The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho 2016.
South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.
Of the 343 species, subspecies and subpopulations recorded from the assessment region, six were Not Evaluated (considered vagrant) and five are Extinct, leaving 331 taxa that were assessed. Overall, 57 taxa are threatened (six Critically Endangered, 20 Endangered, 31 Vulnerable) and 35 are Near Threatened. Proportional to the number of taxa assessed, this yields 17% threatened and 10% Near Threatened. This compares to 19% of taxa being threatened and 32% being Near Threatened in the previous assessment (N = 295 taxa assessed). Encouragingly, the proportion of Data Deficient listings has been significantly reduced in this revision (from 18% to 7% in 2004 and 2016 respectively) due to a combination of better information and a change in risk tolerance. While it appears that there are fewer threatened species currently, most of these changes were non-genuine, involving new information, analysis or taxonomic revision. Of the genuine changes detected thus far (N = 29), 19 (66%) are uplistings (more threatened). Thus, while more work is required to determine the overall number of genuine changes so that the Red List Index can be applied, preliminary results indicate a net worsening conservation status for mammals. Similarly, a stakeholder workshop is required to translate the Red List statuses into conservation priorities, weighing extinction risk against the context of ecological, cultural, economic and logistical factors. Finally, being Least Concern does not mean of “no concern” and we developed a watch-list categorisation to flag species that do not currently meet the criteria but may do so in the near future. Continued conservation effort is needed to enhance the recovery of all species such that they comprise evolutionarily and ecologically functional populations.