The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species. It’s an international organization dedicated to finding “pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges”.
The organization publishes the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses the conservation status of species. Species are classified by the IUCN Red List into nine groups:
The IUCN RED LIST
Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining.
Extinct in the Wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic 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 near future.
Least Concern (LC) – Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
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.
CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals. It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
It’s purpose is to Protect Species from Unsustainable Trade
Cacti, iguanas, and parrots represent some of the approximately 35,000 species protected by CITES. Species for which trade is controlled are listed in one of three Appendices to CITES, each conferring a different level of regulation and requiring CITES permits or certificates.
Appendix I: Includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level of protection, including restrictions on commercial trade. Examples include gorillas, sea turtles, most lady slipper orchids, and giant pandas. Currently 926 species are listed. Of this number, approximately 114 species are native to the United States.
Appendix II: Includes species that although currently not threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. It also includes species that resemble other listed species and need to be regulated in order to effectively control the trade in those other listed species. Most CITES species are listed in this Appendix, including American ginseng, paddlefish, lions, American alligators, mahogany and many corals. Currently 33,790 species are listed. Of this number, approximately 1,037 species are native to the United States.
Appendix III: Includes species for which a range country has asked other Parties to help in controlling international trade. Examples include map turtles, walruses and Cape stag beetles. Currently 266 species are listed. The United States currently has 22 animal species and 1 plant species listed in Appendix III. Many of these animal species are freshwater turtles, which were listed in 2006.