterus biswasi)
  • Malabar Civet (Viverra civettina)
  • Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)
  • Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus)

Critically Endangered Birds

  • Baer՚s Pochard
  • Forest Owlet
  • Great Indian Bustard
  • Bengal Florican
  • Siberian Crane
  • Spoon-billed Sandpiper
  • Sociable Lapwing
  • Jerdon՚s Courser
  • White backed Vulture
  • Red-headed Vulture
  • White-bellied Heron
  • Slender-billed Vulture
  • Indian Vulture
  • Himalayan Quail
  • Pink-headed Duck

Critically Endangered Reptiles

  • Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)
  • Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
  • Four-toed River Terrapin or River Terrapin (Batagur baska)
  • Red-crowned Roofed Turtle or the Bengal Roof Turtle (Batagur kachuga)
  • Sispara day gecko (Cnemaspis sisparensis)

Critically Endangered Amphibians

  • Anamalai Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pseudomalabaricus)
  • Gundia Indian Frog (Indirana gundia)
  • Kerala Indian Frog (Indirana phrynoderma)
  • Charles Darwin՚s Frog (Ingerana charlesdarwini)
  • Kottigehar Bubble-nest Frog (Micrixalus kottigeharensis)
  • Amboli Bush Frog (Pseudophilautus amboli)
  • Chalazodes Bubble-Nest Frog (Raorchestes chalazodes)
  • Small Bush Frog (Raorchestes chotta)
  • Green-eyed Bush Frog (Raorchestes chlorosomma)
  • Griet Bush Frog (Raorchestes griet)
  • Kaikatt՚s Bush Frog (Raorchestes kaikatti)
  • Mark՚s Bush Frog (Raorchestes marki)
  • Munnar Bush Frog (Raorchestes munnarensis)
  • Large Ponmudi Bush Frog (Raorchestes ponmudi)
  • Resplendent Shrub Frog (Raorchestes resplendens)
  • Sacred Grove Bush frog (Raorchestes sanctisilvaticus)
  • Sushil՚s Bush Frog (Raorchestes sushili)
  • Shillong Bubble-nest Frog (Raorchestes shillongensis)
  • Tiger toad (Xanthophryne tigerinus)

Critically Endangered Fishes

  • Pondicherry Shark (Carcharhinus hemiodon)
  • Ganges Shark (Glyphis gangeticus)
  • Knife-tooth Sawfish (Anoxypristis cuspidata)
  • Large-tooth Sawfish (Pristis microdon)
  • Long-comb Sawfish or Narrow-snout Sawfish (Pristis zijsron)

Critically Endangered Corals

  • Fire corals (Millepora boschmai)

Critically Endangered Spiders

  • Rameshwaram Ornamental or Rameshwaram Parachute Spider (Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica)
  • Gooty Tarantula, Metallic Tarantula or Peacock Tarantula (Poecilotheria metallica)

Endangered Mammals

  • Red Panda
  • Wild ass/khur (Equus hemionus khur)
  • Dhole/Asiatic wild dog or Indian wild dog (Cuon alpinus)
  • Eld՚s deer/thamin or brow-antlered deer (Panolia eldii)
  • Golden langur (Trachypithecus geei)
  • Himalayan/White-bellied Musk Deer
  • Hispid hare/Assam rabbit (Caprolagus hispidus)
  • Hog deer
  • Lion-tailed macaque/wanderoo (Macaca silenus)
  • Chita/Tibetian Antelope
  • Nilgiri langur/Nilgiri leaf monkey (Trachypithecus johnii)
  • Nilgiri tahr

Endangered Marine Mammals

  • Freshwater/river dolphin

Why Conserve Biodiversity?

  • Food
  • Fats and Oils
  • Fibres
  • Timber
  • Drugs and Industrial use
  • Polination
  • Climatic Regulation
  • Oxygen balance
  • Flood and erosion control
  • Microbial waste treatment
  • Biological pest control
  • Ecotourism
  • Aesthetic value
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Bioprospecting – exploring molecular and genetic products of economic importance

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