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Taxonomic scope

All terrestrial and marine mammal species native to Europe or naturalised before 1500 A.D. are included. Domesticated species are not eligible for classification according to IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, and were excluded from the assessment. Species introduced to Europe by man after 1500 A.D. were considered by the assessment, but were classed as Not Applicable. Similarly, species that are vagrant or of marginal occurrence in Europe were classed as Not Applicable.

The first priority of the European Mammal Assessment was to assess the status of all mammal species in Europe against the IUCN Red List Criteria. However, in some cases subspecies and subpopulations were also assessed. The assessment of subspecies and subpopulations was done on an ad hoc basis, but primarily when participating experts indicated that there was good reason to do so. It was beyond the scope of this project to comprehensively assess all subspecies of mammals in Europe, so some subspecies of conservation concern may have been omitted. Details of subspecies and subpopulation assessments can be found on the relevant species information sheet.

Data Collection

For every mammal species native to Europe or established before 1500 A.D., the following data were collected (see description of data for further information).

  • Species classification
  • Red List Category and Criteria
  • Population information
  • Habitat preferences
  • Major threats
  • Conservation measures
  • Species utilization
  • Other general information
  • Key literature references

The task of collecting the initial data was divided up geographically and taxonomically. For most terrestrial mammal species, data were initially compiled by Helen Temple, with the following exceptions: data on mammal species whose European range is restricted to Ukraine and the Russian Federation were compiled by Katerina Tsytsulina; bat data were compiled by the IUCN Chiroptera Specialist Group; and Large Carnivore data were compiled and reviewed by the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (LCIE). For marine mammals, preliminary data compilation for Cetaceans was carried out by Justin Cooke (great whales) and Tom Jefferson (small whales). Pinniped data were initially compiled by Tom Jefferson.

Data Review

For most terrestrial species the preliminary data was reviewed and draft Red List assessments were made at the European Mammal Assessment workshop, held on the 18-22 May 2006 in Illmitz, Austria. Completed assessments subsequently went through two rounds of review by a larger number of experts. Cetacean assessments were carried out at the GMA Cetacean Red Listing workshop held in La Jolla, California, on 22-26 January 2007. A small number of species were assessed by correspondence with appropriate experts. In all, more than 150 mammal experts from at least 40 different countries contributed to the assessment; a full listing of participants can be found in the acknowledgements.

Data Analysis and Report Preparation

Once the initial data collection for the assessment was completed, the coordinators began an analysis of the data. Some of the key findings are presented here on the website along with searchable datasheets providing detailed species-by-species information. A more detailed analysis can be found in the publication The Status and Distribution of European Mammals, which can be downloaded in PDF format here. This publication gives a comprehensive assessment of European mammals, including information on geographic patterns of diversity, levels and types of threat, overall trends, and conservation priorities.