Acronym for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a worldwide body of NGOs, scientists, government agencies and other organizations founded in 1948 and dedicated to preserving biodiversity. They are also the publishers of the Red List indicating the animal and plant species most likely to die out in the near future, i.e. endangered species. Their list is assigns species for which data is available one of 6 categories -- Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable (these last three are all referred to as threatened) and Lower Risk. The current list, available at, includes 5,428 threatened animal species and 5,611 threatened plant species. The IUCN is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland. Its work is divided between 6 commissions, the largest of which is the Species Survival Commission.

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