Orange-bellied Parrot Click to enlarge image
Orange-bellied Parrot Image: Ross Tsai
creative commons

Many factors are used to assess a species' conservation status, including: the number remaining, the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates and known threats.

There are global and Australian systems for recognising conservation status.

Global systems

IUCN Red List

To date, more than 93,500 species have been assessed for The IUCN Red List

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was established in 1964, The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species.

It is a worldwide conservation status listing and ranking system. It divides species into nine categories, of which the official term 'threatened is a subset of three categories: Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable:

  • Extinct (EX)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Data Deficient (DD)
  • Not Evaluated (NE)

On our Animal pages, we have included the IUCN terms for any species or groups that occur on the Red List.


The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) also lists species, with the specific aim of ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Australian Federal and State systems

Federal Conservation Status listings

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) lists threatened species, ecological communities and threatening processes. The categories used by the EPBC Act for threatened animal species are:

  • Extinct
  • Extinct in the wild
  • Critically Endangered
  • Endangered
  • Vulnerable
  • Conservation dependent

State government listings

Australian state governments have different systems for categorising and listing threatened species. In New South Wales, the Department of Environment and Climate Change is responsible for administering the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. The NSW categories for threatened species currently are:

  • Species presumed extinct
  • Endangered species
  • Endangered population
  • Endangered ecological community
  • Vulnerable species

Conservation status symbols
IUCN conservation status symbols Image: wikimedia commons