IUCN, Red list - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   IUCN released an updated ____ list for classifying different species on 4th Dec, 2017.

a. Green
b. Red
c. Blue
d. Yellow
Answer  Explanation 


The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Dec 4, 2017 released an updated red list classifying the different species.

According to their website,the IUCN Red List Categories are intended to be an easily and widely understood system for classifying species at high risk of global extinction.

The categories are:

  • EXTINCT - the last individual in the species has died.
  • EXTINCT IN THE WILD - it now lives only in captivity and not in its natural habitat.
  • CRITICALLY ENDANGERED - facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • ENDANGERED - facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • VULNERABLE - facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • NEAR THREATENED - likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future.
  • LEAST CONCERN - it is widespread and abundant in the wild.
  • DATA DEFICIENT - inadequate information.
  • NOT EVALUATED - not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

2)   What is the Kashmiri red stag also known as?

a. Kanguli
b. Hanguli
c. Hangul
d. Kangul
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Hangul

The magnificent Kashmiri Red Stag or Hangul could finally get some protection with IUCN all set to declare it a critically endangered species.

  • Known for its giant antlers bearing 11 to 16 points, Hangul has been hunted over the centuries and its habitat destroyed, leading to its population in the wild plunging to a mere 150
  • IUCN is the biggest international body assessing threat levels to flora and fauna
  • Merging with two other species red deers from China’s Tarim Mountains has not worked for aiding conservation efforts
  • Critically endangered status of the Hangul will most likely to be completed by December 2016
  • It is listed under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and the J&K Wildlife (Protection) Act 1978 and has been listed among the top 15 species of high conservation priority by the Government of India
  • As per the Bombay Natural History Society, Kashmir’s Hangul population numbered 3,000 to 5,000 around the year 1900
  • A 2015 census carried out by Kashmir’s forest department indicated it could be the lowest at 110-130 in Dachigam.

3)   BSI announced that the highest species of endemic flowering plants are found in which southern India State?

a. Kerala
b. Karnataka
c. Tamil Nadu
d. Andhra Pradesh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Tamil Nadu

Botanical Survey of India in the last week of Sept 2016 announced almost 1 in 4 flowering plant species in India are endemic to the country.

  • Tamil Nadu has the highest number of species with 410
  • Tamil Nadu is followed by Kerala with 357 and Maharashtra at 278
  • According to scientific data in the currently released book, “Endemic Vascular Plants of India” of the 18259 flowering plants reported in the nation, 4003 are found only in India
  • Regarding the geographical distribution of endemic plants, the Western Ghats tops the list with close to 2116 species followed by Eastern Himalayas with 466 species
  • Close to 37 species of the black plum Syzygium or jamun are found along with 10 varieties of Musa or banana and 274 species of orchids found only in India
  • Four different varieties of roses, 2 herbs and 2 climbers as well as 12 species of jasmine are found endemic to India
  • When it comes to species, 45 species of the common black pepper family, 19 species of ginger and 13 species of cardamom were endemic to India
  • 40 species of bamboo were also endemic to India
  • Some endemic species were restricted only to certain parts of the country like the Nepenthes khasiana found in Khasi hills of Meghalaya
  • Close to 58 genera of flowering plants were found endemic to India
  • Publication also reveals that of 19365 vascular plants found in India, 4381 are endemic including 4303 angiosperms or flowering plants, 12 gymnosperms and 66 ferns and allied plants under the category of Pteridophytes
  • Red sandal wood is found only in Southern parts of Eastern Ghats and is among the most widely exploited endemic plants in India
  • This plant is identified as critically endangered under IUCN category

4)   Which Indian ecologist and conservation activist was on 4th September 2016 the first Asian to be awarded the prestigious Heritage Heroes Award by International Union for Conservation of Nature?

a. Bibhuti Singh
b. Bibhuti Padam
c. Bibhuti Lashkar
d. Bibhuti Lahkar
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bibhuti Lahkar

Indian ecological and conservation activist Bibhuti Lahkar on 4th September 2016 became the first Asian to be awarded the prestigious Heritage Heroes Award by IUCN.

  • Lahkar received the award at IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu Hawaii
  • Indian ecologist was among 5 conservationists across the globe to be nominated for 2016 heritage heroes award
  • This award is aimed at recognising outstanding efforts around the globe in making a difference to the conservation of World heritage sites in challenging situations
  • Lahkar did his research on the grasslands of Manas National Park in the context of the species called Pygmy hog
  • His research work covered Manas National park and Kaziranga National Park in Assam
  • He also conducted the first GIS survey of the Royal Manas National park
  • Research findings are a critical component in Manas Tiger Conservation Plan

5)   Largest living primate found in Congo is now officially declared as critically endangered by IUCN. What is its name?

a. Western Gorilla
b. Bornean Orangutan
c. Sumatran Oranguntan
d. Eastern Gorilla
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Eastern Gorilla

The largest living primate Eastern Gorilla found in the Congo mountains is now officially critically endangered according to a fresh update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
IUCN World Conservation Congress made the announcement regarding the same in Hawaii.

