Ten Updated Baleen Whale Red List Assessments Published in July 2018


Assessments or reassessments of 10 cetacean species, subspecies or populations were published on the IUCN Red List in July 2018. This is in addition to the 19 new assessments that were published in November 2017. The updated assessments were all baleen whales, and included the North Atlantic Right Whale, North Pacific Right Whale, Southern Right Whale, Bowhead Whale, Bryde’s Whale, and Antarctic Minke Whale (see Table 1 for details). The Chile-Peru subpopulation of Southern Right Whales and the NE Pacific subpopulation of North Pacific Right Whales both remain Critically Endangered. The North Atlantic and North Pacific Right Whale species are both Endangered, as is the Okhotsk Sea subpopulation of Bowhead Whales, and the East Greenland-Svalbard-Barents Sea subpopulation of Bowhead Whales, which was previously classified as Critically Endangered, was downlisted to Endangered. Two species moved out of the Data Deficient category: the Antarctic Minke Whale moved to Near Threatened and Bryde’s Whale to Least Concern. Work on new assessments is continuing and it is expected that another 41 taxa will be published on the November 2018 Red List update.


Table 1. Summary of reassessments or new assessments published in the 2018-1 (July) Red List update. (NT = Near Threatened; DD = Data Deficient. CR = Critically Endangered, EN = Endangered, LC = Least Concern)

Species Common name Taxonomic level Category Status change
1 Balaena mysticetus Bowhead Whale Species (global) LC No change
2 Balaena mysticetus Bowhead Whale East Greenland-Svalbard-Barents Sea subpopulation EN Downlisted from CR to EN
3 Balaena mysticetus Bowhead Whale Okhotsk Sea subpopulation EN No change
4 Balaenoptera bonaerensis Antarctic Minke Whale Species (global) NT DD to NT
5 Balaenoptera edeni Bryde’s whale Species (global) LC DD to LC
6 Eubalaena australis Southern Right Whale Species (global) LC No change
7 Eubalaena australis Southern Right Whale Chile-Peru subpopulation CR No change
8 Eubalaena japonica North Pacific Right Whale Species (global) EN No change
9 Eubalaena japonica North Pacific Right Whale NE Pacific subpopulation CR No change
10 Eubalaena glacialis North Atlantic Right Whale Species (global) EN No change

All 89 cetacean species and an additional 38 subspecies or subpopulations have been assessed and their status and documentation can be found on the IUCN Red List website (redlist.org). Of the 89 species, 24% are assigned to a threatened category (i.e., CR, EN, VU, NT) and nearly 50% are considered DD although ongoing Red List assessment updates of Data Deficient species is likely to see most of these reclassified in the near future (see Table 2).


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

Category Species Subspecies/


Critically Endangered 3 16 19
Endangered 10 10 20
Vulnerable 6 7 13
Near Threatened 2 0 2
Least Concern 26 0 26
Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent* 0 1 1
Data Deficient 42 4 46
Total 89 38 127

*This category is no longer recognized; therefore this assessment is out of date.