Science and conservation for the world’s 2800 small mammal species

Red List

We have a challenge. A rather large one. Along with the other mammal IUCN SSC Specialist Groups, by 2015 the SMSG has pledged to conduct IUCN Red List assessments of all it’s species. These assessments involve gathering up to date taxonomic and ecological information for species, the threats they face and the conservation actions they require. Not too challenging for a handful of species – our problem of course is that there are around 2800 small mammals.

Considered the most authoritative and objective system for assessing the status of and threats to the world’s species, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species facilitates the expert-led assessment of species extinction risk based on the size and trends in species’ geographic range and population size. Based on these criteria, species are then placed into one of the following categories of extinction risk:

1. Least Concern
2. Near Threatened
3. Vulnerable
4. Endangered
5. Critically Endangered
6. Extinction in the Wild
7. Extinct.

If there isn’t enough ecological information to properly assess their extinction risk, then a species will be classified as Data Deficient. Our other big problem is that as a group the small mammals are poorly known, and we have around 450 species that are currently considered Data Deficient.

The SMSG is working with the Global Mammal Assessment Team at Sapienza University, Rome to deliver this huge project. Assessments will be drafted by our members and programme officer, and then submitted to the Global Mammal Forum for a consultation period which will be coordinated by SMSG’s ‘Red List Focal Point’, Dr Giovanni Amori. Following comments from relevant experts through the Forum, the assessments are will be then be reviewed by independent experts and ultimately published on the IUCN Red List website. Along with all the other Red List assessments of mammals, amphibians, fungi, plants and so on, they will form a number of global biodiversity indicators which allow progress towards global environmental and development goals to be tracked.

For more information please visit the Global Mammal Assessment website.