Defining a threatened species

Swainsona reticulata Kneed Swainsons-pea. Vulnerable.
Swainsona reticulata Kneed
Swainsons-pea. Vulnerable (VN).

The term 'threatened species' generally refers to those species or taxa which have been assessed against specific criteria to determine their status in terms of extinction risk. Assessments can be quite detailed and consider factors such as population or sub population size, the level and composition of population reduction, the extent and decline across a species geographic range, the fragmentation of populations and decline in the extent and suitability of habitat. 

Subject to findings of the assessment process a species may be assigned a particular level of threat; Extinct (EX), Extinct In The Wild (EW), Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), Vulnerable (VU), Near Threatened (NT), Least Concern (LC) or Data Deficient (DD). 

The term 'threatened species' is applied to those species which are considered either; Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, or Extinct in the Wild.


A common assessment method for threatened species

During 2015, Australian states and territories signed an Intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding - an Agreement on a common assessment method for listing of threatened species and threatened ecological communities. A common assessment method enables each jurisdiction to have a Single Operational List of threatened species and communities which is assessed using the same criteria across Australia.

Conservation Status Assessment Project – Victoria

In Victoria, the common assessment method has been undertaken by DELWP through the Conservation Status Assessment Project. In 2020, DELWP released a List of taxa including preliminary Victorian assessments.

In Victoria, the Single Operational List is called the FFG Threatened List. This list will comprise two parts:

  • National section of all the EPBC Listed species which occur in Victoria    
  • State section of species assessed as threatened in Victoria with no National status

The FFG Threatened List will consolidate three existing lists (EPBC List, FFG Listed species and three Victorian Advisory Lists (Invertebrates, Vertebrate fauna and Plants).

More information:

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act Threatened List


Victorian Threatened Species Advisory Lists

In June 2021, the following advisory lists were replaced by a single operational list called the FFG Threatened List in which all species have been assessed using a common assessment process consistent across Australia.

  • Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria
  • Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Plants in Victoria
  • Advisory List of Threatened Invertebrate Fauna in Victoria

Advisory List were non-legislative lists, developed and managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and were  intended to increase community awareness of threatened species and provide a resource for individuals, groups and organisations involved with biodiversity conservation.  


IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

 The IUCN Red List  provides information on plants and animals that are facing a higher risk of global extinction. The lists provides taxonomic, conservation status and distribution information on plants and animals that have been globally evaluated  using the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Criteria. 2001 IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria version 3.1. Note these documents are periodically revised therefore it is recommended to check the IUCN web site for any revisions.


Legislated Lists of Threatened Species

There are two primary lists of threatened species which are enshrined in legislation that relate to Victoria;

In both cases for a species to be included in the respective legislation it must have been nominated, assessed by the relevant Scientific Committee and approved by the relevant Minister.

Threatened species Action Statements are required under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Under the Act the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning must prepare an Action Statement for each listed species. Further information on the process of developing Action Statements and to search for completed statements visit the DELWP Action Statement page.

Overview of threatened species in Victoria

The following information is based on the Victorian threatened species advisory lists which were replaced by the FFG Threatened List in June 2021. More information on the FFG Threatened List.

The Victorian Advisory lists contained 2443 species, comprising 293 species of vertebrate fauna (62 mammals, 130 birds, 47 reptiles, 18 amphibians and 22 fishes). There are; 1826 vascular plants, 137 Bryophytes, and 9 species of fungi. Also a total of 178 species of invertebrates. These include threatened species as well as species which are considered; Extinct, Regionally Extinct, Near Threatened and Data Deficient.

Species are considered 'threatened' if they are assigned the status of; Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, or Extinct in the wild. In the case of flora the conservation status 'Rare' is also used.

Table of Victorian threatened fauna on advisory lists
(Note: this information has been replaced by the FFG Threatened List)
  Mammals Birds Reptiles Amphibians Fish
Extinct in wild 1 0 0 0 0
Critically endangered 5 12 14 8 11
Endangered 8 29 11 4 6
Vulnerable 10 48 10 3 3
Total 24 89 35 15 20

Table of Victorian flora on Victorian advisory list
  Vascular plants Bryophytes Fungi & Lichens
Endangered 270 10 3
Vulnerable 475 18 2
Rare 804 30 4
Poorly known 228 77 0
Total 1777 135 9

Table of Victorian flora and fauna listed under the FFG Act 1988 (as at February 2014)
  No. of FFG Act
Species listed



















Vascular Plants


Non Vascular Plants


Fungi & Lichens




Eastern Barred Bandicoot - now considered extinct in the wild
Eastern Barred Bandicoot - now considered Extinct in the Wild
Golden Sun Moth - Critically Endangered

Golden Sun Moth - Critically Endangered

In addition to the above species listings there are 39 Victorian flora & fauna communities listed under the Victorian FFG Act

Extinctions in Victoria

Extinct in Victoria

Regionally Extinct

Extinct in wild

Brush-tailed Bettong (eastern sub, sp.

Chirruping Wedgebill


Southern Bettong (mainland subspecies)

Night Parrot


Eastern Hare Wallaby

Small-scaled Snake


Lesser Stick-nest Rat

Bolam's Mouse


Long-eared Mouse

Bridled Nailtail Wallaby


Pig-footed Bandicoot

Desert Mouse


Short-nosed bandicoot (inland form)

Eastern Quoll


Western Barred Bandicoot (eastern subspecies)

Greater Stick-nest Rat


White-footed Rabbit Rat

Red-tailed Phascogale


49 species of Vascular Plants

Rufous Bettong


2 species of Bryophytes

Rufous-bellied Pademelon



Western Quoll



Agassiz's Chanda Perch



Freshwater Herring



Southern Purple-spotted Gudgeon


For the latest information please see FFG Threatened List

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