Great Indian Bustard, Asian Elephant and Bengal Florican have been classified as “endangered migratory species” by a UN body, paving the way for trans-boundary conservation efforts.
India’s proposal for inclusion of the three species in the global list for international protection under the UN’s Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species was accepted unanimously on Thursday.
The proposal was accepted by 130 countries that are party to the convention at the ongoing 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS COP 13).
Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention for which CMS Parties strive towards strictly protecting them, conserving and restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them.
The Great Indian Bustard, an iconic, critically endangered and conservation dependent species, exhibits transboundary movements and its migration exposes it to threats such as hunting in boundary area of Pakistan-India and power-line collisions in India.
“Inclusion of the species in Appendix I of CMS will aide in transboundary conservation efforts facilitated by international conservation bodies and existing international laws and agreement,” an Environment Ministry official said.
Pakistan is among the 130 countries party to the Convention.
India has declared Indian elephant as National Heritage Animal which is also provided the highest degree of legal protection by listing it in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Placing Indian elephant in Schedule I of the CMS Convention will fulfil natural urge of migration of Indian elephant across India’s borders and back safely and thereby promote conservation of this endangered species, a ministry official said.
“India, being natural home of largest population of mainland Asian elephant/Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus), wishes to promote conservation of this species, by seeking natural migration of elephants in all range countries, through bringing the subspecies under Appendix I of CMS Convention,” said Soumitra Dasgupta, ADG (Wildlife), Ministry of Environment while mooting the proposal which was unanimously accepted by the parties to the convention.
The challenges confronting Asian elephant conservation in most elephant Range States are habitat loss and fragmentation, human elephant conflict, and poaching and illegal trade of elephants.
The third species to be included is Bengal Florican, population of which has declined as a result of habitat loss, hunting and the species no longer breeds outside Protected Areas in the Indian subcontinent, except in a few areas of Assam.
The Bengal Florican an iconic, critically endangered species of topmost conservation priority, exhibits transboundary movements, and its migration exposes it to threats such as land use changes, collision with power transmission line at boundary area of India-Nepal and probable power-line collisions.
Inclusion of the species in Appendix I of CMS will aid in transboundary conservation efforts facilitated by International conservation bodies and existing international laws and agreement, the ministry official said.
Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention. For this reason, the Convention encourages the Range States to conclude global or regional agreements.
The Conference, which was opened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 17 with India taking over its Presidency for three years, is likely to conclude on February 22 with a Gandhinagar Declaration on conservation of migratory species.
Source: Business Standard