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  Why are some species missing from the IUCN Red List?

The number of species on earth is incredibly large - possibly up to 50 million. This means that many species, including amphibians, haven’t even been discovered or described yet and have therefore not yet been included in the IUCN Red List. Species that are already known to science might not be found in the Red List because assessing species and their conservation status requires a great amount of scientific work and money and with limited budgets, not all species can be assessed.

As it is not possible to evaluate all known species, the IUCN and the Species Survival Commission (SSC) are working to cover key taxonomic groups: The Biodiversity Assessment Initiative aims to provide an effective method for gathering scientific data available for biodiversity conservation.

The first taxonomic group to be completely assessed under the Initiative was amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians). The results of the Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA), released in 2004, were alarming: one in three amphibian species face extinction.

While updates to the amphibian database have been incremental, there has not been a major comprehensive amphibian assessment since 2004. Since 2004 the database has been slowly but continually updated to include newly-described or revalidated species and new information. The assessment of amphibians is ongoing and relies on the expertise of hundreds of herpetologists from all around the world. However, as it is a continuous ‘work in progress’ some amphibian species might not be included in the Red List at a given moment in time. For further information on the assessment process see the Amphibian Assessment Forum.

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