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How the tiger can regain its stripes Context: The most recent estimation of tiger population in India has noted that there has been an increase in tigers from about 2,000 in 1970 to around 3,000 presently. K Ullas Karanth, a leading tiger expert in India, points out serious concerns regarding tiger conservation efforts in India. Low growth rate of tiger population: Despite, the fact that Tiger population has increased in India and despite India having done better than other
Indian Bison An Indian Bison, or Gaur, in Pune’s urban landscape, died due to human-animal conflict. It is mainly found in South and Southeast Asia. Location: Native to South and Southeast Asia in India, they are found in Nagarhole, Bandipur, Masinagudi National Parks and BR Hills. Conservation Status: Vulnerable in IUCN Red List. Included in the Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. Important Facts: It is the tallest spec
Himalayan Griffon Vulture It is a migratory bird species native to the Himalayas, has been spotted in Point Calimere wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. It is usually found in high-altitude regions. They originate from the Himalayan Chain and Plateau of Tibet. The IUCN status of the bird is Near-threatened. It is listed in Appendix II of the CITES.
Peacock soft-shelled turtle Peacock soft-shelled turtle - vulnerable species have been rescued from a fish market in Assam’s Silchar. Scientific Name: Nilssonia hurum. Features: They have a large head, downturned snout with a low and oval carapace of dark olive green to nearly black, sometimes with a yellow rim. The head and limbs are olive-green; the forehead has dark reticulations and large yellow or orange patches or spots,
Great Indian Bustard The Wildlife Institute of India proposed to put all power transmission lines passing through Great Indian Bustard (GIB) habitat underground. GIB, a bird native to India and Pakistan, is the State Bird of Rajasthan. The largest population is found in Rajasthan. Quick FACTS The GIB is one of the heaviest flying bird endemics to the Indian subcontinent. They are primarily terrestrial birds. The GIB lays one egg every 1-2 years and the success rate
Great India Bustard (GIB) or Godawan Context: Great Indian Bustard is an important topic for UPSC Prelims Examination 2021. It is one of the most repeated questions in the UPSC Prelims Examination. It is one of the heaviest Flight birds. They have weak eyesight. Habitat is grassland (not covered under Forest Conservation Act, 1980). It is endemic to the Indian subcontinent found in Central India, west India and eastern Pakistan. Bustard species found in India: Gr
The Status of Leopards in India 2018 Report Context: Leopard is an important topic for UPSC Prelims Examination 2021. It is one of the most repeated questions in the UPSC Prelims Examination. It revealed that the Western Ghats was home to close to 3,387 leopards. The population of leopards in India has gone up by 60 %, as per the ‘Status of Leopard in India 2018’ report. India now has 12,852 leopards, witnessing a substantial increase in comparison to the 2014 data.
