IUCN Red List Current Affairs - 2020

SURAKHSYA: National Portal of “Project Elephant” launched

On August 10, 2020, the Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar launched National Portal on Human Elephant conflict called “SURAKHSYA”. The portal aims to collect real time information and will also manage conflicts on real time basis.

Highlights

The National Portal was launched during the celebration of international annual event World Elephant Day. The World Elephant Day is celebrated every year on August 12 to create elephant conservation and share knowledge for better protection of wild captive elephants.

The portal will help to set data collection protocols, data visualization tools and data transmission pipelines.

IUCN

The Asian Elephants are listed as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List. This is mainly because, most of the Asian countries except India have lost their elephant population due to loss of habitats and poaching. There are 50,000 to 60,000 Asian Elephants. Of these, 60% are in India.

Elephants in India

Elephant is the Natural Heritage Animal of India. Indian Elephants have been listed under Appendix I of Convention of the Migratory Species in the recently held Conference of Parties of Convention of Migratory Species 13 in Gujarat in 2020.

Project Elephant

The Project Elephant was launched in 1992 by the Ministry of Environment and Forest. The project aims to provide financial and technical support to wild life management. It aims to make sure long-term survival of elephant populations in the natural habitats. The project also supports research in management of elephants and providing veterinary care and also conservation among local people.

Elephant Corridors

The Elephant Corridor is a narrow stretch of land that connects habitats with elephant population. There are 88 identified elephant corridors in India. Of these, 22 are in North-Eastern India, 14 in northern West Bengal, 20 in South India, 12 in North-Western India and 20 in Central India.

The major threats to elephant corridors are construction activities such as building roads, railways, etc. Also, the corridors are threatened due to mining, poaching and human elephant conflicts.

Indian Gaurs facing Mutation

India with the help of World wide Fund had recently held an estimation exercise of Indian Gaur in the Nilgris forest division of Tamil Nadu. This is the first estimation exercise being held in region. According to the exercise, there are around 2,000 Gaurs across the division.

Highlights

The report generated by the exercise says that the animals in the region are prone to human-animal conflicts due to habitat loss, fragmentation. The Indian Gaurs in the region, specifically are inhabiting tea estates and human settlements.

The Gaurs are also affected by the invasive spread of the invasive species of plants in the reserve forest.

Also, the increase in resorts and buildings in the region has led to erection of fences that limit the traditional pathways used by the Gaurs to move between the habitats.

Indian Gaurs

The IUCN Red List has put the Indian Gaurs under Vulnerable category. The Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 has put the Indian Gaurs under Schedule I.

Indian Gaurs are the largest and tallest in the family of wild cattle. They are grazing animals.

Mutation

The scientists have found that a rare genetic condition of leucism is observed in Indian Gaurs. Leucism causes partial loss of pigmentation in the skin pattern of the animal. This is not good for the animals as leucism might compromise the immune system of the animals and reduce their survival rates.

The mutation is caused due to low quality diet, environmental alterations, follicular damage, in-breeding, pollution, etc.