  • Eastern Gorillas have suffered a devastating population decline of more than 70 percent in 2 years with the population estimated to be lower than 5000
  • Four of the six great apes- Eastern Gorilla, Western Gorilla, Bornean Orangutang, Sumatran Orangutang are now listed as Critically Endangered
  • Two remaining-Chimpanzee and Bonobo are under considerable threat of extinction and are listed as Endangered.
  • Latest IUCN Red List also reports the decline of the Plains Zebra due to illegal hunting and growing extinction threat to Hawaiian plants used by invasive species.
  • 38 of the 415 endemic Hawaiian plants assessed for this update as listed as Extinct and four other species have been listed as Extinct in the Wild meaning they only occur in cultivation
  • The IUCN Red List now includes 82,954 species of which 23,928 are threatened with extinction.
  • Eastern Gorilla (Gorilla Beringe) is now made up of 2 subspecies. One of the subspecies Grauer’s Gorilla has lost 77 percent of its population since 1994 declining from 16,800 to just 3,800 in 2015.
  • Mountain Gorilla another subspecies is around 880
  • The Plains Zebra has moved from Least Concern to Near Threatened. Population has been reduced by 24 percent in past 14 years from 660,000 to 500,000.
  • 3 species of antelope found in Africa - Bay Duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis), White-bellied Duiker (Cephalophus leucogaster) and Yellow-backed Duiker (Cephalophus silvicultor) - have moved from Least Concern to Near Threatened.
  • However, the good news is that the Giant Panda and the Tibetan Antelope are now listed as Vulnerable and Near Threatened respectively from Endangered status.
  • Other conservation successes include the Greater Stick-nest Rat (Leporillus conditor) and the Bridled Nailtail Wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata).

6)   New orchid discovered in recent times named after the devil’s head in its heart is called __________.

a. Telipogen diabolicus
b. Felipogen diabolicus
c. Nelipohen diabolicus
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Telipogen diabolicus

A colourful orchid species which has a devil’s head in its heart and therefore called Telipogen diabolical was discovered.

  • It was discovered by Marta Kolanowska and Dariusz Szlachetko, both affiliated with the University of Gdansk, Poland, together with Ramiro Medina Trejo of Colombia,
  • The new orchid grows a stem measuring between 5.5-9 cm in height.
  • The orchid is assigned as a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN Red List.

7)   IUCN has categorised which animal as critically endangered in the Borneo region?

a. Bornean orangutan
b. Bornean chimp
c. Bornean ape
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bornean orangutan

IUCN findings indicate that habitat loss, degradation and illegal hunting have reduced the population of the Bornean orang-utan by 80 percent between 1973 and 2025.

  • This qualifies the orangutan for listing as Critically Endangered.
  • The whale shark, the largest fish has also been placed on the list.
  • Bornean orangutan is related to the genus of Sumatran orangutan.

8)   How many animal and plant species have been categorised as endangered by the IUCN?

a. 34
b. 35
c. 36
d. 37
Answer  Explanation 


Close to 36 animal and plant species in Gujarat have been categorised as endangered by the IUCN, according to the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

  • 20 species of animals and 16 of plants are endangered in the state
  • Animal species include the following : Black Mahseer, Golden Mahaseer, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Indian White-backed Vulture, Long-billed Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Greater Adjutant-Stork, Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican, Sociable Lapwing, Spotted Greenshank, Forest Spotted Owlet, Dhole, Caracal, Blue Whale, Fin Whale and Indian Wild Ass.
  • Number of endangered fauna species in India has risen from 648 in 2013 to 665 in 2015
  • The number of endangered mammals had risen from 95 to 98, birds from 80 to 88, reptiles from 52 to 53, amphibians from 74 to 75, fishes from 213 to 216 and molluses from six to seven in the last two years.

9)   Polar bear populations will fall by more than __ percent by mid century as the Arctic sea ice is being thawed by global warming.

a. 15
b. 20
c. 30
d. 35
Answer  Explanation 


An IUCN report has estimated that between 22,000 and 31,000 polar bears in Arctic are increasingly vulnerable to extinction as their habitat shrinks. Polar bear population will lower by more than 30% by mid century following the thawing of Arctic sea ice due to global warming. Climate change will threaten polar bear survival in the future as well. This study was based on updated counts and new projections of sea ice following a 2008 review.