Tiger Current Affairs - 2019
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Ahead of International Day of Biological Diversity (celebrated on 22 May), an awareness campaign was launched by the name of ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ to be displayed at major airports across India.
Key Highlights about Campaign
- To raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade
- To garner public support for conservation and protection of wildlife, prevention from smuggling and for reduction in demand of wildlife products.
- It also complements worldwide action taken on illegal trade in wildlife via UN Environment’s global campaign called Wild for Life.
- Launched By: United Nation (UN) Environment India and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of India. Both WCCB and UN Environment started a comprehensive approach with focus on awareness building towards issue of prevention of illegal trade, smuggling of wildlife (and wildlife products) through exit points.
- Inauguration: Campaign was inaugurated by Dia Mirza, the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador (and also UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate), in presence of officials from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India (WCCB), UN Environment, UN agencies and GMR Group.
- Coverage: In collaboration with Airports Authority of India (AAI) and GMR Group, the campaign is set to travel across 22 airports across India over the next year.
- Need: Illegal wildlife trade drives a species to brink of extinction. With a thriving organized wildlife crime industry, the crime chains are spreading across world and India is also seeing a sharp rise in its illegal trade in wildlife. Thus there is an urgent need for awareness, action and stringent law enforcement to curb illegal wildlife trade which is threatening biodiversity and conservation in wild.
- Importance: Conservation is natural to India’s ethos. Although, while wildlife faces global threat and India’s flora and fauna’s demand continues to rise in illegal global markets, India’s stringent provisions for protection of wildlife under its Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, and efforts towards creating awareness among public at large would still have to go a long way to help protect our wildlife. Thus, campaign is an important step forward in creating much-needed awareness and regaining public attention on wildlife trafficking which threatens very survival of these species.
- Species covered: In First Phase of the campaign, Tiger, Star Tortoise, Pangolin and Tokay Gecko are featured. They have been chosen as they are highly endangered because of illegal trading in International markets. Second Phase will see more threatened species.
- Tiger is trafficked for its skin, body parts and bones.
- Pangolin, is most illegally traded wild mammal on the planet. It is trafficked for its meat and for its scales which are used in traditional medicines.
- Star Tortoise is trafficked for pet trade and meat.
- Tokay Gecko is trafficked for its use in traditional medicine, mostly into South East Asia (SEA) but mainly Chinese Markets.
About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
- WCCB is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by Government of India (GoI) under Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), to combat organized wildlife crime in India.
- It assists Customs authorities in inspection of consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions laid down in Wild Life Protection Act (WPA), 1972, (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Export-import (EXIM) Policy governing such an item.
Tags: AAI and GMR Group • Airports Authority of India • CITES • Dia Mirza • Forest and Climate Change • Ministry of Environment • Pangolin • Star Tortoise • Tiger • Tokay Gecko • UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador • United Nation Environment India • WCCB • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau • Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972
The population of Royal Bengal Tiger in Sundarbans region of Bangladesh has declined sharply to 106 from 440 in 2004. It was revealed in recently released new Tiger census 2015 of Bangladesh.
The Tiger Census was conducted by Bangladesh-India Joint Tiger Census Project. It was carried under the initiative of Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia Project. Financial support to this initiative was provided by the World Bank.
Methodology: Census 2015 was conducted by using modern technology of hidden cameras to count tigers. Previous methodology was based on count of counting pug marks. The camera tapping method is more accurate than past method.
Reasons for decline in Population: The rapid decline in population was attributed to loss of habitat, lack of proper forest management, unchecked wildlife poaching and animal-human conflict in the world’s largest mangrove forests of Sunderbans.
It should be noted that in Bangladesh, Sunderbans are spread over 6097 sq.km and it is only natural habitat of Royal Bengal tigers. There are around 74 tigers on the Indian side of the Sundarbans which stretches for nearly 4,000 miles across both countries.
Royal Bengal tiger species: It is one the 6 surviving and 3 extinct subspecies of tiger mainly found in India. It is present in smaller populations in Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan Myanmar and China.