Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (5): 552-567.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015311

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Evaluating the status of China’s mammals and analyzing their causes of endangerment through the red list assessment

Zhigang Jiang1,2,3,*(), Lili Li1, Zhenhua Luo1,, Songhua Tang1, Chunwang Li1,3, Huijian Hu4, Yong Ma1, Yi Wu5, Yingxiang Wang6, Kaiya Zhou7, Shaoying Liu8, Zuojian Feng1, Lei Cai9, Chunxin Zang10, Yan Zeng1,2, Zhibin Meng1,2, Xiaoge Ping1, Hongxia Fang1   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 Endangered Species Scientific Commission, People’s Republic of China, Beijing 100101
    3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    4 Guangdong Institute of Applied Biological Resources, Guangzhou 510260
    5 School of Life Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006
    6 Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223
    7 School of Life Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210046
    8 Sichuan Academy of Forestry, Chengdu 610081
    9 Department of Nature and Ecological Conservation, Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing 100035
    10 Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
  • Received:2015-11-12 Accepted:2016-02-03 Online:2016-05-20 Published:2018-08-09
  • Contact: Jiang Zhigang,Luo Zhenhua


Based on current population estimates, habitat status, rates of population decline, and projected population trends, we assessed the status of all known 673 mammals in China using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (Version 3.1), Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria and Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels (Version 4.0). We evaluated 71 mammal species that were not evaluated by the IUCN Red List (2015) and 60 species that were not considered by the IUCN Red List (2015) to be distributed in China. We discovered that 178 species of mammals were threatened in China, accounting for 26.4% of all mammal species in the country, which was higher than the worldwide average percentage of threatened species (21.8%). Three species were identified as “Extinct in the Wild” while another three species were classified as “Regionally Extinct”. Roughly a quarter of endemic mammal species are threatened in China. The three orders with the highest ratios of threatened to unthreatened species are Primates, Carnivora and Cetartiodactyla. Most of the provinces in the country have rate of threatened species between 20-30%. Most mammals are distributed on the second ring of the geographic ladder of the country, though few mammal species live at high altitudes but more species of them are threatened. Over-exploitation by humans, habitat loss and human interference are the three leading threats to mammals in China. Since the implementation of the Wild Animal Protection Law of People’s Republic of China in 1989, the status of some mammals, including the giant panda and Tibetan antelope, have been improved. Nevertheless, considering the uniqueness and diversity of mammalian fauna, and the complexity of the topography in China, how to rescue threatened species in the country is still a difficult task in front of us.

Key words: mammals, extinct, threatened, threat, IUCN endangered species, red list