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RSTV: IN DEPTH- ENDANGERED SPECIES

RSTV: IN DEPTH- ENDANGERED SPECIES

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Introduction:

Three endangered species from India – the Great Indian Bustard, the Asiatic elephant and the Bengal Florican – will be included in a special global list for protection under the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species.
It will be done at the 13th conference of parties that will be held from February 15th-22nd at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The theme of COP13 is ‘Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home’ and its mascot is the Great Indian Bustard. These birds are dying at the rate of 15 per cent annually due to collision with high-voltage power lines. In the last 30 years, their population has reduced drastically by nearly 75 percent. Their inclusion in the list of species for protection under the CMS will enable range countries to protect and conserve these migratory birds. Besides, seven other species have also been proposed by different countries to be included in the global protection list. Which are these species of birds and animals that will be included in the global list of protection and what is the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.

CMS:

  • As an environmental treaty of the United Nations, CMS provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. CMS brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.

As the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes, CMS…Read more »

  • As an environmental treaty of the United Nations, CMS provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats.
  • CMS brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.
  • As the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes, CMS complements and co-operates with a number of other international organizations, NGOs and partners in the media as well as in the corporate sector.
  • Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention. CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them. Besides establishing obligations for each State joining the Convention, CMS promotes concerted action among the Range States of many of these species.
  • Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention. For this reason, the Convention encourages the Range States to conclude global or regional agreements.
  • In this respect, CMS acts as a framework Convention. The agreements may range from legally binding treaties (called Agreements) to less formal instruments, such as Memoranda of Understanding, and can be adapted to the requirements of particular regions. The development of models tailored according to the conservation needs throughout the migratory range is a unique capacity to CMS.

What are migratory species? Why protect them?

  • Migratory species are those animals that move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc.
  • The movement between habitats, can sometimes exceed thousands of miles/kilometres for some migratory birds and mammals. A migratory route can involve nesting and also requires the availability of habitats before and after each migration.

COP:

  • The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the principal decision making body of the Convention as set out in Article VII of the CMS text.
  • It meets once every three years and sets the budget and priorities of the following three years (the triennium).
  • It also decides on the amendment of the Appendices and considers reports submitted by the Parties, the Scientific Council and the Agreements established under the Convention. It also has the task of recommending to Parties whether they should conclude further regional Agreements for the conservation of particular species or groups of species.

COP 13:

  • The Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) together with the associated meetings of the Standing Committee will be held in Gandhinagar from 15 to 22 February 2020.
  • Theme: “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home

Man Biggest Enemy of Wildlife:

Living planet report:

  • It is published every 2 years by WWF.
  • It is based on the ‘Living Planet Index’ and ‘Ecological footprint calculations’.
  • The ‘Living Planet Index’ is an indicator of the state of global biological diversity managed by Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and WWF.
  • Ecological footprint is the biologically productive area needed to provide for everything used by people: fruits and vegetables, fish, wood, fibres, absorption of CO2 from fossil fuels use, and space for buildings and roads. It is currently developed by Global Footprint Network (an independent think-tank). The GHG footprint and carbon footprint are a component of Ecological Footprint.
  • Humanity’s Ecological Footprint for 2014 was 1.7 planet Earth’s. This meant that humanity’s demands were 1.7 times faster than what the Earth’s ecosystems renewed.
  • It is a science-based analysis on the health of Earth and the impact of human activity.
  • The 2018 report has found a decline of 60% in population sizes of vertebrate species from 1970 to 2014. The tropics of South and Central America had an 89% loss compared to 1970.
  • Issues like Ocean acidification, loss of corals, increasing Carbon in the atmosphere, species disappearance due to habitat loss and degradation, etc are highlighted in the 2018 report.
  • Increasing use of plastics that ultimately reaches the oceans and seas via rivers is also a cause for deaths of marine organisms.
  • The latest report calls for new goals post-2020 alongside Convention on Biological Diversity, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 :

