In news: The mainland Asian elephant is likely to be among the ten endangered migratory species to be included in the global list for international protection at the 13th CoP of CMS

13th CoP to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

  • It will be held in Gandhinagar in Feb 2020
  • Theme: ‘Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home’
  • Gibi - The Great Indian Bustard, was announced as the mascot for the conference.
  • Over 1,800 delegates from 130 nations are expected to attend the UN summit, which brings together states through which migratory animals pass, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.
  • India has proposed to include following three species in the Appendix I of CMS
    1. Indian elephant
    2. Great Indian Bustard
    3. Bengal Florican
  • Jaguar, Urial, Little Bustard, Antipodean Albatross, Oceanic White-tip Shark, smooth hammer-head shark are other species which could be included in the list of endangered migratory species.
  • Under the proposal Indian government intends to sign an agreement with the range countries to protect these birds from hunting, power-line collision and habitat loss.

Implications of the Inclusion of a species in the global list for international protection under CMS 

  • It would give the species international conservation importance.
  • It would enable range countries to collaborate, to protect the species as they naturally migrate across international boundaries.

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

  • As an environmental treaty of the United Nations, CMS provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. 
  • CMS brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.
  • As the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes, CMS complements and co-operates with a number of other international organizations, NGOs and partners in the media as well as in the corporate sector.
  • It contains two appendices 
    • Appendix I: Migratory species threatened with extinction
    • Appendix II: Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation 

Indian Elephant

  • There are about 47 lakh elephants in the wild in the 13 range countries, with 60% of them in India. 
  • They are struggling to survive in the continually shrinking, degraded and fragmented habitat and are frequently coming into conflict with people, apart from threats of poaching and illegal trade.
  • It is known to naturally migrate across international borders; it faces similar challenges in other range countries, and there is need for a concerted action to protect them



Great Indian Bustard

  • It is a large bird with a horizontal body and long bare legs, giving it an ostrich-like appearance, this bird is among the heaviest of the flying birds.
  • Their population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. 
  • Bustards generally favour flat open landscapes with minimal visual obstruction and disturbance, therefore adapt well in grasslands.
  • It Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972
  • They face threats of hunting, and collision with power-lines during their migration to neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan and Nepal                                           


 Bengal Florican

  • The Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis), also called Bengal bustard, is a bustard species native to the Indian subcontinent, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
  • Fewer than 1,000 adult Bengal floricans remain in the world in two, very fragmented populations. 
  • One of them is in the grasslands of the terai, the fertile foothills of the Himalayas, which spans across Nepal and Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh.