The Palearctic Realm

The Palearctic Realm, as here defined, is divided into three zoogeographic regions (Eurasian, Saharo-Arabian, and Sino-Himalayan) that together comprise all the Old World terrestrial areas as far south as northern Africa, the Middle East, the mountains of Central Asia, and into southern China and the islands of Japan.



The Eurasian Region
The Sino-Himalayan Region
The Saharo-Arabian Region


Palearctic species and subspecies

The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest cat species and, with its striped fur pattern, the most instantly recognizable. A number of subspecies once ranged collectively across much of Asia from the Black Sea in the west to the Indian Ocean in the south, and from the Russian Far East to Indonesia. Over the past century they have lost at least 93 per cent of their historic range and have been extirpated from Western and Central Asia, the islands of Java and Bali, and from large areas of south-eastern, southern, and eastern Asia due to habitat destruction and hunting (both for trophies as well as use in ‘traditional medicine’).

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) has a wide but scattered distribution in the high mountains of Central and South Asia, with core areas including the Altai, Tian Shan, Kun Lun, Pamir, and Karakorum ranges. The species has declined everywhere owing to persistent illegal hunting for its beautiful and valuable fur and for its bones, which are used in ‘traditional medicine’. The leopard (P. pardus) has, as a species, the largest distribution of all wild cats, occurring widely if patchily across most of Africa as well as eastern and southern Asia. Nevertheless, a number of subspecies have been largely or wholly wiped out.

Prehistoric fossil remains of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) have been discovered at various localities in Europe as far north as the Ural Mountains and in Germany and France, although in historic times the species has been limited to Asia, where it remains widespread, if patchily distributed, in a variety of forest types. Habitat loss combined with hunting for skins, paws and, increasingly, for gall bladders used in ‘traditional medicine’ have all contributed to declines, and several subspecies are considered threatened. The Indochinese black bear (U. t. mupinensis) is still found over a wide area of the Himalayas and Indochina. The Ussuri black bear (U. t. ussuricus) lives in southern Siberia, northeastern China, and on the Korean Peninsula.

The grey wolf or timber wolf (Canis lupus) was, historically, the world’s most widely distributed animal species, being found across much of the Old and New Worlds. While the nominate form, the Eurasian grey wolf (C. l. lupus), is not considered threatened, a few other generally recognized subspecies do have limited distributions and will be discussed below. Another, the Ezo grey wolf (C. l. hattai), once ranged across Hokkaido, Sakhalin, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and the Kuril Islands, but appears to have gone extinct sometime during the late nineteenth century.

The Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus) was historically found throughout much of central, eastern and southern Asia but has disappeared from most of these areas. Surviving populations are fragmented and continue to decline due to habitat destruction and depletion of their prey base. The Ussuri wild dog (C. a. alpinus) remains widespread on the Indian subcontinent and Indochina, but is most likely extirpated from China, Mongolia, and the Russian Far East.

The aurochs (Bos primigenius) was an impressive species of wild cattle that once inhabited the forests and grasslands of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. A large animal (modern bulls weighed around 700 kg), it was the ancestor of European domestic cattle and, it has been suggested, possibly of the European bison (Bison bonasus) as well. There were three subspecies. The North African aurochs (B. p. africanus) and the Indian aurochs (B. p. namadicus) were both extinct before about ad 1500 owing to the destruction of forests, competition from domestic animals, and hunting. The Eurasian aurochs (B. p. primigenius) survived somewhat longer. Historically it was found from the British Isles and Scandinavia in the north-west to the Mediterranean countries in the south and Siberia and Syria in the east; by the thirteenth century it was restricted to Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Moldova, Transylvania, and East Prussia. By 1409 only Poland and perhaps Russia seem to have possessed surviving populations. Efforts to preserve these magnificent animals were made in the former country, and a small herd persisted in the Jaktorów Forest near Warsaw until the beginning of the 1620s. In 1627 the last individual there, a female, died. Beginning in the 1920s, attempts were made to create look-alikes by means of selective breeding. More recently, a project to ‘breed back’ cattle that not only resemble aurochs but can fill their ecological role, through eventual reintroductions to the wild, have been explored.

The Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus) was originally found throughout the steppes and deserts of central Asia and the Middle East, but has been almost entirely eliminated everywhere due to competition with livestock and overhunting. Five subspecies survive in isolated pockets, which will be discussed below. The wild horse (E. ferus), which once ranged across the steppes and grasslands of Europe and Asia, had three subspecies that survived into modern times: the domesticated horse (E. f. caballus), the undomesticated Eurasian wild horse or tarpan (E. f. ferus), now extinct, and the still-extant Mongolian wild horse (E. f. przewalskii). The latter two will be discussed below. The term ‘wild horse’, incidentally, is also used colloquially in reference to free-roaming herds of feral horses such as the mustang in the United States and the brumby in Australia, but these are all untamed members of the domestic horse subspecies, and not to be confused with true wild horse subspecies.

The wild goat (Capra aegagrus) is the ancestor of the domestic goat (C. hircus). Nominally widespread in the high rocky and mountainous areas of Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East and Central Asia, it is everywhere rare and often absent in many parts of its former range. Threats include hunting (particularly for its majestic curved horns) and loss of habitat. The bezoar wild goat (C. a. aegagrus) is found sporadically in central Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey (Anatolia), and possibly extreme northern Iraq. It was extirpated from Syria and Lebanon in the early twentieth century.

The marbled polecat (Vormela peregusna) inhabits deserts, semi-deserts and steppe habitats from south-eastern Europe through central Asia to northern China and south to the Middle East. Although widespread, it has declined everywhere due primarily to loss of habitat.

The Japanese sea lion (Zalophus japonicus) was historically confined to the region of the Sea of Japan, more than 8000 km from the nearest colonies of its closest relative, the California sea lion (Z. californianus). It was known for certain from Kyushu, Shikoku, and on islands around Honshu. The last credible reports were from 1951, when 50 or 60 of these animals lived around Takeshima, a rocky islet in the open sea between Japan and Korea, but these soon disappeared after the island was occupied by soldiers. There have been no documented reports whatsoever since the late 1950s despite extensive search efforts. Individual sightings in 1974 and 1975 cannot be verified, nor can confusion with escaped California sea lions be ruled out.

The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) was historically found continuously on the coasts and islands of the Black Sea and along those of the Mediterranean to North Africa and the major islands of the North Atlantic. Hunting, pollution, and disturbances in the caves where it breeds led to a severe decline during the twentieth century. It has been extinct in the Black Sea since the 1990s (although a few may still survive in the Sea of Marmara), and today only a few small, isolated colonies exist in the Mediterranean itself, mainly in the Ionian and Aegean seas, the coast of mainland Greece, Cyprus, and western and southern Turkey. An unknown number may still survive as well on the Mediterranean coasts of eastern Morocco and perhaps Algeria. It was formerly to be found in North Atlantic waters as well from Morocco to Cabo Blanco, including the Canary Islands, Madeira Islands, and the Azores. Vagrants have been reported as far south as Senegal, the Gambia and the Cape Verde Islands, and as far north as Portugal and the Atlantic coast of France. Today, only two Atlantic subpopulations are known to exist: one at Cabo Blanco on the Mauritania/Western Sahara border, and the other in the Madeira Islands. The total population is thought to be under 500.

The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) remains extremely widespread in the lakes, rivers, and coastal waters of Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. Nevertheless, the species has disappeared from many areas due mainly to chemical pollution in the water which is then absorbed by fish. The otters, which prey chiefly on fish, rapidly build up a fatal dosage of poisonous compounds. The species has recovered in many areas where water quality has improved, but continues to be threatened in others.

The sable (Martes zibellina) is a type of mustelid that historically ranged throughout the forests of Eurasia. Long hunted for its highly valued fur, the species has been extirpated from Europe but can still be found from the Urals to northern Japan, and is not currently considered to be threatened.

The long-fingered mouse-eared bat (Myotis capaccinii) is widespread across the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, but highly dependent upon wetlands for hunting and caves for roosting. While loss of habitat is the main threat, the species is additionally collected in northern Africa for use in ‘traditional medicine’. Felten’s mouse-eared bat (M. punicus) is found from Morocco to western Libya, with isolated populations on Corsica and Sardinia. It is threatened in northwestern Africa by destruction of its cave roosts by fire and vandalism, and by overcollection for ‘traditional medicine’.

Mehely’s horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus mehelyi) is found discontinuously around the Mediterranean Sea from northwestern Africa and the Iberian Peninsula through the Balearic Islands, southern France, Sardinia, Sicily, the Balkan Peninsula, and Asia Minor. A cave-roosting species, it is vulnerable to disturbance and destruction of its large colonies.

Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) breeds on the Kamchatka Peninsula and in the coastal area around the Sea of Okhotsk, as well as on the lower reaches of the Amur River and on northern Sakhalin. The majority winter in the southern Kuril Islands and on Hokkaido. In 2012 the total population was estimated at between 4600 and 5100 and continues to decline due to habitat degradation, pollution, poisoning, and overfishing. Pallas’ fish-eagle (H. leucoryphus) has a peculiar, essentially land-locked distribution for a sea eagle, being found sporadically in wetland areas throughout central and southern Asia. The total population, estimated at less than 2500, is threatened by human persecution and loss of habitat.

The eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) has an extensive distribution, breeding in south-eastern Europe and through western and central Asia, from where many populations migrate in winter to north-eastern Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia. The total population is small, however, and sensitive to human influence. The steppe eagle (A. nipalensis) has a similarly large distribution, breeding across much of central Asia and migrating at other times over much of Africa and southern Asia. It has undergone particularly rapid declines in its European range and has been extirpated from many areas.

The greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga) is an extremely widespread if nevertheless rare Palearctic species that favours boreal forests near wetlands for breeding, at other times migrating as far south as North Africa and South East Asia. It is threatened mainly by hybridization with lesser spotted eagles (C. pomarina) and habitat destruction.

The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is a small species still found over a wide area of southern Eurasia, Africa, and south-western Asia, where it is divided into three subspecies. The nominate form (N. p. percnopterus) is found from southern Europe and northern Africa to north-western India, where it has suffered significant declines due to poisoning, habitat destruction and disturbance, and collisions with wind turbines.

The osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a large, fish-eating hawk with an unusual, nearly global distribution. The Palearctic osprey (P. h. haliatus) is still found over much of Europe, Africa, and Asia. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was threatened by egg collectors and hunting. Later, during the 1950s and 1960s, it underwent a precipitous decline due to the toxic effects of insecticides such as DDT on its reproduction. It recovered quickly in many countries after the banning of DDT in the early 1970s, and is no longer considered threatened.

The saker falcon (Falco cherrug) breeds from central Europe east to Manchuria, migrating from there to Ethiopia, the Arabian Peninsula, northern Pakistan, and western China. It has declined rapidly in recent years, particularly in central Asia, mainly due to habitat destruction and illegal capture for use in Arab falconry. The peregrine falcon (F. peregrinus) is notable for being the fastest bird in the world and, indeed, the fastest member of the animal kingdom. Like the osprey, it too is found nearly globally, but was at one time threatened by pesticide spraying. It is no longer considered threatened.

The great bustard (Otis tarda), one of Eurasia’s most spectacular birds, was originally a species of the steppes but has adapted somewhat to agricultural landscapes. Nevertheless, it has it has suffered serious declines owing to habitat fragmentation and hunting.

The Asian houbara bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii) is found in desert and steppe regions from east of the Sinai Peninsula to Mongolia. Ruthlessly hunted across its wide range, it was considered great sport in colonial India in particular. However, it was not until the introduction of modern firearms and jeeps that the major population declines really got underway. In 1971, for example, one hunting party alone killed 2000 of the birds in Pakistan. The species was very nearly driven to extinction in the Middle East and other areas, and although better protected now both legal hunting as well as poaching continues in the Arab world, where the meat is unfortunately considered to be an aphrodisiac.

