An Update to the IUCN Red List

A recent press release from the IUCN Red List details findings from the latest update of the Red List of Threatened Species. Over 4,000 new species have been assessed, bringing the total number of species on the List to 70,294. This update includes the first global reassessment of conifers, which are the world's oldest and largest species. Unfortunately, even these ancient species have declining populations, due to pests and overexploitation.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is a comprehensive database of the conservation status of thousands of species. The IUCN Species Programme, aided by the Species Survival Commission (of which CBSG is a part) and many other partners, maintains the Red List and updates it about every four years (Source: The Red List is important for understanding and prioritizing conservation needs. It provides conservation organizations with valuable knowledge that can be used to create thorough conservation plans and carry them out successfully.

An update to the List provides a multitude of information for conservationists, including CBSG and our colleagues, and many other stakeholders in a species' survival. With so many creatures in need of conservation support, the Red List can help our community prioritize which species need the most urgent action. A positive change in conservation status helps reveal successful methods which can be adapted to help improve the status of other species. The Red List graphic can be used to illustrate to the public the level of threat to a beloved species, inciting support for conservation efforts.

All of this information helps us focus as we continue to contribute our conservation planning expertise to achieving the ambitious Aichi Target 12: By 2020, the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained (for more on CBSG and Target 12, click here). Certainly, it underscores the immense challenges the conservation community faces, but also provides concrete guidance for how to effectively conserve species. 

To read the press release and get more information, please visit