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[Prelims 2020] In News: Understanding IUCN, CITES and WPA Classification and Species

In this article we will study the following:

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories,
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Categories
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 schedules
  • All the species those have been in news since 2019.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories
  • Established in 1948, the IUCN is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It has an observer and consultative status at the United Nations.
  • It is best known for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.
  • There are 9 categories in the Red List of Threatened Species: a) Extinct, b) Extinct in the Wild, c) Critically Endangered, d) Endangered, e) Vulnerable, f) Near Threatened, g) Least Concern, h) Data Deficient and i) Not Evaluated.
  • Among the categories, Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.
CategoryWhat does it mean?
Extinct (EX)The last individual has died or systematic and time-appropriate surveys have been unable to find even a single individual
Extinct in the Wild (EW)members of the species survive only in captivity or as artificially supported populations; outside their historical geographic range
Critically Endangered (CR)Species are at extremely high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 80 to more than 90% over the previous 10 years (or three generations, whichever is longer), a current population size of fewer than 50 individuals, or other factors.
Endangered (EN)Species are at a very high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 50 to more than 70% over the previous 10 years (or three generations), a current population size of fewer than 250 individuals, or other factors
Vulnerable (VU)Species are at very high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 30 to more than 50% over the previous 10 years (or three generations), a current population size of fewer than 1,000 individuals, or other factors
Near Threatened (NT)Species are close to becoming threatened or may meet the criteria for threatened status in the near future
Least Concern (LC)species that are pervasive and abundant after careful assessment
Data Deficient (DD)Complete assessment not completed
Not Evaluated (NE)Species are described in science but not assessed by IUCN
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Categories
  • CITES was drafted after a resolution was adopted at a meeting of the members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1963. It entered into force in 1973.
  • It aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Species are categorised under three Appendixes and are given varying degrees of protection as under:
CategoriesDetails
Appendix IIt includes species threatened with extinction. Trade-in specimens of these species are permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
Appendix IIincludes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
Appendix IIIIt contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

The Act provides for the protection of plants and animal in India.  It consists of 6 schedules which provide a varying degree of protection

CategoriesDetails
Schedule I
  • Animal species given the highest protection
  • Hunting (except when a threat to human life) is prohibited
  • Wildlife trade strictly prohibited
  • Offences under this schedule prescribed highest penalties

Example: Tiger, Lion

Schedule II
  • Animal species given the highest protection
  • Hunting (except when a threat to human life) is prohibited
  • Wildlife trade strictly prohibited
  • Offences under this schedule prescribed highest penalties

Example: Himalayan Brown Bear, King Cobra

Schedule III & IVAnimal protected but the penalty for any violation is less compared to the first two schedules.

Example Hyena (Schedule III), Swans (Schedule IV)

Schedule VAnimal listed in the schedule are called vermin which can be hunted

Example: Mice, rat

Schedule VICultivation, collection, extraction, trade of plants and its derivatives are prohibited

Example: Red Vanda, Blue Vanda

 

List of Species in news
SpeciesDetails
1.      Lion-tailed macaqueNews: According to a study, they have shown rich tool-use behaviour to simplify their efforts.

Geographic Range: Endemic to the Western Ghats of India (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu)

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered; CITES: Appendix I; WPA: Schedule I

2.      GiraffeNews: Poachers killed two extremely rare white giraffes in northeast Kenya

Geographic Range: savanna/woodland Geographic Ranges, range widely throughout Africa.

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix II; WPA: NA

3.      Red Panda

 

News: Reduce in wildlife trade (TRAFFIC Report)

Geographic Range: Native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. In India, found in Sikkim, western Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling (WB)

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered; CITES: Appendix I; WPA: Schedule I

4.      Hard ground swamp deer (Barasingha)News: Increase in population in Kanha National Park

Geographic Range: North and central India, and southwestern Nepal. It is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh.

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix I; WPA: Schedule I

5.      Eurasian otterNews: Spotted in Chilka Lake for the first time

Geographic Range: Eurasia

Conservation Status: IUCN: Near Threatened; CITES:  Appendix I; WPA: Schedule II

6.      Fishing catNews: Spotted in Chilka Lake

Geographic Range: South and Southeast Asia

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix II; WPA: Schedule I

7.      Smooth-coated OtterNews: India’s proposal to upgrade the protection of smooth-coated otter in CITES approved.

Geographic Range: Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix I; WPA: Schedule II

8.      Small-Clawed OtterNews: India’s proposal to upgrade the protection of small-clawed otter in CITES approved.

Geographic Range: Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable, CITES: Appendix I, WPA: Schedule I

9.      Indian Star TortoiseNews: India’s proposal to upgrade the protection of Indian star tortoise in CITES approved. 

Geographic Range: North-western India (Gujarat, Rajasthan) and adjoining south-eastern Pakistan; eastern and southern areas of India (from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and eastern Karnataka to Odisha); and throughout Sri Lanka.

