2 Updated Cetacean Red List Assessments Published in July 2019


Assessments or reassessments of 2 cetacean species, subspecies or populations were published on the IUCN Red List in July 2019. This is in addition to the 5 published in March 2019, 35 published in November 2018, 10 in July 2018, and 19  in November 2017. A total of 71 cetacean assessments have now been published in the last 2 years.

The updated assessments were of the Rough-toothed Dolphin (Steno bredanensis) and Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra) both of which assessed as Least Concern (LC) (see Table 1 for details). Work on updated and new assessments is continuing and we expect more to be published in December 2019.


Table 1. Summary of updated assessments and new assessments published in the 2019-2 (July) Red List update. (NT = Near Threatened, DD = Data Deficient, CR = Critically Endangered, EN = Endangered, LC = Least Concern).

# Species/Subspecies Common name Taxonomic level Category Status change
1 Steno bredanensis Rough-toothed Dolphin Species (global) LC  No change
2 Peponocephala electra Melon-headed Whale Species (global) LC No change


The Red List status and documentation for the 89 currently recognised cetacean species as well as 39 subspecies or subpopulations can be found on the IUCN Red List website (redlist.org). Of the 89 species, 29% are assigned to a threatened category (i.e., CR, EN, VU, NT) and 30% are considered DD although ongoing reassessments of Data Deficient species are likely to result in some of them being reclassified in the near future (see Table 2). It should also be emphasized that there is strong interest in completing additional assessments of subpopulations that are known or thought to be at higher risk than the species as a whole (e.g., Killer Whales, Belugas, Dusky Dolphins).


Table 2. Summary information on Red List status as of November 2018.

Category Species Subspecies/subpopulations Total
Critically Endangered 3 16 19
Endangered 10 11 21
Vulnerable 7 8 15
Near Threatened 6 0 6
Least Concern 36 0 36
Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent* 0 1 1
Data Deficient 27 3 30
Total 89 39 128


*This is no longer a recognized category and this assessment (for the Bowhead Whale, Bering-Chuckchi-Beaufort Seas subpopulation) is out of date.