The red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis) is divided into two separate populations. The first breeds in south-eastern Russia, north-eastern China, and Mongolia, and winters mainly in the Yellow River delta, coastal China, and in the Korean demilitarized zone. The second lives and breeds in eastern Hokkaido, Japan, and is non-migratory. The latter population is stable or slightly increasing, while the continental one is severely declining owing to loss and degradation of wetlands through conversion to agriculture and industrial development. The total world population is estimated at around 3000. The black-necked crane (G. nigricollis) is a medium-sized species that breeds among the alpine bog meadows of the Tibetan Plateau and remote parts of Ladakh, India, with some populations wintering in Bhutan. The total population, around 10,000, is threatened mainly by loss of habitat.

The white-naped crane (Antigone vipio) breeds in far south-eastern Russia, Mongolia, and northern China, from where it migrates to eastern China, the Korean Peninsula, and southern Japan. It has undergone a considerable decline due to loss of wetlands.

The oriental white stork (Ciconia boyciana) was once common in eastern Siberia, China, the Korean peninsula, and Japan, but declined to the point of extinction by the mid-twentieth century due to loss of habitat and heavy hunting. Today it breeds mainly in the Amur and Ussuri River drainages along the Russia/China border, with smaller numbers in the lower reaches of the Wuyuerhe River in Heilongjiangg province. The main wintering grounds are in the lower Yangtze drainage and in southern China as far south as Taiwan and Hong Kong. Small numbers are still found in the Koreas and Japan and irregularly in the Philippines, northeastern India, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. The total population is thought to be around 3000.

The northern bald ibis or waldrapp (Geronticus eremita) is a large, distinctive species that was historically widespread across the Middle East, northern Africa, and southern and central Europe. Fossil material has been found dating as far back as 1.8 million years, and the ancient Egyptians were sufficiently familiar with the bird to use it as a hieroglyph, so it must have been common in Egypt some thousands of years ago. Long persecuted by humans in their cliff-side breeding colonies, the species has also declined owing to a number of other factors including loss of habitat and pesticide poisoning. It disappeared from Europe over three centuries ago, and since the beginning of the twentieth century has been confined to disjunct populations that may ultimately be revealed to be distinct subspecies: a western one in North Africa, and an eastern one in the Middle East. In North Africa the species had colonies throughout the Atlas Mountains, from where it formerly migrated each year to Europe. It disappeared from Algeria in the 1980s, but still has a stronghold in southern Morocco, with three breeding subcolonies in Souss-Massa National Park and another major one at nearby Tamri, totalling around 500 in all. The eastern population bred in Syria, where it was described as still fairly common as recently as the 1980s. From there it migrated south through Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, wintered in central Ethiopia, then migrated back to Syria through Eritrea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Long believed to have died out; in 2002, however, a tiny colony consisting of just seven individuals was rediscovered at Palmyra. Unfortunately, as of 2015 it appears that these birds, too, have died out. A semi-wild population numbering around 100 still exists at Birecik, southern Turkey. The species has long been established in captivity, and limited reintroduction programmes have been attempted at sites in Austria, Spain, and Morocco.

The Asian crested ibis (Nipponia nippon) historically nested in the Russian Far East, Japan, and mainland China, and was a non-breeding visitor to the Korean peninsula and Taiwan. It is now extinct over virtually all of its former range. There is a fairly successful captive breeding programme in Asia, but the only known remaining wild populations are in central China (Shaanxi), along with a reintroduced one on Sado Island in Japan.

The Chinese egret (Egretta eulophotes) breeds on small islands off the coasts of far-eastern Russia, the Korean Peninsula, and mainland China, and winters among the shallow tidal estuaries, mudflats, and bays of South East Asia. The species was almost brought to extinction during the nineteenth century by plume hunters. Despite this the persecution continued, and by the 1960s there were only scattered reports of its existence, mainly on the coast of the Yellow Sea. In recent years numbers have stabilized at between 2600 and 3400, although since the mid-1980s all breeding records have been from small, uninhabited offshore islands.

Saunder’s gull (Saundersilarus saundersi) breeds mainly in eastern coastal China and sporadically at various sites on the south-western coast of South Korea, from where it migrates to eastern and southern China, Taiwan, western Japan, and Vietnam. It is threatened by the loss of tidal flats and salt marshes due to coastal development.

