What is Red Data Book?

The Red Data Book is a catalogue that records all rare and endangered species of plants, animals, and fungi existing within the boundary of the state or territory and is accessible to the public. It specifically contains details of flora and fauna which are prone to extinction. 

The Red Data Book also provides important information for monitoring programs on the various habitats of all rare and endangered species. It is also referred to as the Red List. 

The Red List consists of eight categories of species: 

  1. Extinct
  2. Extinct in the world
  3. Endangered
  4. Critically endangered
  5. Vulnerable
  6. Lower risk
  7. Not evaluated
  8. Data deficient.

It is maintained by an organization called The International Union and Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) which was founded and established in the year of 1965. 

The IUCN headquarters is located in Switzerland and it is now known as the World Conservation Union (WCU). The main aim of the IUCN is to conserve nature and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

Red Data Book
IUCN Mammal Red Data Book Cover Image (Source)

A brief history of the Red Data Book 

The first Red Data Book was published which covered all the details about endangered animals, plants, and fungi based on the extensive research carried out by Russian biologists between the years 1961 and 1964. This document covered the details of organisms found within the Russian territorial jurisdiction. 

It was specifically known as the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (RDBRF). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, regulations on endangered species were instituted by each of the former Soviet countries. 

However, many of them had insufficient expertise and resources to maintain their lists and enforce common regulations therefore, a common ecological treaty was made with mutual recognition of endangered species. 

The details recorded in the Book are sectioned according to different colour codes. This particular code of colours depends on the level of endangerment that a species has been found in. The specific meanings of the 

Color-coding of the information is as follows. 

  • Critically endangered species – RED
  • Extinct species – BLACK
  • Vulnerable species – AMBER
  • Rare species – WHITE
  • Endangered species – ORANGE
  • Out of Danger species – GREEN
  • Endangered, vulnerable, or rare species lacking sufficient information – GRAY

How is the Red Data Book useful to us?

The important information in the Book proves to be useful in gathering comprehensive data for research, studies, and monitoring initiatives involving rare and endangered animals and their ecosystems.

It is extremely useful in developing effective procedures that could aid in the protection of a variety of endangered species and thus prevent the ecosystem from collapsing. The purpose of this book is to identify and protect species that are on the verge of extinction.

The given below list summarizes all the advantages of having this book:

Advantages of the Red Data Book

  • Evaluation of the taxa all over the world.
  • Estimation of the total population of a particular species of flora or fauna.
  • Used to find out the conservation status of any species and thus check their chances of being endangered, at any given time period.
  • Beneficial in devising a plan to conserve endangered species of animals or plants and prevent their extinction.

There are certain disadvantages of the Red Data Book too. Let’s have a look at them:

Disadvantages of the Red Data Book

  • Maintenance of the information is sometimes not up to date which can make the data unreliable at times.
  • This Book is a work in progress. So far, the majority of the endangered and extinct species have been documented in it, but there are still some species yet to be identified and registered in this Book.

Conservation practices of the Red Data Book

The reasons for biological conservation are grouped into three categories:

  • Narrowly Utilitarian: The narrowly utilitarian argument calls for biodiversity conservation as humans derive many benefits from nature. So as a measure to preserve the ecosystem and food chain this was introduced.
  • Broadly Utilitarian: The broadly utilitarian arguments employ the role that biodiversity plays in our ecosystem. Conserving the planet and all its inhabitants is essential for our own survival. Before putting a human value on nature’s free resources, we need to save the ecosystem through aggressive methodologies. 
  • Ethical: The ethical argument calls for the consideration of millions of animals, plants, and microorganisms that inhabit the planet with human beings.  


What is the Red data list?

The Red Data List is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi, and plant species.

When was the first Red Data Book published?

The first Red Data Book was published in the year of 1979. Nature Conservation Committee of the Estonian Academy of Sciences issued the first national Red Data Book, published in four copies and intended for official use only.

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