IUCN 1996 Red List of Cetacea

is maintained by

The World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Providing information services on conservation and sustainable use of the world's living resources, and helping others to develop information systems of their own.

Red List

The Categories

A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.

A taxon is Extinct in the wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population (or populations) well outside the past range. A taxon is presumed extinct in the wild when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon's life cycle and life form.

A taxon is Critically Endangered when it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future, as defined by any of the criteria (A to E)

A taxon is Endangered when it is not Critically Endangered but is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future, as defined by any of the criteria (A to E)

A taxon is Vulnerable when it is not Critically Endangered or Endangered but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future, as defined by any of the criteria (A to D)

A taxon is Lower Risk when it has been evaluated, does not satisfy the criteria for any of the categories Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. Taxa included in the Lower Risk category can be separated into three subcategories:

  1. Conservation Dependent (cd). Taxa which are the focus of a continuing taxon-specific or habitat-specific conservation programme targeted towards the taxon in question, the cessation of which would result in the taxon qualifying for one of the threatened categories above within a period of five years.
  2. Near Threatened (nt). Taxa which do not qualify for Conservation Dependent, but which are close to qualifying for Vulnerable.
  3. Least Concern (lc). Taxa which do not qualify for Conservation Dependent or Near Threatened.

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 is lacking. Data Deficient is therefore not a category of threat or Lower Risk. Listing of taxa in this category indicates that more information is required and acknowledges the possibility that future research will show that threatened classification is appropriate. It is important to make positive use of whatever data are available. In many cases great care should be exercised in choosing between DD and threatened status. If the range of a taxon is suspected to be relatively circumscribed, if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the last record of the taxon, threatened status may well be justified.

A taxon is Not Evaluated when it is has not yet been assessed against the criteria.

For further information please write to:

Information Officer,
World Conservation Monitoring Centre,
219 Huntingdon Road,
Cambridge CB3 0DL,
United Kingdom.

Tel: +44 1223 277314; Fax: +44 1223 277136.

Email: info@wcmc.org.uk

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