Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (5): 558-565.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020149

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Significance of country red lists of endangered species for biodiversity conservation

Zhigang Jiang1,2,*(),Jianping Jiang3,2,Yuezhao Wang3,2,E Zhang4,2,Yanyun Zhang5,Bo Cai3,2   

  1. 1 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3 Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041
    4 Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072
    5 College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875
  • Received:2020-04-13 Accepted:2020-05-20 Online:2020-05-20 Published:2020-06-12
  • Contact: Zhigang Jiang

Abstract:

Both the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species and country red lists of endangered species assess the risk of extinction of species, the former being a global assessment whereas the latter provides regional assessments. The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species alerts the world to the status of endangered species, and also serves as a database of global biodiversity. Country red lists, on the other hand, ascertain the status of species in particular countries, filling knowledge gaps in the former. The two lists are thus complementary to each other. However, insufficient attention has been paid to date to country red lists of endangered species. Country-level red lists should be given greater attention for at least the following reasons: (1) a sovereign country is the main authority for taking conservation action in regard to wildlife species within its boundaries based on the level of endangerment (conservation status) of the species; (2) for endemic species in a country, the country red list status constitutes its global status; (3) for species whose ranges cross national borders, the country’s red list status reflects the survival status of the species in the country; (4) combined with the IUCN global red list, the country red list provides a basis from which to consider the establishment of transnational protected areas, the protection of important habitats for migratory species, and the protection of international migration corridors; (5) the category of “Regional Extinction” is unique to country/regional red lists of endangered species, providing an indication of the danger of extinction of the species at the country level; and (6) country red lists of endangered species can provide updated information on the inventory, classification, distribution and status of species in the country. Yet, the importance of country red lists is often overlooked under many different circumstances. Following onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, however, people’s outlook in China has been changing in regard to the relationship between humans and wildlife. Consequently, China will be amending national laws on wildlife protection, epidemic prevention, and the List of State Key Protected Wild Animal Species, in order to better prevent and control emerging zoonoses. The status of wildlife species included in the country red list of endangered species should be one of the defining elements for identifying and updating species on the List of State Key Protected Wild Animal Species in China. Thus, it is critical to recognize the significance of the country red list of endangered species at this special moment in time.

Key words: IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, country/regional red lists of endangered species, List of State Key Protected Wild Animal Species