Indian Rhino/ Great One Horned Rhino It is the largest Rhino species found in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and India. It is Vulnerable and in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. 22 September is Rhino Day. India is home to 2,200 rhinos, or over 85 % population. In India, it is found in UP, West Bengal and Assam. According to WWF data from 2012, Assam has 91 % of the total Rhino in India which is mainly concentrated in Kaziranga National Park (Largest absolute popu
Pangolin and Porcupine Pangolin Out of the 8 species of Pangolin in the World, Indian and Chinese Pangolin are found in India. Indian Pangolin The Indian pangolin is an endangered animal that is rarely sighted in forests. The Indian Pangolin is the only scaly mammal hunted for meat and used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are nocturnal. Indian Pangolins are among the most trafficked wildlife species in the World. The projected population declines range from 50
Dolphin killed by a group in UP A video of a group of men and boys in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district beating to death a Gangetic river dolphin surfaced on social media on Friday. An endangered species, the Gangetic River Dolphin is recognised as the National Aquatic Animal. The Pratapgarh police said they had arrested three persons and sent them to jail. Further legal action was being taken. Killing the Gangetic River Dolphin is a punishable offence under Section 9/51 of t
Siberian Mammoths Scientists have recovered and sequenced the oldest DNA on record, from the molars of mammoths that roamed Siberia up to 1.2 million years ago. Until now, the oldest DNA came from a horse that lived in Canada's Yukon Territory about 700,000 years ago. Researchers gained insights into mammoth evolution and migration by comparing the DNA to that of mammoths that lived more recently (4,000 years ago). The molars of the mammoths were discovered near the Krestovka Riv
Dickinsonia Fossils Found in Bhimbetka Caves Researchers discovered three fossils in Madhya Pradesh. These fossils are possible of the earliest known living animal named ‘Dickinsonia’ (550-million-year-old). The fossils are found on the roof of Auditorium Cave at Bhimbetka Rock Shelters. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh. The fossil can be identified from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra (central midrib) and connecting veins. Thes
Humboldt Penguin Humboldt penguin is named after the cold ocean current, known as the Humboldt current (discovered by German explorer Alexander von Humboldt), which is typical for the natural habitat of this species of penguin (west coast of South America). Its habitat is highly influenced by the cold, nutrient-rich Humboldt Current flowing northward from Antarctica, which is vital to the productivity of plankton and krill and fosters fish abundance. Migration: When not raising ch
African Swine Fever Virus Scientists have found a natural mutation in the African swine fever virus (ASFV) that could be less deadly than the strain that ravaged the world’s largest pig herd in 2018 and 2019. ASFV is an intra cytoplasmically-replicating DNA arbovirus, which is the sole member of the family Asfarviridae. ASF is a severe viral disease that affects wild and domestic pigs resulting in a highly lethal haemorrhagic fever but doesn’t affect humans. It has a
Snow Leopard Also known as Ghost of the mountains acts as an indicator of the health of the mountain ecosystem in which they live, due to their position as the top predator in the food web. Habitation: The Snow Leopard lives at high altitudes in the steep mountains of Central and Southern Asia, and in an extremely cold climate. They inhabit the higher Himalayan and trans-Himalayan landscape in the states/union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar
Himalayan Serow A Himalayan Serow has been spotted in Manas Tiger Reserve, Assam. It is a mammal that is somewhere between a goat and an antelope, which is a high-altitude dweller found 2,000-4,000 metres above sea level. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species Status - ‘Vulnerable’. It is listed under Schedule I of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which provides absolute protection. A black-necked crane (Near-thr
Sharks Conservation in India As per a recent study, the global population of sharks and rays reduced by over 70% in the past 5 decades. About Sharks: Sharks come under a subclass of fish species called Elasmobranchii. The species in this subclass have skeletons made from cartilage and not bones. They use gills to filter oxygen from the water. Sharks inhabit 3 major marine habitats such as continental shelves, deep-sea and open ocean. Sharks have been around for more than 40
Great Indian Bustard and Conservation Efforts It is one of the heaviest Flight birds. They have weak eyesight. Habitat is grassland (not covered under Forest Conservation Act, 1980). It is endemic to the Indian subcontinent found in Central India, west India and eastern Pakistan. Bustard species found in India: Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican and Bengal Florican; Houbara Bustard in Pakistan. It is considered as the flagship/ indicator grassland species, representing the hea
IUCN Declares African Elephants as Critically Endangered The IUCN has declared African Forest elephants as ‘critically endangered’ and Savanna (or bush) elephants as ‘endangered’. Previously IUCN listed both African elephants as “vulnerable”. But now it has opted to list them separately. It is after genetic evidence proved that both are different species. About African Elephants African elephants are the largest lan
Dolphin boom in Odisha’s Chilika lake Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Prelims and Mains focus: about the census and its findings; about Irrawaddy dolphins and why they are important; about Chilika lake Dolphin boom in Odisha’s Chilika lake The population of dolphins in Chilika, India’s largest brackish water lake, and along the Odisha coast has doubled this year compared with last year.
