Conservation status tells us how a particular species is faring in the wild. Various organizations keep track of animals' status. The Saint Louis Zoo follows the status system developed by IUCN, the World Conservation Union.*

An animal species may be listed as one of the following:

Extinct in the wild:survives only in captivity
Critically endangered:faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild
Endangered:faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild
Threatened:faces a high risk of extinction in the wild
Near threatened:likely to qualify as threatened in the near future
Common:widespread and abundant
Unknown:need more data to be able to evaluate, or still needs to be evaluated

When you look for information about a particular species on the Saint Louis Zoo web site, you'll find that animal's IUCN conservation status at the top of the page.

Sometimes a species is Not listed by IUCN. However, just because an animal isn't listed by IUCN doesn't mean it has no conservation story to tell. IUCN is not the only organization that keeps track of an animal's conservation status. For example, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) maintains its own list of animals that are endangered or threatened, as do various states.

If an animal species isn't listed by IUCN but is listed by the USFWS and has an important conservation story to tell, we will tell that story.

*For the sake of clarity, the Saint Louis Zoo has changed the name of some of IUCN's status categories. We use the term Threatened instead of the IUCN term Vulnerable, Common instead of the IUCN term Least Concern, and Unknown instead of the IUCN terms Data Deficient or Not Evaluated.