  • The act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants and matters connected with them, with a view to ensure the ecological and environmental security of India.
  • It provides for prohibition on use of animal traps except under certain circumstances
  • It provides for protection of hunting rights of the Scheduled Tribes in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Has provisions for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  • It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection
    • Species listed in Schedule I and part II of Schedule II get absolute protection — offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties
    • Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower
    • Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted
    • The plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting
  • The act constitutes a National Board for Wildlife that
    • provides guidelines for framing policies and advising Central and State Government on promotion of wildlife conservation and controlling poaching and illegal trade of wildlife and its products;
    • Making recommendations for setting up and managing national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas; and
    • Suggesting measures for improvement of wildlife conservation.
  • It also sets up National Tiger Conservation Authority.
  • The acts sets up various provisions related to trade and penalties for hunting the animals in wild.
  • Five kinds of protected areas can be notified in the Act. These are:
    • Sanctuaries: The State or Central Government may by notification declare its intention to constitute any area as a sanctuary for protecting wildlife and the environment. The government determines the nature and extent of rights of persons in or over the land within the sanctuary.
    • National Parks:
      • The State or Central Government may declare an area, whether inside a sanctuary or not, as a national park for the purpose of protecting and developing wildlife and its environment.
      • The State Government cannot alter the boundaries of a national park except on the recommendation of the National Board for Wildlife.
    • No grazing is allowed inside a national park.
    • All provisions applicable to a sanctuary are also applicable to a national park.
    • Conservation Reserves: The State Government after consultations with local communities can declare any area owned by the Government, particularly areas adjacent to national parks or sanctuaries, as conservation reserves. The government constitutes a Conservation Reserve Management Committee to manage and conserve the conservation reserve.
    • Community Reserves: The State Government can, in consultation with the community or an individual who have volunteered to conserve wildlife, declare any private or community land as community reserve. A Community Reserve Management Committee shall be constituted by State Government for conserving and managing the reserve.
    • Tiger Reserve: These areas were reserved for protection tiger in the country. The State Government on the recommendation of the Tiger Conservation Authority may notify an area as a tiger reserve, for which it has to prepare a Tiger Conservation Plan.

National Wildlife Action Plan:

  • The NWAP 2017-31, under which there are 250 projects, is India’s road map to conserve wildlife for the next 15 years. The plan is woven around the agenda of the United Nations’ 15th Sustainable Developmental Goal — “Life on Land”.
  • The key strategic changes in the new plan is adopting a “landscape approach” in conservation of all the wildlife — uncultivated flora (plants) and undomesticated fauna (animals) — rather than the areas where they occur.
  • This means that while till now programmes and plans related to wildlife were focused on and around national parks and sanctuaries, now the strategies would be based on the landscape of the region that may not be limited to a reserve forest system alone.
  • The plan has been divided into five components, which are further divided into 17 themes carrying 103 conservation actions. Each theme has a set of conservation actions and projects — 250, in all.
  • Man-animal conflict mitigation, adapting to the climate change, managing eco-tourism, ensuring public participation in the conservation, developing human resources, strengthening research and monitoring through modern technology like radio collars and drones and ensuring funds for the wildlife sector have been given special thrust in the planning.
  • The plan adopts a “landscape approach” in conservation of all wildlife – uncultivated flora and fauna – that have an ecological value to the ecosystem and to mankind irrespective of where they occur. It gives special emphasis to recovery of threatened species of wildlife while conserving their habitats.
  • The government has also underlined an increased role of private sector in wildlife conservation. The plan lays down that the Centre would ensure that adequate and sustained funding including Corporate Social Responsibility funds are made available for the National Wildlife Action Plan implementation.

The factors responsible for the extinction of flora and fauna across the world are as follows

  • Overexploitation of species: either for human consumption, use, elaboration of by-products, or for sport. Poaching has been a major threat which is going on unabated.
  • Habitat Loss:
    • Habitat destruction: People directly destroy habitat include filling in wetlands, dredging rivers, mowing fields, and cutting down trees. Commercial activities like mining, quarrying has destroyed many eco-sensitive zones. Example: Iron ore mining in the Western Ghats of India.
    • Habitat fragmentation: Much of the remaining terrestrial wildlife habitat has been cut up into fragments by roads and development. Aquatic species’ habitats have been fragmented by dams and water diversions. These fragments of habitat may not be large or connected enough to support species that need a large territory where they can find mates and food. Also, the loss and fragmentation of habitats makes it difficult for migratory species to find places to rest and feed along their migration routes.
    • Habitat degradation: Pollution, invasive species, and disruption of ecosystem processes (such as changing the intensity of fires in an ecosystem) are some of the ways habitats can become so degraded they can no longer support native wildlife.
  • Climate Change:
    • As climate change alters temperature and weather patterns, it also impacts plant and animal life. Scientists expect that the number and range of species, which define biodiversity, will decline greatly as temperatures continue to rise.
    • The burning of fossil fuels for energy and animal agriculture are two of the biggest contributors to global warming, along with deforestation.
    • As people increase their level of income, they consume more meat and dairy products. The populations of industrial countries consume twice as much meat as those in developing countries. Worldwide meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased 20 percent in just the last ten years.
  • The spread of non-native species around the world: a single species (us) taking over a significant percentage of the world’s physical space and production; and, human actions increasingly directing evolution.
    • Reduced Diversity: Biological homogenization qualifies as a global environmental catastrophe. The Earth has never witnessed such a broad and complete reorganization of species distribution, in which animals and plants (and other organisms for that matter) have been translocated on a global scale around the planet.
    • Humans are directing evolution in numerous other ways as well, manipulating genomes by artificial selection and molecular techniques, and indirectly by managing ecosystems and populations to conserve them.
  • Other:
    • In countries around the world, policies have been enacted that have led to extinction or near extinction of specific species, such large predators in the US and Europe.
    • Chemical products associated with agriculture or other productive processes have affected many species such as honeybees and other pollinators.