Great Indian Bustard poaching Great Indian Bustard and Conservation Efforts It is one of the heaviest Flight birds. They have weak eyesight. Habitat is grassland (not covered under Forest Conservation Act, 1980). It is endemic to the Indian subcontinent found in Central India, west India and eastern Pakistan. Bustard species found in India: Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican and Bengal Florican; Houbara Bustard in Pakistan. It is considered the flagship/ indicator grassland
Crocodile species in India There are 3 species of crocodilians in India — Saltwater/ Estuarine Crocodile; Mugger/ Marsh/ Indian/ Broad snouted Crocodile and Gharial or Gavial or Fish eating crocodile Mugger Crocodile or Marsh Crocodile or Broad snouted crocodile It is mainly a freshwater species, and found in lakes, rivers and marshes. It is Vulnerable in IUCN; Appendix I of CITES; Schedule I of WPA. Its habitat i
Ladakh adopts State animal and bird Ladakh adopted two endangered species, snow leopard and black-necked crane, as State animals and State birds, two years after it was carved out as a separate Union Territory (UT) from the erstwhile State of J&K. “The snow leopard (Panther unica) and black-necked crane (Grus nicricollis) shall be the State animal and State bird respectively of the UT of Ladakh from the date of issue of the notification,” reads an order issued b
Shailendra Singh wins Behler Turtle Conservation Award Indian biologist Shailendra Singh has been awarded the Behler Turtle Conservation Award for bringing three critically endangered turtle conservation species back from the brink of extinction. A press statement issued by the headquarters of the Turtle Survival Alliance earlier this week said: “For some species, such as the red-crowned roofed turtle (Batagur kachuga), northern river terrapin (Batagur baska), and black softshell t
ASIATIC BLACK BEAR Scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and the Himachal Pradesh Forest department have calculated the density and the population of Asiatic black bears in two Protected Areas of Himachal Pradesh. About black bears Scientists have calculated the population density of the bears for Darangati Wildlife Sanctuary and Rupi Bhaba. The asiatic black bear is also called the Himalayan bear, Tibetan bear, or moon bear. They are members of the bear fa
Asiatic Caracal The Caracal is struggling to survive, although both species (Cheetahs and Caracal) had a similar distribution in the past. The caracal is on the verge of extinction in India and it is essential to find suitable areas to conserve it. About Asiatic caracal: Scientific Name: Caracall caracal schmitzi It is an elusive medium-sized and locally threatened felid (cat) species, which has been widely reported to be on the brink of extinc
World Sloth Bear Day On October 12, 2022, the inaugural World Sloth Bear Day was marked in an effort to raise awareness about and support conservation efforts for this rare bear species that is only found on the Indian subcontinent. The International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) sloth bear expert team accepted the proposal made by Wildlife SOS India, an organisation that has been working to protect and conserve sloth bears for more than
Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act The Union Government recently proposed 61 amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. More on the news The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairy has prepared the draught Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, (Amendment) Bill-2022. The following are the draft's key provisions: Imprisonment for animal cruelty: For killing an animal, the draft proposes a maximum 5-year prison sentence plus a fine. A new
Himalayan Yak The Himalayan Yak has been approved as a 'food animal' by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). The move is expected to help slow the decline of the high-altitude bovine animal's population by incorporating it into the conventional milk and meat industries. Food animals are those that are raised for food production or human consumption. About Himalayan Yak: The Yak is a member of the Bovini tribe, which also includes bison, bu
Orangutans Four police officers in Chennai were recently suspended for helping orangutan smugglers. About orangutans: With arms far longer than their legs, orangutans—the largest arboreal mammals—are exceptionally well suited to living in the trees. They have long, curled fingers and toes on their feet, as well as grasping hands. They lack an external tail that may be seen and have recognisable fingerprints. From southern China to the Indonesian island of Java, oranguta
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