The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has given its nod to include four diverse species — Northern River Terrapin (riverine turtle), Red Panda, Clouded Leopard and Arabian Sea Humpback Whale — in the recovery programme for critically endangered species. This decision will lead to targeted conservation of these species whose population is on the decline. They fall in the critically endangered to vulnerable categories as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The species recovery programme of the Union Environment Ministry is implemented under Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats — a centrally sponsored umbrella scheme for management and conservation of parks, wildlife habitats and conservation. Minutes of the NBWL meeting held on June 13, show that the Environment Ministry’s wildlife division proposed for inclusion of these four species in the recovery programme.
In April, the wildlife division had held a meeting of the Chief Wildlife Wardens (CWW)of East and Northeast region. It was during this meeting that the CWWs of West Bengal, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Mizoram suggested that the Northern River Terrapin, Red Panda and Clouded Leopard should be included under the list of species for taking up focussed recovery programme.
“State governments have sent their proposals for species recovery. Now the next step is to formulate a separate project strategies after discussing the proposals with scientific institutions, such as Wildlife Institute of India,” said a senior Environment Ministry official.