CITES Current Affairs - 2020

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March 3: World Wildlife Day

The 2020 year was earlier announced as “BioDiversity Super Year”. Therefore, several events are being conducted based on biodiversity. It includes World Wildlife Day as well. This year the World Wildlife Day is being celebrated under the theme

Theme: Sustaining all Life on Earth

Highlights

The Day is being celebrated by several leading organizations of the world. It includes United Nations General Assembly, CITES and other regional and non-governmental organizations. On this day, they aim to build collaborative partnerships, organize conservation events and demand illegally sourced wildlife and products.

Significance of the theme

Sustaining all Life on Earth includes all plant species and wild animals as component of biodiversity. It also includes use of natural resources in support of the following Sustainable Development Goals

  • SDG 1-No Poverty
  • SDG 12-Ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns
  • SDG 14-Life Below Water
  • SDG 15-Life on Land

History

The resolution to mark world wild life day was passed at the 69th session of United Nations General Assembly that was held on 20th December, 2013.

Why March 3?

On March 3, 1973, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was adopted. The World Wildlife Day was proposed by Thailand.

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February 15: World Pangolin Day; GoI radio tagged Pangolins first time to learn their Ecology

Every year the third Saturday of February month is celebrated as World Pangolin Day. The ninth World Pangolin Day is being celebrated on February 15, 2020. The numbers of Pangolin is rapidly declining in Asia and Africa. This is mainly because Pangolin scales are rich in medicinal properties. Recently, China had found that Pangolin scales can be used to treat Corona Virus infections.

As Pangolins numbers are declining greatly, the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department has radio-tagged Indian Pangolins for the first time to learn their ecology.

Highlights

The World Pangolin Day is marked by several organizations all over the world including United Nations Environment Programme.

Significance

They are hunted for their medicinal benefits and culinary delicacy. In December 2019, Xinhua news agency (China) reported the seizure of more than 10 tonnes of Pangolin scales by the Chinese customs in the eastern Chinese city Wenzhou. This on one hand proves that there is still quite good population of Pangolins in the world and on the other hand provides the message that they are still endangered.

Scales of Pangolins

The pangolins use their scales to protect themselves from big carnivores such as tigers and lions. They curl into a ball when they are being attacked. These scales are now in huge demand in China as they are used in traditional medicines.

Protection

Pangolins are protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). In India they are protected under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. They are listed under Schedule I of the act. The IUCN Red List puts the Indian Pangolin under Endangered category.

India’s Measures

For the first time, the Madhya Pradesh Forest department radio-tagged Indian Pangolin in order to learn its ecology. It is a joint operation of the forest department and the NGO Wildlife Conservation Trust.

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