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Namibia wants ivory trade clause in deal for sending cheetahs to India

  • Published
    4th Mar, 2022
Context

Namibia wants India’s support for lifting a United Nations ban on commercial trade of wildlife products, including ivory, for translocation of cheetahs.

About

Namibia’s demand:

  • Namibia and a few other countries want CITES to lift the ban on certain wildlife products so that they can sell stockpiles of ivory and other wildlife parts internationally. 
    • Trade of wildlife body parts is banned under the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
    • Agreeing to such a condition will not be possible as India’s domestic laws prohibit any trade of wildlife body parts.

Re-introducing Cheetah in India:

  • The project to translocate cheetahs from Africa to India is a long-term one being implemented by the environment ministry with the help of the Wildlife Institute of India.
  • The Supreme Court appointed an expert panel, which approved Kuno Palpur as the possible location for cheetah relocation.
  • In the past six months, the Madhya Pradesh forest department has relocated villagers from Kuno and has prepared an enclosure with round-the-clock surveillance for reintroduction of cheetahs. 

What is reintroduction and why reintroduce Cheetah now?

  • Reintroduction’ of a species means releasing it in an area where it is capable of surviving.
  • Reintroductions of large carnivores have increasingly been recognised as a strategy to conserve threatened species and restore ecosystem functions.
  • The cheetah is the only large carnivore that has been extirpated, mainly by over-hunting in India in historical times.
  • India now has the economic ability to consider restoring its lost natural heritage for ethical as well as ecological reasons.

About Cheetah:

  • The cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era.
  • The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal.
  • It is listed as vulnerable in IUCN red listed species.
  • The country’s last spotted feline died in Chhattisgarh in 1947. Later, the cheetah — which is the fastest land animal — was declared extinct in India in 1952.
  • The Asiatic cheetah is classified as a “critically endangered” species by the IUCN Red List, and is believed to survive only in Iran.
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