Carrying out Red List assessments is a big task and requires input from a large number of species experts. Key players in the assessment process therefore are not only the organisations tasked with the day-to-day running of the project, but experts based in academic institutions, non-governmental organisations, National Parks authorities and relevant government departments. In some cases, amateur enthusiasts and – in the case of exploited species – fisheries managers and collectors can be a vital source of information.
For example, in the National Red List assessment of South African mammals, the six-day CAMP workshop was attended by 33 participants, but in addition to this, data had been submitted by another 27 contributors. The total of 35 organisations represented in the process comprised South African National Parks, various Provincial Parks Authorities, research organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGO), national and provincial museums, academic institutions, private organisations and governmental departments.
Red List training workshop in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, November 2010
In places with a good NGO presence for certain taxonomic groups or the presence of established national biological record centres, these become key players in the assessment process. In Switzerland, for example, which published its first National Red List in 1977, the national Red List process in 2010 covered a number of different species groups (see our library) for links to the Swiss National Red Lists), the assessment of each of which was coordinated by different coordination offices (e.g., BirdLife Switzerland/Swiss Ornithological Institute were in charge of bird assessments and the Swiss Biological Records Centre contributed to mammal, fish and invertebrate assessments).
In other cases, species experts may be located outside the country – but the data and information they hold may be an important source for the assessment process. For example, in Venezuela, an extensive directory of experts was developed in order to identify anyone able to provide information on a particular species or taxonomic group. As a result, over 2,000 questionnaires were distributed among 130 experts both in Venezuela and abroad, requesting unpublished observations and bibliographic references on 367 taxa.