Threatened Species Status - What These Terms Mean

The Threatened Species list for Tasmania consists of plants and animals listed under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 at the State level and/or listed under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 at the Commonwealth level.

Tasmanian Status

At the State level, threatened species may be placed in one of several categories which indicate their level of extinction risk. There are Guidelines for the listing of species under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. Categories or risk codes are listed in order of decreasing seriousness:

Extinct (x): Those species presumed extinct.

Endangered (e): Those species in danger of extinction because long term survival is unlikely while the factors causing them to be endangered continue operating.

Vulnerable (v): Those species likely to become endangered while the factors causing them to become vulnerable continue operating.

Rare (r): Those species with a small population in Tasmania that are at risk.


Commonwealth Status

At the Commonwealth level, threatened species may be placed in a number of categories which indicate their level of extinction risk. These were developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). At the Commonwealth level these species are listed in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Protection Act 1999. Categories or risk codes are listed in order of decreasing seriousness:

Extinct (EX): Where a species has not definitely been located in the wild for the past 50 years. A well known Tasmanian example is the thylacine. The last recorded, proven sighting was in 1936. Since then we have had many reported sightings, often dozens a year. However none of the thylacine sightings has been confirmed, so it is presumed extinct and under the IUCN category can be listed as officially extinct.

Extinct In The Wild (EW): This is when a species can not be found living in the wild despite exhaustive surveys, but is still known to exist in captivity.

Critically Endangered (CR): In this case a species is in extreme danger of becoming extinct in the immediate future. A species is placed in this category if:
  • it has undergone, is suspected to have undergone or is likely to undergo in the immediate future, a very severe reduction in numbers;
  • its geographic distribution is precarious for the survival of the species and is very restricted;
  • the estimated total number of mature individuals is very low and (a) evidence suggests that the number will continue to decline at a very high rate or (b) the number is likely to continue to decline and its geographic distribution is precarious for its survival;
  • the estimated total number of mature individuals is extremely low;
  • the probability of its extinction in the wild is at least 50% in the immediate future.
Endangered (EN): A species at very high risk of becoming extinct in the near future. A species is placed in this category if:
  • it has undergone, is suspected to have undergone or is likely to undergo in the immediate future, a severe reduction in numbers;
  • its geographic distribution is precarious for the survival of the species and is restricted;
  • the estimated total number of mature individuals is low and (a) evidence suggests that the number will continue to decline at a high rate or (b) the number is likely to continue to decline and its geographic distribution is precarious for its survival;
  • the estimated total number of mature individuals is very low;
  • the probability of its extinction in the wild is at least 20% in the immediate future.
Vulnerable (VU): A species is facing a high risk of extinction in the medium term future. A species is placed in this category if:
  • it has undergone, is suspected to have undergone or is likely to undergo in the immediate future, a substantial reduction in numbers;
  • its geographic distribution is precarious for the survival of the species and is limited;
  • the estimated total number of mature individuals is limited and (a) evidence suggests that the number will continue to decline at a substantial rate or (b) the number is likely to continue to decline and its geographic distribution is precarious for its survival;
  • the estimated total number of mature individuals is low;
  • the probability of its extinction in the wild is at least 10% in the immediate future.

Further Information

Contact

Threatened Species Section - Enquiries
GPO Box 44
HOBART TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 4340
Email: ThreatenedSpecies.Enquiries@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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