The conservation status of a group of organisms (for instance, a species) indicates whether the group is extant (members of it are still alive) and how likely the group is to become extinct in the near future. Many factors are taken into account when assessing conservation status: not simply the number of individuals remaining, but the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, known threats.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the best-known worldwide conservation status listing and ranking system. Species are classified by the IUCN Red List into nine groups set through criteria such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation. Also included are species that have gone extinct since 500 AD. When discussing the IUCN Red List, the official term "threatened" is a grouping of three categories: Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Many countries require CITES permits when importing plants and animals listed on CITES.
An endangered species is a species of organisms facing a very high risk of extinction. The phrase is used vaguely in common parlance for any species fitting this description, but its use by conservation biologists typically refers to those designated Endangered in the IUCN Red List, where it is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations, following Critically Endangered. There are currently 3079 animals and 2655 plants classified as Endangered worldwide, compared with 1998 levels of 1102 and 1197, respectively. The amount, population trend, and conservation status of each species can be found in the Lists of organisms by population.
Many nations have laws offering protection to conservation reliant species: for example, forbidding hunting, restricting land development or creating preserves.