I planned to write about another animal today but I realized I never made an initial post outlining the IUCN categories that animals are placed in based off their population size. Today, I am going to share these categories with you so going forward you can understand the threat level animals, and sometimes plants I talk about, are facing.
EX – Stands for extinct. This means that there is no trace or evidence of this species being alive anywhere in the world anymore. Either habitat loss, hunting, hybridization diluted the original DNA, or anything else you can possibly think of that caused this animal/plant to cease to exist. Think dinosaurs.
EW – Stands for extinct in the wild. This means that you will not see this species anywhere in its natural habitat assuming said habitat has not been destroyed. If you want to see the species alive somewhere, it’s probably in a zoo or wild life refuge that focuses on trying to breed the last individuals and grow their population in order to release them back in the wild. This also means they are working to restore the habitats as well because you can bring the population back but if they don’t have a thriving place to live, it won’t help them in the long run.
CR – Stands for critically endangered. This means the species is endangered of going extinct in the wild or extinct completely. Not all animals do well in captivity so sometimes they are at risk of skipping the EW step and going straight to the EX step. One of my very first posts was for the Northern White Rhino. There is only one individual in existence. His status is critically endangered because he still lives in a very, very protected wild.
EN – Stands for endangered. This means that the species population is declining rather quickly and at the rate it’s going, the species may have to be listed to CR. Lots of monitoring and surveys begin at this step in order to figure out why the population is rapidly declining and analyze what steps need to be taken to ensure the species doesn’t hit the red.
VU – Stands for vulnerable. This means the species numbers are doing okay but because of certain human activities or climate change, for example, the populations may become affected over time. Reproduction rates are monitored here to make sure offspring are being born and surviving. The risk of endangerment is evident but it hasn’t quite reached that point yet.
NT – Stands for near threatened. This is similar to vulnerable but it’s a projection of what could happen in the future if the rate of activities and habitat trends surrounding the species continues.
LC – Stands for least concern. This means the population is thriving, the habitat is thriving, there is no reason to focus on this species because it’s doing well enough on it’s own. Think deer or hey, humans.
There is also the DD category that’s not listed in the picture but that means not enough data has been collected in order to assess which category a species fits in.
I hope you find this post informative. I mainly focus on species that are EN and up. However, I haven’t actually talked about a species that’s completely extinct. Would that be something you all would be interested in? It won’t be dinosaurs I’m afraid but I can talk about some species that have recently gone extinct if that sounds cool. Let me know in the comments below!