Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (8): 23045.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023045

• Technology and Methodology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Exploring the evaluation method for the update of the List of State Key Protected Wild Animals in China

Jianguo Zhu1,*(), Lin Wang2, Guopeng Ren3   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201
    2. Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
    3. College of Agriculture and Biological Science, Dali University, Dali, Yunnan 670003
  • Received:2023-02-12 Accepted:2023-05-16 Online:2023-08-20 Published:2023-08-16
  • Contact: *E-mail:


Background: As per the regulations stipulate in the Wildlife Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China, the competent department of the State Council responsible for wildlife protection is mandated to conduct regular scientific evaluations of the List of State Key Protected Wild Animals every five years. The scientific evaluation results, even timely results to the intense needs of specific wildlife protection, should submit to the State Council for promulgation and implementation. The process of updating the list serves as a vital component of China’s comprehensive approach to the wildlife conservation, and allowing for the adaptation to changing circumstances and emerging conservation requirements. It is necessary to establish a set of rational and efficient evaluation methods.
Aim: The objective of this study is to develop and implement efficient and accurate methods for the selection of species to be included or excluded in the list adjustment process.
Methods: By utilizing open data on terrestrial vertebrates list in China and consulting established lists compiled and published by specialized corresponding organizations or institutions (e.g., Global and National Red List, CITES, CMS), six key criteria and eight indicators were carefully selected and assigned weights to construct the adjusted List of State Key Protected Wild Animals. To illustrate the methodology, a case study was conducted to evaluate the suitability of certain species in the list.
Results: The resultant case list obtained through this methodology consists of a total of 922 species, with 204 species categorized as Class I and 718 species as Class II, as potential state key protected wild animals. It is noteworthy that a remarkable level of concordance was observed between the Case List and the latest 2021 List of State Key Protected Wild Animals in China, with 92.0% of the species listed in the former coinciding with those present in the latter, demonstrating a significant degree of consistency between the two lists. By eliminating 8.0% of the species from the 2021 List and incorporating 7.6% of additional species into the case list, noteworthy increases have been observed in the protection ratio of threatened species listed on China’s Red List and IUCN Global Red List, as well as the endemic species of China (6.5%, 5.2% and 5.6%, respectively). Furthermore, adjustments have also been proposed for the protection classification of certain species, particularly those with transboundary distribution, in the Case List. The results are consistent with the principles of identifying and prioritizing endangered, significant, and representative species for conservation purposes.
Perspective: The approach relies on gathering essential data from publicly accessible big data sources, initiates a shift from qualitative assessment to quantitative assessment as the initial stage. The obtained outcomes can form the basis for the expert panel’s qualitative assessment as the second step, thereby enhancing the objectivity and accuracy of the evaluation results and ensuring a balanced representation of diverse animal groups. Notably, the method is characterized by its user-friendly nature and efficient measurement process. Consequently, it can be readily utilized as a reference for other biological groups.

Key words: List of State Key Protected Wild Animals in China, list adjustment, selection method, terrestrial vertebrates