The Butterfly Sanctuary

Bringing wildlife conservation awareness one step closer to home

Wildlife Endangered Species Classifications

So what’s the difference between an endangered species and a protected one?

An endangered specie is any plant or animal life that is under threat of becoming extinct in the wild.  A protected specie is one whose declining numbers in the wild has enacted special government laws to protect them. While the two terms often get interchanged, endangered species may not always be protected by the government and therefore some of them are still threatened in the wild.

Now, from time to time you may see words like “endangered” or “threatened” come up in this blog.  It helps to know the difference between them and know which species may require your support to protect.

The list below is the official one from the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species (IUCN stands for the International Union for Conservation of Nature):

IUCN Classification Definition
Extinct (EX) No known individuals remaining.
Extinct in the Wild (EW) Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside it’s prehistoric range.
Critically Endangered (CR) Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
Endangered (EN) High risk of extinction in the wild.
Vulnerable (VU) High risk of endangerment in the wild.
Near Threatened (NT) Likely to become endangered in the future.
Least Concern (LC) Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a higher risk category.  Widespread and abundant species.
Data Deficient (DD) Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
Not Evaluated (NE) Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

The IUCN Red List is produced and managed by the IUCN Global Species Program and Species Survival Commission (SSC).  To learn more about the IUCN Red list, visit the IUCN website.


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