Wildlife Conservation Current Affairs

Snow leopard photographed for first time in Arunachal Pradesh

Scientists for first time have captured images of Snow Leopard using camera trap at Thembang village’s Community Conserved Area (CCA) in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The camera trap study was conducted by World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-India) in collaboration with Arunachal Pradesh Environment and Forest Department to focus on unexplored snow leopard habitats.

Key Facts

This is first evidence of elusive snow leopard in Arunachal Pradesh and also outside protected areas. Arunachal Pradesh is one of 22 priority landscapes of Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program. Only small fraction of snow leopard habitats falls in two protected areas (Dibang Biosphere Reserve and Namdapha National Park) in State. WWF-India scientists are seeking to tap intoknowledge of locals including herders and former hunters to understand current distribution of snow leopards and other mammals in state.

Community Conserved Area (CCA)

In 2004, WWF-India had introduced concept of CCAs in State to empower local communities to become active decision-makers and implement conservation initiatives. Local communities in these CCAs form committees to undertake wildlife monitoring, patrolling and community-based tourism activities.

Snow leopard

Snow leopard (Panthera uncial) is a large cat native to mountain ranges of Central and South Asia- including Himalayas, and Russia’s remote Altai mountains. It inhabits in alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m. In northern range countries, it is also found at lower elevations.

It is threatened by poaching for their fur, habitat destruction by infrastructure developments and climate change. It mostly feed on wild animals, but also prey on livestock. It usually hunts at dawn and dusk and is able to kill prey up to three times their own weight. It is National Heritage Animal of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In September 2017, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had downgraded conservation status of snow leopard to “vulnerable” from “endangered”

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Turtle Sanctuary to be set up in Allahabad

The Union Ministry of Water Resources has approved project to set up Turtle sanctuary in Allahabad along with River Biodiversity Park at Sangam in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh under Namami Gange programme.

The purpose of the Turtle sanctuary is to protect the rich aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga from escalating anthropogenic pressures.

Key Facts

The approved project includes development of River Biodiversity Park at Sangam (confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati Rivers), establishment of Turtle Rearing Centre (Permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp and makeshift annual hatcheries) and awareness about importance of Ganga River and imperativeness of its conservation has been approved.

This project will provide platform to make the visitors aware of their place in ecosystem, their roles and responsibilities, improve their understanding of the complexity of co-existence with environment. It will also help to generate awareness for reducing impact of human activities on critical natural resources.

Need for such Projects

The sustenance of more than 2000 aquatic species including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles in river Ganga exemplifies rich biodiversity of River Ganga which is lifeline to over 40% of India’s population. Rivers Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of most endangered fauna like turtles (Batagur kachuga, Batagur dhongoka, Nilssonia gangetica, Chitra indica, Hardella thurjii etc.), Gangetic dolphin- National Aquatic Animal, Gharial and numerous migratory and resident birds.

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