Japan Current Affairs - 2019
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IUCN releases Red List of Threatened Species – FIFA World Cup 2014 mascot “Brazilian three-banded Armadillo” enlisted as Vulnerable
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released the Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014. As of now, the Red List has 73,686 assessed species, of which 22,103 are threatened with extinction. The release includes lemurs, Japanese eels, slipper orchids.
The Brazilian three-banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus) which is FIFA World Cup 2014 mascot has been enlisted as Vulnerable as its population has decreased by more than a third in the past 10 due to destruction of half its shrubland habitat.
The Brazilian 3-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus) is an armadillo species endemic to Brazil. In Brazil it is locally known as “tatu-bola” as it can roll itself into a ball.
Lemurs are one of the most threatened groups of vertebrates on the planet as more than 90% of lemurs are now threatened with extinction.
Some of the facts about Lemurs:
- Of the 99 known species, which live on the island of Madagascar 22 species are critically endangered, including the Indri, the largest living lemur.
- 48 species of lemur are endangered, including Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, the world smallest primate.
- 20 lemur species are vulnerable.
- Lemurs are threatened by the loss of their tropical forest habitat due to rise in illegal logging on account of political instability and surging levels of poverty in the past 20 years.
It is a traditional food in Japan and the country’s most expensive food fish. It is endangered due to:
- Habitat loss
- Unsustainable fishing
- Obstructions to migration
- Changes in oceanic currents
The assessment of species is done using the Species Information Service Toolkit, an application developed in partnership with Solertium and IUCN.
As per a report by Japanese Fisheries Agency, Japan has continued the hunting of whales and has killed 30 minke whales off Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefacture (at its north-east coast), in the first hunt since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) March 2014 order which directed Tokyo to halt killing the whales in the Antarctic.
In March 2014, the ICJ ruled that Japan’s annual expedition to the Southern Ocean was a commercial activity disguised as research.
ICJ ordered ban on Japan’s JARPA II (started in 2005) whaling programme in Sothern Ocean in the Antarctic. The UN’s apex court imposed a temporary halt on Japan’s whaling programmme in Antarctic waters after hearing a case brought against Japan by Australia and environmental groups. The 16-member panel of ICJ decided that the whaling exercise of Japan is not justified. The court directed Tokyo to choose any one courses of action in this regard- either stop hunting the whales or redesign its hunting programme for scientific purposes. Japan agreed to the order of the ICJ.
Japan has exploited an ambiguity in a 1986 global moratorium that allows lethal research on the mammals. Japan sometimes also paints the demands for an end to whaling as cultural imperialism in the country.
Insufficiency in the ICJ order
Though the ICJ judgment directs Japan to stop whaling in Antarctic under JARPA II but it doesn’t make any mention on its annual hunts in the Pacific Ocean. As a result, Japan is free to continue hunting of whales in the Pacific.