IUCN Current Affairs

Snow leopard no longer endangered: IUCN

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has downgraded conservation status of snow leopard from “endangered” to “vulnerable”. It was changed after three-year assessment process by international experts.

The change in status comes 45 years after snow leopard was first declared endangered in 1972. However, experts have warned that snow leopard species still faces serious threats from poaching and habitat destruction.

Key Facts

Endangered Species: According to IUCN, species are considered ‘endangered,’ if they are fewer than 2,500 and experiencing high rate of decline.

Vulnerable Species: Species are fewer than 10,000 and its population has declined at least 10% over three generations.

Snow leopard

Snow leopard (Panthera uncial) is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia- including Himalayas, and Russia’s remote Altai mountains. It inhabits in alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m. In the northern range countries, it is also found at lower elevations.

It is threatened by poaching for their fur, habitat destruction by infrastructure developments and climate change. It mostly feed on wild animals, but also prey on livestock. It usually hunts at dawn and dusk and is able to kill prey up to three times their own weight. It is National Heritage Animal of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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IUNC to declare Kashmir’s Red Stag as Critically Endangered

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is going to declare the Kashmiri Red Stag (also known as Hangul) as a Critically Endangered species.

The critically endangered status to the Kashmiri Red Stag will help it to get more protection and enhance the conservation efforts to increase its rapidly declining population.

About Kashmiri Red Stag

  • The Kashmir Stag or Hangul is a subspecies of elk native to India.
  • Earlier it was believed that it is a subspecies of red deer. But mitochondrial DNA genetic studies have revealed that it is part of the Asian clade of elk.
  • It is found in dense riverine forests in the high valleys and mountains of Kashmir Valley and northern Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh.
  • As per Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) nearly 3000 to 5000 Hanguls existed around the 1940s.
  • But at present, only about 150 of them survive within its last bastion in Dachigam National Park located on foothills of Zabarwan range on the outskirts of Srinagar, J&K.
  • Protection status: It has been listed under Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and J&K Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1978. It also has been listed among the top 15 species of high conservation priority by the Central Government.
  • Reasons for decline in population: (i) habitat destruction, (ii) over-grazing by domestic livestock, and (iii) poaching.

About International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

  • The IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
  • It was founded in 1948. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It is a leading non-governmental authority on the environment and sustainable development. It is also involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, lobbying and education.
  • IUCN is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.

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