Vulnerable or Endangered: Explaining the Scale

Vulnerable or Endangered: Explaining the Scale

Have you ever wondered what the different classifications mean when you find out a creature is vulnerable, or find yourself wondering how serious this actually is? The truth is that this can look very different for different species, like perhaps one species 4000 individuals is thriving, but another’s 6000 individuals is endangered. Here’s a bit more about the scale and what these classifications can mean.

The IUCN stands for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, they are a global group that work to research species and make plans for conservation on species identified to be at risk, which can mean dwindling numbers or simply a dip in population, finding out why and possibly working towards resolving these issues.

snow leopard pattern

Least Concern - These animal are widespread and usually not at any risk, they are a good population that can breed in the wild without help.

Near Threatened - These are likely to qualify soon for threatened, perhaps due to development works or something that has disrupted things.

Vulnerable - These creatures face a risk of extinction in the wild, and includes the hedgehog with a population of over 500k, and the snow leopard with a population of 4-6k.

Endangered - These animals are at a very high risk of extinction in the wild, and includes the Red Squirrel and the Asian Elephant.

Critically Endangered - This group are at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild and drastically need help.

Extinct in the wild - This means there are no more breeding pairs out in the wild, but a population is surviving in captivity.

Extinct - None found, the last individual has died.

Data Deficient - There is not enough data to make a classification

Not Evaluated - These are not evaluated for the classification

So if you ever see these words or symbols next to an animal when you search it on wikipedia, or maybe at the zoo, you can get an idea of these creatures and how much help they may need at this moment in time.

For more in-depth reading about these classifications, try the IUCN website, or any official Trust or Wildlife pages.

It is important to remember that species in more serious trouble are not a lost cause, some species have returned from dangerous depths and become widespread once again. This is why the work is so important, without the monitoring and data collection some may have died out without us knowing, so this way we can understand the risks and try and help where possible.

If you want to learn more about endangered species, you can find some infographics on our social media.

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