The black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor) is a type of wading bird that breeds only on islets off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula and north-eastern China, from where they winter in parts of southern China (Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong), Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The species has long been rare and declining due to habitat destruction and pollution, reaching an all-time population low in the 1990s, but has since recovered somewhat.

One of the most shameful examples of mindless extermination is that of the great auk (Pinguinus impennis). This flightless, penguin-like bird at one time occurred widely in massive breeding colonies on the islands of the North Atlantic as well as on the western European, north-western African and eastern North American coasts. First discovered in 1534, its persecution began almost immediately. Vast numbers were slaughtered by ship’s crews who drove them into stone pens where they were killed, or directly to their ships, where they were cooked to extract the fat bird’s oily substances. Many ships also used the birds as fuel under pots in which other auks were being cooked. Finally, the nestlings were used as bait in fishing and eggs were collected for food. When the species became rare, museums and private collections hurried to get their share of any remaining specimens and eggs. The last two birds were killed on Eldey Island off Iceland in 1844. Two sailors had found a nesting pair, and proceeded to strangle them before smashing the last egg with a boot.

The swan goose (Anser cygnoid) has its key breeding grounds in south-eastern Russia, Mongolia, and northernmost China, with virtually the entire population wintering in the Yangtze floodplain of east-central China. While uncommon in the wild state the species has been domesticated, with introduced and feral populations occurring in many areas outside its natural range.

The white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) breeds primarily in Russia and Kazakhstan as well as in smaller, more isolated areas of Spain, Algeria, Tunisia, and central Asia, from where it winters in the Middle East and south-central Asia. In the early twentieth century the total population likely exceeded 100,000, although this fell to an estimated 20,000 by 1996. The primary threat is competition and hybridization with introduced ruddy ducks (O. jamaicensis).

The velvet scoter (Melanitta fusca) is a type of duck that breeds in Scandinavia and western Siberia, from where it migrates to southern Europe and the Middle East. It has undergone considerable declines in recent decades, the reasons for which remain unclear.

The northern pochard (Aythya ferina) is a type of diving duck that still breeds across much of Eurasia, from where it winters in southern Asia and northern Africa. Another species, Baer’s pochard (A. baeri), breeds in south-eastern Russia and northern China, from where it winters in southern Asia. Both are threatened by habitat destruction, hunting, the overcollection of eggs, and other factors.

The scaly-sided merganser (Mergus squamatus) is a type of sea duck that inhabits a variety of habitats in extreme southeastern Russia, the Korean Peninsula, and north-eastern China, with most wintering in central and southern China. The species began to decline in the 1960s and 1970s due to deforestation, although in more recent decades illegal hunting has become the primary threat.

The marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) is a partially migrant species still found patchily across much of southern Europe, northern Africa, and western and central Asia, but has been significantly reduced due to loss of habitat and hunting.

The crested shelduck (Tadorna cristata) is known only from three museum specimens, one collected in Russia and the other two in South Korea. It was presumably familiar in Japan, as it was drawn by artists there during the nineteenth century. It was thought to be long extinct when a male and two females were sighted on islands south of Vladivostok in 1964. A further sighting of two males and four females was claimed in North Korea in 1971, although this seems unlikely. More recently there have been several unconfirmed reports from north-eastern China, leading to the theory that the species may breed in remote mountainous areas far inland, only travelling to the coasts at other times. In any case, if it still survives the total population must be quite small.

The horned grebe (Podiceps auritus) as a species is found over a wide area of the temperate Eurasia and North America. The Eurasian horned grebe (P. a. auritus) is everywhere declining due to the effects of human disturbance, loss of habitat due to deforestation around breeding lakes, and other factors.

The slender-billed curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) is only known to breed in a small area of south-central Russia, from where it winters in a few areas of northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Last recorded in 2004, it may possibly be extinct.

The sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) is a type of wading bird that breeds on the open grasslands of Russia and Kazakhstan, from where it migrates to certain key wintering sites in Israel, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, and north-western India. It has undergone a serious decline since the mid-nineteenth century from hunting pressure and other, as yet poorly understood reasons.