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable, CITES: Appendix I, WPA: Schedule IV

10.   Great Indian BustardNews: Classified as “endangered migratory species” by UN’s Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species

The Supreme Court constituted a high powered committee to urgently frame and implement an emergency response plan for the protection of Great Indian Bustard. The bird’s population has rapidly declined due to various threats including mortality by collision with infrastructure, particularly power lines and wind turbines

Geographic Range: Rajasthan (Desert National park), Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in India and parts of Pakistan

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered; CITES: Appendix I; WPA: Schedule I

11.   Asian ElephantNews: Classified as “endangered migratory species” by UN’s Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species

Geographic Range: Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia Myanmar; Nepal; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Viet Nam

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered; CITES: Appendix I; WPA: Schedule I

12.   Bengal FloricanNews: Classified as “endangered migratory species” by UN’s Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species

Geographic Range: Terai and the Brahmaputra valley (Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.)

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered; CITES: Appendix I; WPA: Schedule I

13.  Flame-throated bulbulNews: Chosen as the mascot of the 36th National Games

Geographic Range: Western Ghats

Conservation Status: IUCN Least Concern; WPA: Schedule IV

14.   Indian GaurNews: Spotted in Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary for the first time

Geographic Range: Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Thailand; Viet Nam

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix I, WPA: Schedule I

15.   Steppe EagleNews: Sighted in Andhra Pradesh during Asian Bird Census.

Geographic Range: Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered; CITES: Appendix II

16.   Española Giant TortoisesNews: Galápagos National Park announced ending Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI)

Geographic Range: Española Island [formerly Hood Island] in the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered; CITES: Appendix I; WPA: NA

17.   Chinese paddlefishNews: Chinese Researchers concluded it is extinct

Geographic Range: Yangtze River, China

Conservation Status: IUCN: Extinct

18.   Greater Adjutant Stork (Hargila)News: Assam State Zoo and wildlife NGO Aaranyak jointly bred a pair of Hargila chicks in an artificial platform

Geographic Range: few isolated pockets in Assam and Bihar in India and PrekToal in Cambodia.

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered, WPA: Schedule IV

19.   Asiatic LionNews: Asiatic Lion Census is scheduled to take place in May 2020

Geographic Range: Only surviving free-ranging population of the Asiatic lion exists in the Gir forest, Gujarat

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered; CITES: Appendix I, WPA: Schedule I

20.   Tibetan gazellesNews: Declining population

Geographic Range: Tibet, Ladakh and parts of Sikkim

Conservation Status: IUCN: Near Threatened; WPA: Schedule I

21.   Sumatran RhinoNews: Became extinct in Malaysia

Geographic Range: Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Gunung Leuser National Park, and Way Kambas National Park on Sumatra; and on Indonesian Borneo west of Samarindah

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered; CITES:

WPA: NA

22.   Assam Roofed TurtleNews: Conservation efforts

Geographic Range: Bangladesh, Assam (India)

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered, CITES: Appendix II, WPA: Schedule I

23.  Olive RidleysNews: Ban on fishing in Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary

Geographic Range: warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. Major mass nesting grounds in India: Gahiramatha rookery (Gahiramatha Marine Sanctuary) close to the mouth of Brahmani-Baitarani Rivers, Devi river mouth and Rushikulya river mouth

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix I; WPA: Schedule I

24.  Snow leopardNews: Session of Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) programme held

Geographic Range: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

It is the state animal of Himachal Pradesh.

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES: Appendix I, WPA: Schedule I

25.  Tasmanian TigerNews: Though said to be extinct, spotted across Tasmania, Australia 8 times during 2016 -2019

Geographic Range: Was native to Tasmania, New Guinea, and the Australian mainland

Conservation Status: IUCN: Extinct

26.   Gangetic River DolphinNews: annual Ganges river dolphin census

Geographic Range: Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered, CITES: Appendix I; WPA: Schedule I

27.  Emperor PenguinsNews: Scientists recommended IUCN status should be changed to ‘vulnerable’.

Geographic Range: Antarctica

Conservation Status: IUCN: Near Threatened

28.  African CheetahNews: Supreme Court ruled that African Cheetah shall be permitted to be introduced in India

Geographic Range: North, Southern and East Africa, and a few localities in Iran

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered”, CITES: Appendix I, WPA: NA

29.  Indian PangolinNews: Madhya Pradesh Forest Department has radio-tagged Indian Pangolins for the first time to learn their ecology.

