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IUCN Red List Status

These summary statistics and analyses are based on the European mammals dataset published in May 2007.

The status of terrestrial mammals was assessed at two regional levels: geographical Europe, and the EU 25 (the 25 nation states that were members of the European Union when the mammal assessment was initiated in 2005). Marine species were assessed at one regional level, so the European and EU 25 Red List status is the same for any given species. At the European regional level, 14.2% of terrestrial mammals are threatened, with 1.5% Critically Endangered, 3.4% Endangered, and 9.3% Vulnerable. A further 3.4% were classed as Data Deficient. Within the EU 25, the pattern is similar, with 14.4% of terrestrial mammals threatened, although a higher proportion of species are Critically Endangered (2.4%). A higher proportion of marine species were assessed as threatened: 22.2% in total, evenly split between the threatened categories with 7.4% Critically Endangered, 7.4% Endangered and 7.4% Vulnerable. The true proportion of threatened species may be even higher, as a large proportion of marine mammals (44.4%) were assessed as Data Deficient.

Red List status of terrestrial mammals at the European level
Red List status of terrestrial mammals
at the European level. Click to enlarge Red List status of terrestrial mammals at the EU 25 level
Red List status of terrestrial mammals
at the EU 25 level. Click to enlarge
Red List status of marine mammals
Red List status of marine mammals.
Click to enlarge

Overall, considering both terrestrial and marine species at the European regional level, 15.2% of species are threatened. A further 9.1 % considered Near Threatened, and 1.3% are already regionally or globally Extinct.

A further 51 species were classed as Not Applicable (22 were introduced after AD 1500, 27 are of marginal occurrence in the European region, and two are feral descendants of ancient domesticated animals).

Table 1: Summary of numbers of species within each category of threat.
IUCN Red List categories No. species (Europe terrestrial) No. species (EU 25 terrestrial) No. species (marine) No. species (Europe terrestrial and marine)
  Extinct (EX) 2 2 0 2
Extinct in the Wild (EW) 0 0 0 0
Regionally Extinct (RE) 0 0 1 1
Critically Endangered (CR) 3 4 2 5
Endangered (EN) 7 5 2 9
Vulnerable (VU) 19 15 2 21
  Near Threatened (NT) 20 19 1 21
Least Concern (LC) 146 113 7 153
Data Deficient (DD) 7 9 12 19
Total number of species assessed * 204 167 27 231
Total number of extant species* 202 165 26 228

*Excluding species that are considered Not Applicable

Documenting population trends is a key to assessing species status, and a special effort was made to determine which species are declining, stable, or increasing. More than a quarter (27%) of European mammals are declining in population. A further 32% are stable, and only 8% are increasing. A number of these increases are due to successful species-based conservation action. Because trend information is not available for 33% of species, however, the percentage of species in decline may actually be considerably higher.


Two European terrestrial mammal species (1.0% of the total number assessed) are known to have gone extinct since AD 1500. These two species are the aurochs Bos primigenius and the Sardinian pika Prolagus sardus. The aurochs was Extinct in the Wild, except in Jaktorowka Forest, Masovia, Poland, by the start of the 15th century. The last wild individual is reputed to have died in 1627. The aurochs is the ancestor of domestic cattle. The Sardinian pika was a pika native to the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Corsica until its extinction, which probably occurred in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

One marine mammal, the grey whale Eschrichtius robustus, is Regionally Extinct. It formerly occurred in the North Atlantic and adjacent waters, but was extirpated by hunting. Sub-fossil remains, the most recent dated at around 1675, have been found on the eastern seaboard of North America from Florida to new Jersey, and on the coasts of the English Channel and the North and Baltic seas. There are historical accounts of living grey whales from Iceland in the early 1600s and possibly off New England in the early 1700s. The species now survives only in the North Pacific and adjacent waters.

Status by Taxonomic Group

Terrestrial mammals native to Europe belong to eight major groups, or taxonomic orders: Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates), Carnivora (carnivores), Cetacea (whales, dolphins and porpoises), Chiroptera (bats), Erinaceomorpha (hedgehogs and their relatives), Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares and pikas), Rodentia (rodents) and Soricomorpha (shrews and moles). Considerable differences exist among these groups in both species numbers as well as threatened status. Rodents, bats, and soricomorphs (shrews and moles) constitute the majority of European mammals. Carnivores, ungulates, bats and lagomorphs (rabbits and hares) are particularly threatened.

Red List Status (European Regional level) by Taxonomic Order

Table 1: Summary of numbers of species within each category of threat.
Order Total EX EW RE CR EN VU NT LC DD % Threatened Species
Artiodactyla 14 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 11 0 21.4%
Carnivora 27 0 0 0 2 1 3 1 20 0 22.2%
Cetacea 23 0 0 1 1 2 2 1 4 21 21.7%
Chiroptera 40 0 0 0 0 3 7 8 20 2 25.0%
Erinaceomorpha 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0%
Lagomorpha 8 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 4 0 37.5%
Rodentia 85 0 0 0 1 2 4 8 69 1 8.2%
Soricomorpha 30 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 21 4 10%
Total 231 2 0 1 5 9 21 21 153 19 16.5%