Conservation status of plants and animals: Nature

The Critically Endangered Haast tokoeka
Image: Barry Harcourt | DOC

Introduction

A species' conservation status is a forecast based on observed trends and likely pressures.

Highlights

Conservation status.
Relationship of NZTCS categories

Panels of experts from New Zealand’s scientific community determine conservation statuses using the following assessments:

  • What’s the current population size? This can be the number of breeding adults or the area of occupied habitat.
  • How much is the population estimated to rise or fall over either the next three generations or 10 years (whichever is longer)?
  • If the population is stable, has it declined in the past?
  • Is the population state a result of human-induced effects?

Learn more about classification criteria in the New Zealand Threat Classification System manual.

Threatened

Threatened species have the greatest risk of extinction.

  • Nationally Critical: most severely threatened, facing an immediate high risk of extinction.
  • Nationally Endangered: facing high risk of extinction in the short term.
  • Nationally Vulnerable: facing a risk of extinction in the medium term.

At Risk

At Risk species aren’t considered Threatened, but they could quickly become so if declines continue, or if a new threat arises.

  • Declining: population declining but still common.
  • Recovering: small population but increasing after previously declining.
  • Relict: small population stabilised after declining.
  • Naturally Uncommon: naturally small population and therefore susceptible to harmful influences.

Partners

Are all ‘Threatened’ species protected?

No. In many countries, species listed as threatened automatically receive legislative protection from hunting, habitat destruction and other threats. In New Zealand, there’s no direct link between conservation status and legal protection.

Learn about the legal protection of species

What happens next?

Our work includes managing threats and protecting and monitoring species.

More information
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