Geographic Range:

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered, CITES: Appendix I, WPA: schedule I

30.  Chinese PangolinNews: Coronavirus pandemic

Geographic Range: Himalayan foothills of Nepal, southern Bhutan, north and north-eastern India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Viet Nam, north-western Thailand, and across southern China

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered, CITES: Appendix II, WPA: Schedule I

31.  RosewoodNews: India proposed to remove it from Appendix II of CITES

Geographic Range: India (Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Sikkim); Indonesia (Jawa); Nepal

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable, CITES: Appendix II

32.  Scaly foot snail/Sea PangolinNews: First marine species to be assessed as officially endangered due to the potential threat of deep-sea mining

Geographic Range: three hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar: Longqi vent field, Kairei vent field and the Solitaire vent

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered

33.  GharialNews: Odisha released five gharials into the Satkosia gorge of Mahanadi- the southernmost limit of gharials’ home range in India

Geographic Range: Bangladesh, Nepal, India (Son River, Girwa River, the Ganges, Mahanadi River and the Chambal River.)

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered, WPA: Schedule I

34.  Lesser FloricanNews: Supreme Court constituted a high-powered committee to urgently frame and implement an emergency response plan for the protection of Lesser Florican.The bird’s population has rapidly declined due to various threats including mortality by collision with infrastructure, particularly power lines and wind turbines

Geographic Range: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra 

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered, WPA: Schedule I

35.  Dugong or Sea CowNews: Thailand named a sea-cow Yamil

Geographic Range: coastal and inland waters between East Africa and Vanuatu between latitudes of about 27° north and south of Equator, India (Andaman and Lakshadweep)

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable, CITES: Appendix I, WPA: Schedule I

36.  Greater One-horned Rhino/Indian RhinoNews: Proposal to introduce in Jim Corbett National Park

Geographic Range: 90% of the population concentrated in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park. Outside Kaziranga, rhinos are found in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.

Conservation Status: IUCN: Vulnerable, CITES: Appendix I, WPA: Schedule I

37.  Asiatic Golden CatNews: Six different colour morphs discovered in Arunachal Pradesh

Geographic Range: Nepal, Bhutan, north-east India, Myanmar, China, and South-East Asia (Thailand, Sumatra and Indonesia)

Conservation Status: IUCN: Near Threatened

38.  Purple FrogNews: to be designated as Kerala’s state animal

Geographic Range: The Western Ghats in India, and is known from only two localities, both in Idukki District, Kerala

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered,

39.  HangulNews: The massive decline in the population

Geographic Range: Kashmir; State animal of Jammu & Kashmir

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically endangered, CITES: Appendix I, WPA: Schedule I

40.  Painted storkNews: Deaths in Koonthankulam Birds’ sanctuary (Tamil Nadu)

Geographic Range: wetlands of the plains of tropical Asia south of the Himalayas in South Asia and extending into Southeast Asia

Conservation Status: IUCN: Near Threatened

41.  Nilgiri TahrNews: Rise in population in Mukurthi National Park.

Geographic Range: Endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered; WPA: Schedule I

42.  Peacock Parachute Spider/ Gooty tarantulaNews: Spotted in the Pakkamalai Reserve Forests (Tamil Nadu)

Geographic Range: endemic to India and its home range is less than 100 sq. km in a reserve forest between Nandyal and Giddalur in Andhra Pradesh

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered

43.  Malabar CivetNews: Spotted in the urban centre during coronavirus lockdown

Geographic Range: Endemic to the Western Ghats

Conservation Status: IUCN: Critically Endangered, CITES: Appendix I, WPA: Schedule I

44. Sangai (Brow antlered deer or
dancing deer or Eld’s
deer)
News: Conservation issues

Geographic Range: Endemic to Manipur (it is the state animal of Manipur), found in Keibul Lamjao National Park;  largely seen over the floating biomass, locally called “phumdi”

Conservation Status: IUCN: Endangered, WPA: Schedule I

45.Hog deerNews: Increase in population in Manas National Park

Habitat: Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; India; Nepal; Pakistan

Conservation Status: IUCN Endangered, WPA: Schedule III

46. VulturesNews: The current population of vultures in Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centres (VCBC) in India is 700.

The population of vultures had drastically reduced after feeding on cattle carcass with contaminated veterinary drug diclofenac which caused renal failures in the birds.

In 2008, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfareprohibited the manufacture of Diclofenac for animal use and later also restricted packaging of multi-dose vials of Diclofenac to single dose for humans.

Conservation Status: 9 species of vultures found in India. The critically endangered and endangered ones are:

  • White-rumped vulture:  Critically Endangered
  • Slender-billed vulture: Critically Endangered
  •  Long-billed vulture: Critically Endangered
  • Redheaded vulture: Critically Endangered
  •  Egyptian vulture: Endangered

White-rumped, Long-Billed and Slender Billed Vultures are listed in Schedule I of the WPA

 

This article is a part of the Series of Articles Important for Prelims 2020. To see the full list of articles, visit this page.
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