Vertebrate animals (eg mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians) and vascular plants are protected in South Australia under the threatened species schedules of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (NPW Act).
The criteria used to define threatened species in South Australia are generally based on categories and definitions from the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. The current categories and order of the schedules under the NPW Act are:
- Schedule 7: Endangered species (including critically endangered and extinct species)
- Schedule 8: Vulnerable species
- Schedule 9: Rare species*
*The Rare category is not recognised in the IUCN structure and criteria have been created for a Rare category to be utilised in South Australia. The Rare category criteria are consistent with current IUCN definitions for the 'Near threatened' category, and encompass species in decline and those that naturally have a limited presence.
Periodic reviews of the schedules are coordinated by the National Parks and Wildlife Council. The schedules were last reviewed in 2008.
The structure of each schedule is:
For each taxon listed in the schedules, details are provided on its class, family, genus, species (and in some cases sub-species), and common name.
The current schedules only assess populations in South Australia. They do not include non-vascular plants, fish, insects, butterflies, spiders, scorpions and other invertebrates, fungi and other life forms which do not have a current legal conservation status in South Australia.
South Australian freshwater and marine fish, some marine invertebrates and crustaceans are protected under the Fisheries Management Act 2007. Some of these species have been identified as threatened and recommended for listing under the NPW Act but currently do not have a legal conservation status. The Action Plan for South Australian Freshwater Fishes 2009 identifies five categories for different levels of extinction risk to freshwater fish:
- extinct in the wild (EX)
- critically endangered (CR)
- endangered (EN)
- vulnerable (VU)
- rare (RA).