Wildlife Conservation Current Affairs - 2019
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Nepal become first country in the world to double its tiger population in a decade as part of World Wildlife Foundation’s (WWF) ‘Tx2’ programme which aims to double number of tigers in the world all over the world by 2022. There are now estimated 235 wild tigers in Nepal in comparison to an estimated 121 back in 2009. This trend is against global tend where number of tigers in many countries is witnessing a decline.
The success of Nepal in doubling tiger numbers has been largely attributed to its political commitment and adoption of innovative tools and approaches towards tiger conservation. Nepal was the first country to achieve global standards in managing tiger conservation areas, an accreditation scheme governed by Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS).
It was launched by World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) at the 2010 St Petersburg Tiger Summit held in Russia. Under it, 13 tiger range countries had agreed to double the world tiger population by 2022, which is the year of tiger in Chinese calendar. These 13 countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
It aims at driving political momentum to ensure tigers remain top priority for world leaders, professionalise wildlife protection by training rangers, developing conservation standards (CA|TS) and technology (SMART) to achieve zero poaching, tackle illegal wildlife trade through partnership with TRAFFIC, focus efforts in key tiger landscapes and ensure there is space for both tigers and people in future.
National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank was inaugurated at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology’s (CCMB) Laboratory of Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) facility in Hyderabad, Telanagana. It is India’s first genetic resource bank where genetic material will be stored for posterity which will further the cause of conservation of endangered and protected animals.
National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank
It is equipped with sophisticated equipment to preserve the genetic resources that could be utilised to virtually resurrect an animal species in case it goes extinct. It will cryopreserve living cell lines, gametes and embryos of endangered wild animal species in India. For cryogenic preservation, researchers at CCMB-LaCONES will use liquid Nitrogen that is cooled down to as low as minus 195 degrees Celsius.
It will aid wild life conservation efforts by taking up artificial reproduction, conducting studies in evolution biology and wildlife medicine. Thus, it will also help in protecting India’s biodiversity and environment. So far this bank has collected and preserved genetic resources of 23 species of Indian wild animals.
To develop this facility, CCMB researchers had conducted detailed study of Frozen Zoo, San Diego Zoo, US, which is considered as world’s largest and most diverse genetic bank of living cell cultures, oocytes, sperms and embryos of extinct and endangered species. CCMB-LaCONES is only laboratory in India that has developed methods for collection and cryopreservation of semen and oocytes from wild animanls and successfully reproducing blackbuck, spotted deer and pigeons. LaCONES has developed universal DNA based marker for identification of wild animals from parts and remains. It also has DNA banking of more than 250 species of mammals, birds and reptiles.