“Addition of 3 Endangered Indian Species to the Global Conservation List”

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    20th Feb, 2020

Context

  • India has proposed to include three species- the Indian elephant, the Great Indian Bustard and the Bengal Florican in the ‘Appendix I’ of the CMS Convention for ‘migratory species threatened with extinction’.

What is the CMS Convention?

  • The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) of Wild Animals (the Bonn Convention) aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.
  • It is an international treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale.
  • India became its member in the year 1983.
  • At present, 173 species from around the world have found protection under the Convention by being part of Appendix 1 of the CMS. 

Key-highlights:

  • India is all set to host the Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP13) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in Gandhinagar (February 15 to 22).
  • The theme of the conference is, "migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home”.
  • The session is all set to witness the inclusion of ten new species for protection under the CMS.
  • Among the ten species to be added, there are three Indian species, viz., Asian Elephant, Bengal Florican, and the Great Indian Bustard. 

About

About the species:

  • The Indian Elephant:
    • There are about 47 lakh elephants in the wild in the 13 range countries, with 60% of them in India.
    • The Indian elephant is struggling to survive in the continually shrinking, degraded and fragmented habitat and is frequently coming into conflict with people, apart from threats of poaching and illegal trade.
    • Since it is known to naturally migrate across international borders; it faces similar challenges in other range countries, and there is a need for concerted action to protect them.

 The Great Indian Bustard:

  • Great Indian bustard, (Ardeotis nigriceps), a large bird of the bustard family (Otididae), one of the heaviest flying birds in the world. 
  • The species is listed in:
    • Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972,
    • CMS Convention
    • Appendix I of CITES
    • Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List
  • Bengal Florican:
    • The Bengal Florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) is a large grassland bird that is Critically Endangered with extinction, due to rapid habitat loss and hunting.
    • Also known as Bengal bustard, it is a bustard species native to the Indian subcontinent, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Both the Great Indian Bustard and Bengal Florican have already been identified as critically endangered which face threats of hunting, and collision with power-lines during their migration to neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan and Nepal.

India & conservation of migratory species:

  • Migratory species move from one habitat at particular seasons for food, sunlight, weather and many other reasons.
  • A migratory route can involve nesting and also requires the availability of habitats before and after each migration.
  • India has also signed non-legally binding MOU with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016).
  • India provides temporary shelter to several migratory species including Amur Falcons, Bar-headed Geese, Black-necked cranes, Marine turtles, Dugongs, Humpbacked Whales. The Indian sub-continent is also part of a significant bird flyway network, i.e., the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, including 29 globally threatened species.

Significance

Significance of the move:

  • Inclusion of Asian elephant in the global list for international protection under UN’s CMS would give the species international conservation importance
  • Moreover, it would enable range countries to collaborate, to protect the species as they naturally migrate across international boundaries.
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