The European turtledove (Streptopelia turtur) breeds over a wide area of the south-western Palearctic region, from where it migrates to sub-Saharan Africa to winter. Unfortunately, it has everywhere undergone a serious decline owing to a number of factors, including loss of foraging and nesting sites, disease, and hunting along its migration routes. Four subspecies are recognized. The northern turtledove (S. t. turtur) occurs from Europe (including the Madeira and Canary Islands) to western Siberia.

The yellow-breasted bunting (Emberiza aureola) was, historically, one of the most abundant passerine birds in Eurasia, breeding from northern and eastern Europe through Siberia, Kazakhstan, northern China and Mongolia to Far Eastern Russia, Korea, and northern Japan. During the autumn the birds would stop over in large numbers in the Yangtze Valley before continuing on to their wintering grounds in South and South East Asia. The species began to undergo a drastic decline during the early 1990s, most likely due to overcollection for food by mist net during migration, and has since disappeared from most or all of Finland, Belarus, Ukraine, and large areas of western Russia.

The large-billed reed warbler (Acrocephalus orinus), described as ‘the world’s least known bird’, was long known only from a single specimen collected in north-western India (Himachal Pradesh) in 1867. The species was rediscovered in Thailand in 2006, and has since also been found in northeastern Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Bangladesh. It appears to be a rare long-distance migrant that breeds within the Palearctic Realm and winters in southern Asia. The aquatic warbler (A. paludicola) has a highly fragmented breeding range in the mires and marshes of Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Lithuania, and western Russia, from where it migrates to western Europe and north-western Africa. The species suffered major declines in the second half of the nineteenth century due to habitat destruction, and further extirpations continue.

Pleske’s grasshopper-warbler (Locustella pleskei) is a rare species that breeds on small islands in Peter the Great Bay of far-eastern Russia, the Izu Islands, and islands off Kyushu, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and eastern China, from where it winters in southern China and Vietnam. It is threatened by habitat destruction.

Tristram’s white-bellied woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis richardsi) is a large and spectacular subspecies historically found across the Korean Peninsula and on the Japanese island of Tsushima. It was extirpated from the latter due to intensive hunting and collection by museums, and became rare in Korea owing to deforestation. Despite being legally protected since 1952 it disappeared from South Korea by 1978, and today fewer than 50 still survive in a few areas of montane forest in North Korea.

The spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) occurs in a wide area of southern Europe, North Africa, and southwestern Asia, in a varying number of subspecies. It is everywhere threatened by collection for use as pets.

Lataste’s viper (Vipera latastei) is found patchily in both the Iberian Peninsula and north-western Africa, in a wide range of habitats and altitudes.

Sticklebacks (Pungitius) are freshwater, brackish or marine fish related to seahorses. The Amur stickleback (P. sinensis) remains relatively widespread through eastern Asia, but has disappeared from many areas due to pollution and the construction of flood control and dams, which can change the velocity of rivers and render them unsuitable for the species. The short-spined ninespine stickleback (P. tymensis) is confined to Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, and Hokkaido (Japan), where it is threatened by loss of habitat and invasive species.


Anthropogenic effects on the flora and fauna

In recent historical time (i.e. since ad 1500), the Palearctic Realm as a whole has lost at least 47 species/25 subspecies of vertebrates. Among the extinct forms 6 species/13 subspecies are mammals, 6 species/5 subspecies are birds, 1 species/4 subspecies are reptiles, 1 species is an amphibian, and 30 species/2 subspecies are freshwater fishes. Another 37 species/4 subspecies are possibly extinct.

In addition, there are 1327 species/206 subspecies currently threatened with extinction (that is to say, either Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List, as well as certain forms either listed as Data Deficient or Not Assessed but which are clearly at some risk of extinction). Of these, 221 species/122 subspecies are mammals, 111 species/22 subspecies are birds, 191 species/45 subspecies are reptiles, 229 species/11 subspecies are amphibians, and 575 species/6 subspecies are freshwater fishes.