Wildlife Protection Current Affairs

Haryana Government launches Asia’s first Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme

Haryana Government has launched Asia’s first ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme’ at the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre at Pinjore.

It was launched by state Chief Minister Manohar Lal by releasing 2 captive bred Himalayan Griffons vultures in the pre-release aviaries close to the breeding centre at Pinjore.

The vultures were released as part of the soft release or reintroduction programme, in a pre-release aviary where they would have an unobstructive view of the surrounding. This would help them in getting used to the habitat in which they would be released in the wild in future. These birds have been wing-tagged and were leg-ringed for identification.

Himalayan Griffon vultures: They are closely related to the critically endangered resident Gyps species of vultures but are not endangered. The IUCN has listed this species as Near Threatened .

They are scavengers, preying on dead animals as they have a robust digestive system which can even digest disease-causing pathogens found in rotting meat of dead. Thus, they help in keeping environment clean.

Decline in vulture population

  • The main reason for rapid decline in population of vulture is due to Diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which is given to cattle in inflammation and pain.
  • Though vultures have robust digestive system, they are not able to break down Diclofenac and die of renal failure or kidney failure after eating carcasses of cattle administered with the drug.

Preventive steps taken by Government

  • The Diclofenac drug was banned by Union Government of India for veterinary use in 2006. It was banned to bring down prevalence of the drug in cattle carcasses and make the environment safe for vultures.
  • Later in July 2015, the multi-dose vials of Diclofenac drug for human use were banned by the Drug Controller General of India.

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Union Cabinet gives nod to adaptation of South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network

The Union cabinet has given its formal approval for adopting the Statute of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN).

With this, India will become member of SAWEN, a regional inter-governmental body in combating wildlife crime in the region and beyond.

By becoming member of SAWEN, India will strengthen its ties with the member countries for controlling the trans-boundary wildlife crimes through coordination, communication, collaboration, cooperation and capacity building in the region.

What is SAWEN?

  • SAWEN is regional inter-governmental wildlife law enforcement support body launched in January, 2011 in Paro, Bhutan.
  • It aims at working collectively as a strong regional inter-governmental body to combat wildlife crime by attainting common mutual goals and approaches for combating illegal trade in the region.
  • SAWEN’s regional network comprises of eight South Asia countries: Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

India has set following objectives to attain the goals

  • Take initiatives to bring standardization and harmonization in laws and policies of member countries concerned in conservation of fauna and flora.
  • Document the trend of illegal trade and poaching, and related threats to the natural biodiversity within and across countries in the region.
  • Strengthen institutional responses to combat wildlife crime by promoting research and information sharing, capacity building and training, technical support, sharing experiences and outreach.
  • Encourage member countries to prepare and implement their National Action Plans to curb wildlife crime and to collaborate towards effective implementation.

Background

South Asian region is very vulnerable to wildlife crimes and illegal traffic due to presence of precious biodiversity. It is mainly due to presence of large markets as well as traffic routes for wildlife products in the region. SAWEN was established for mutual collaboration for harmonising as well as enforcing the wildlife protection in the region for effective conservation of such precious biodiversity.

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