Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species Current Affairs - 2020

Asian Elephant, Great Indian Bustard and Bengal Florican classified as “Endangered Migratory Species” at CMS COP13

On February 20, 2020, Asian Elephant, Indian Bustard and Bengal Florican were declared as “Endangered Migratory Species” at the CMS COP 13. The proposal was accepted by 130 countries.

Asian Elephant

India declared Indian Elephant as “National Heritage Animal”. This provides highest degree of legal protection to the animal under Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The Asian elephants are called Indian Elephants in the country. The threats to the Indian Elephants include habitat loss, human elephant conflict, habitat fragmentation, illegal trade and poaching.

Bengal Florican

The population of the species has declined greatly due to habitat loss. The Bengal Florican does not breed outside the protected areas today. It is listed as the critically endangered species under the IUCN list and is of the topmost conservation priority.

Great Indian Bustard

The Great Indian Bustard is also listed under critically endangered species in IUCN Red List. In order to protect the species, the Indian Government has declared their habitats as conservation reserves. According to the Wildlife Institute of India, there are only 150 Great Indian Bustards left in the country.

Animal Culture linked to its Conservation at CMS COP 13 for the first time

The Convention on the Conservation on Migratory birds Conference of Parties (CMS COP 13) is being held in Gandhinagar. Proposals were presented to conserve Sperm Whales and Chimpanzees based on their culture. This is the first time such proposal is being made in the world.

Highlights

It was presented at the conference that some of the animals such as elephants, dolphins and whales acquire some of their knowledge through social learning. They learn most of their behaviors from adults, especially the migrating routes.

Findings

The report presented at the conference says that when a species gets vanished from an area, its critical knowledge will also be lost. For instance, as a result of commercial whaling in the coast of New Zealand, the whales lost their knowledge of migration route and stopped calving in the region. This was during 1800. Recently, in 2000, after 200 years, they have started calving in the region again.

This proves that genetic mixing among the species might help in recolonizing their forgotten destinations. Therefore, it is essential to protect their cultural knowledge for their survival.

In case of Chimpanzees, their nut cracking methodologies are passed on to their next generations.