Wildlife Conservation Current Affairs

India’s first genetic bank for wildlife conservation inaugurated in Hyderabad

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.

Background

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.

Month: Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2018

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NBWL adds 4 species in Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species

The standing committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has recently added four species- Northern River Terrapin, Clouded Leopard, Arabian Sea Humpback Whale and Red Panda into Centre’s Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species. They were added on the recommendation by Wildlife Division of Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

Key Facts

Norther River Terrapin: It is species of riverine turtle found in rivers that flow in Eastern India. It is hunted for its meat and carapace. It is native of Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Clouded Leopard: It is found in Himalayan foothills. It is threatened due to habitat loss, poaching for its skin and is also as a live pet trade. The IUCN in its Red List assessment of 2016 has categorized Clouded Leopard as ‘Vulnerable’ and indicating declining trend in its population.

Arabian Sea Humpback Whale: It is a species found in all of major oceans. This species migrates from the Oman coast through the Arabian sea, along the Indian coasts till the Sri Lankan coast. Ship strikes, unforgiving fishing gear and siesmic exploarations pose grave threat to it.

Red Panda: It is closely associated with montane forests with dense bamboo-thicket. It is found Sikkim, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh. It is poached for its meat, and for use in medicines, and as a pet. The IUCN has categorized Red Panda as ‘Endangered’. As per its Red List assessment of 2015, population of this species is decreasing.

Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species

The progamme is one of the three components of centrally funded scheme, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH). It was started in 2008-09. IDWH is meant for providing support to protected areas (national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation reserves and community reserves except tiger reserves), protection of wildlife outside protected areas and recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats.

So far, 17 species were identified under this recovery programme. These are Snow Leopard, Bustard (including Floricans), Dolphin, Nilgiri Tahr, Hangul, Marine Turtles, Edible Nest Swiftlet, Dugongs, Asian Wild Buffalo, Nicobar Megapode, Manipur Brow-antlered Deer, Vultures, Malabar Civet, Indian Rhinoceros, Asiatic Lion, Swamp Deer and Jerdon’s Courser.

Month: Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2018

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