2017 IUCN Red List Assessment Update for Chameleons!

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Hi Everyone,

I've previously posted two thread about major updates to the chameleons included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/iucn-red-list-assessments-for-chameleons-updated.136412/ and https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/2015-iucn-red-list-assessment-update-for-chameleons.145102/). At those times, 184 of the 200 (92%) and then 193 of the 202 (95.5%) of the recognized chameleon species had been assessed. I wanted to post an update to let everyone know that 202 (98.1%) of the 206 recognized chameleon species have now had their assessments completed by the IUCN/SSC Chameleon Specialist Group (CSG) and their assessments have been published in the latest updated to the IUCN Red List.

This latest update added and/or updated assessments for a number of Bradypodion species that had been previously assessed, but never listed in the online database. Based on these updates, I wanted to also update some of the trends I outlined in the previous threads regarding the conservation status of chameleons:

- At least 37% of chameleons are threatened! Of the 206 currently recognized species of chameleon, 77 are assessed as threatened (i.e., Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable) and an additional 36 are assessed as Near Threatened. When accounting for species assessed as Data Deficient (DD - 10) or that have not yet been assessed by the IUCN Red List (NE - 4), this means that 37-44% of the family (39% of species for which sufficient data are available) are Threatened, and 55-62% of the family (approximately 58%) are Threatened or Near Threatened. This is compared to reptiles in general, where 19% are threatened and 26% Threatened or Near Threatened.
- Eleven (11) species of chameleon are considered Critically Endangered (CR)! The Red List Category of CR is one step removed from Extinct in the Wild (EW) and then Extinct (EX). These species are considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild, and are in immediate need of conservation action. The chameleon species assessed as CR are: Brookesia bonsi, Brookesia desperata, Calumma hafahafa, Calumma tarzan, Furcifer belalandaensis, Kinyongia mulyai, Rhampholeon acuminatus, Rhampholeon bruessoworum, Rhampholeon chapmanorum, Rhampholeon hattinghi and Rhampholeon tilburyi.
- There are 40 species of chameleon that have been assessed as Endangered (EN). Species assessed as EN are considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. The chameleon species assessed as EN are: Archaius tigris, Bradypodion caeruleogula, Bradypodion caffer, Bradypodion taeniabronchum, Brookesia bekolosy, Brookesia decaryi, Brookesia dentata, Brookesia exarmata, Brookesia karchei, Brookesia lineata, Brookesia minima, Brookesia perarmata, Brookesia peyrierasi, Brookesia ramanantsoai, Brookesia tristis, Brookesia valerieae, Calumma andringitraense, Calumma furcifer, Calumma gallus, Calumma glawi, Calumma globifer, Calumma hilleniusi, Calumma vencesi, Calumma vohibola, Furcifer balteatus, Furcifer minor, Furcifer nicosiai, Kinyongia magomberae, Kinyongia matschiei, Kinyongia multituberculata, Kinyongia tenuis, Kinyongia vosseleri, Nadzikambia mlanjensis, Rhampholeon platyceps, Rhampholeon spinosus, Rhampholeon temporalis, Rhampholeon viridis, Trioceros laterispinis, Trioceros perreti and Trioceros pfefferi.
- Almost 2/3 (63%) of Rhampholeon spp. are threatened! Of the 19 currently recognized species of Rhampholeon, 12 are threatened (i.e., Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable), including five (5) of the eleven (11) chameleon species listed as CR.
- Ten (10) chameleon species have been assessed as Data Deficient (DD). Species assessed as DD lack sufficient information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of their risk of extinction based on their distribution and/or population status. As a result, the conservation status of these species is still unknown. The chameleon species assessed as DD are: Brookesia lambertoni, Calumma fallax, Calumma vatosoa, Chamaeleo necasi, Furcifer tuzetae, Kinyongia gyrolepis, Trioceros kinetensis, Trioceros ntunte, Trioceros schoutedeni, and Trioceros wiedersheimi.
- IUCN Red List assessments of 4 chameleon species are currently listed as Not Evaluated (NE). IUCN Red List assessments for 202 out of 206 currently recognized chameleon species are currently published on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website, leaving four remaining unpublished. These four species are the most recently described chameleon taxa. Three of these four species were only described this week (Kinyongia itombwensis, K. rugegensis and K. tolleyae), with the fourth having been described in 2015 (Kinyongia msuyae).

The specific criteria by which each species was assessed to their respective Red List Category is provided in the individual assessments under the “Assessment Information” section and is outlined in the IUCN Categories & Criteria (version 3.1). There is also quite a bit of information on the distribution and conservation status of each species in their respective assessments. I definitely encourage people to look over them and educate themselves about the conservation status of these animals!

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