The Red list of threatened species, prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has listed 132 species of plants and animals as Critically Endangered, the most threatened category, from India.

Plants seemed to be the most threatened life form with 60 species being listed as Critically Endangered and 141 as Endangered.

The Critically Endangered list included 18 species of amphibians, 14 fishes and 10 mammals. There are also 15 bird species in the category. The agency listed 310 species as Endangered ones, including 69 fishes, 38 mammals and 32 amphibians. Two plant species were reported to be extinct in the wild, including the Euphorbia mayuranthanii of Kerala. A leaf frog species and six plants were recorded as extinct, according to the latest assessment.

Of the total 63,837 species globally assessed, the IUCN classified 3,947 as Critically Endangered, 81 as Extinct, 63 as Extinct in the Wild. In the lower risk categories, there were 5766 species in Endangered, 10,104 in Vulnerable and 4,467 in Near Threatened categories. Scientific data regarding 10,497 species was not available and hence classified as Data Deficient, the report said.

The threat level of as many as seven Indian bird species had increased in the last one year, say experts.

According to the latest figures, 15 species of Indian birds, including the great Indian bustard, Siberian crane and sociable lapwing are there in the list of Critically Endangered birds. In the lower risk categories, the agency included 14 bird species as Endangered and 51 as vulnerable ones.

Compared to the previous year, the conservation status of Baer's Pochard had been uplisted to the Critically Endangered from the Endangered and the Long-tailed Duck to Vulnerable from the Least Concerned, said P.O. Nameer, South Asian coordinator, in situ, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Species Survival Commission of the IUCN.

This year, Saker Falcon has been listed as Endangered against the previous year's rating of Vulnerable. The threat perspective faced by the River Lapwing resulted in its classification as the Near-Threatened from the earlier Least Concerned. River Tern, a wetland-dependent species found in Kerala among other places has been moved to the Near-Threatened category from the Least concern and Black-bellied Tern to the Endangered from the Near-threatened in the latest list, Dr. Nameer said.

Sinhoe's Storm-petrel, which was first sighted in India in Chavakad last year, has also been classified as the Near-Threatened. Last year, the species was classified as the Least concerned, he said.

Fishes of Kerala

Four fish species from Kerala, including the Pookode Lake Barb and Nilgiri Mystus, are included in the Critically Endangered fishes of India. The agency listed 39 species from Kerala as endangered, including the Periyar Latia, Nilgiri Danio, Cardamom Garra, Periyar Garra and Anamalai Sucker Catfish.

The Imperial White Collared Yellow Catfish, Santhampara Loach, Nilgiri Barb, Hump Backed Mahseer, Periyar Barb and Peninsular Hill Trout are among the endangered fish species of Kerala, according to C.P. Shaji, Principal Scientific Officer of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board.

The number of Critically Endangered species from Kerala has dropped to four from seven of last year whereas the endangered list had gone up to 39 from the 37 of the previous assessment, said Dr. Shaji.