index of concepts
Singapore Red List
our threatened plants and animals
updated Dec 08
What is a Red List?

A Red List is a objective and scientific system for determining threat status of species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature developed an accurate system for use at the national and regional level. The international Red List is generated by the IUCN, but each country is also encouraged to develop their own list.

What is the Red List used for?

This scientifically evaluated list allows sophisticated biodiversity analyses, which will contribute to scientific discovery and to political policies related to conservation. Governments, the private sector, multilateral agencies responsible for natural resource use, and environmental treaties all need access to the latest information on biodiversity when making environment-related decisions. Information about species and ecosystems is essential for moving towards more sustainable use of our natural resources.

The overall aim of the Red List is to convey the urgency and scale of conservation problems to the public and policy makers, and to motivate the global community to try to reduce species extinctions.

Some questions that the Red List helps to answer:
  • How threatened is a particular species?
  • What are the threats to a species?
  • How many threatened species occur?
  • How many known extinctions have there been?

Some of the uses of the Red List include:

  • Draws attention to the magnitude and importance of threatened biodiversity.
  • Identifies and documents those species most in need of conservation action.
  • Provides an index of the decline of biodiversity.
  • Establishes a baseline from which to monitor the future status of species.
  • Provides information to help establish conservation priorities and guide conservation action
  • Helps influence national and international policy, and provides information to international agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

What do the categories on our Red List mean?

The categories used in the Singapore Red Data Book are based on those used by the International Union for Conservation of Nature for the international Red List.These categories, except for the first one, refer specifically to the national status in Singapore.

EX: Globally extinct - The species is extinct the world over, in the wild or cultivation.

NE: Presumed nationally extinct - The species is extinct in Singapore but still survives outside Singapore. A species is presumed nationally extinct if it has not been recorded within the last 30 years for plants, or 50 years for animals.

CR: Critically endangered - There are fewer than 50 mature individuals, OR more than 50 mature individuals but less than 250, with some evidence of decline or fragmentation.

EN: Endangered - There are fewer than 250 mature individuals, and no other evidence of decline or fragmentation.

VU: Vulnerable - There are fewer than 1,000 mature individuals but more than 250 and there may or may not be any other evidence of decline, small range size or fragmentation.

Why do we still commonly encounter some plants and animals on the Red List? Aren't they all supposed to be extinct?

A plant and animal on the Red List is not necessarily extinct. While some may still be common in a particular habitat or location, these habitats may be much smaller in extent than in the past or under threat of being lost to development. Thus the animals that depend on these habitats are under threat as well.

Why is a particular animal on our Red List when they are still very commonly sold and eaten in nearby countries?

In Singapore, we have lost many of the natural habitats that are still common in our neighbouring countries. Thus while some plants and animals found in such natural habitats may be common elsewhere, in Singapore, these are under threat of disappearing when their natural habitats are lost.

Why are some 'extinct' plants and animals suddenly found?

The label extinct depends on non-sighting. This can happen simply because people aren't looking or looking hard enough. Some plants and animals that are labelled extinct may be 're-discovered' through a more thorough search. This is why it is important to regularly visit our shores and natural places.

Which animals on wild facts are on our Red List?

Here's links to lists and factsheets of some of the plants and animals, currently only marine ones.

Some plants and animals on our Red List.

All our seagrasses.
Sentosa, Aug 04

The ancient Coastal horseshoe crab.
Pulau Sarimbun, May 05

The attractive Knobbly sea star.
Chek Jawa, Jun 05

Special sand dollars.
Sentosa, Apr 07

The amazing Giant clam.
Raffles Lighthouse, Aug 06

Our anemonefishes.
Kusu Island, Jun 04

Our seahorses.
Changi, May 05



  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
FREE photos of plants and animals on the Singapore red list. Make your own badge here.
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