Wildlife Protection Current Affairs

Sawfish more threatened than tigers: Scientists

Scientists on World Sawfish Day (observed on October 17th) announced that sawfish, sighted off Indian coast less than 10 times in over a decade appears to be more threatened than tigers and elephants

Anecdotal evidence suggested that sawfish was once common along the Indian coast but today it may be the most endangered fish species in India.

Key Facts

Sawfish also known as carpenter sharks are a family of rays. They are characterized by long, narrow, flattened rostrum or nose extension, lined with sharp transverse teeth resembling saw.Sawfish are closely related to sharks and have shark-shaped bodies, hence, they are also called flat sharks.

They are elasmobranchs meaning their skeleton is made of cartilage. There are only five species of sawfish ever identified —knifetooth sawfish, smalltooth sawfish, dwarf sawfish largetooth sawfish and green sawfish.

Protection Status: In the International Union for Conservation of Nature Global Red List, sawfish family has been assessed either ‘Endangered’ or ‘Critically Endangered’ considering their threatened status, high extinction risk and observed population decline. The sawfish has been given high degree of protection as it is listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 enacted to save them from exploitation.

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Government launches SECURE Himalaya Project

The Union Government had launched SECURE Himalaya, a six-year project to ensure conservation of locally and globally significant biodiversity, land and forest resources in high Himalayan ecosystem spread over four states viz. Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.

It was launched by Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Key Facts

The SECURE project aims at securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems. It is meant for specific landscapes including Changthang (Jammu and Kasmir), Lahaul – Pangi and Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh), Gangotri – Govind and Darma – Byans Valley in Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand) and Kanchenjunga – Upper Teesta Valley (Sikkim).

The key focus areas of the project is protection of snow leopard and other endangered species and their habitats and also securing livelihoods of people in region and enhancing enforcement to reduce wildlife crime. Under it, enhanced enforcement efforts and monitoring will be undertaken to curb illegal trade in some medicinal and aromatic plants which are among most threatened species in these landscapes.

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