though-hunters-lose-interest-in-red-panda-traps-still-snare-endangered-mammal-summary

Context: As per a study of TRAFFIC, Red Panda has less number of hunters owing to loss of interest in animal products by the younger generations of people across its Himalayan habitat.

  • However, the Red Panda is falling prey to traps laid for other animals such as the musk deer and wild pigs.

 

RED PANDA

About

  1. It is a reddish-brown arboreal mammal,feeds mostly on bamboo, but also eats eggs, birds, and insects.
  2. It is the state animal of Sikkim.
  3. It is nowhere closely related to the iconic black-and-white giant panda.
  4. It is endemic to the foothills of eastern Himalayas ranging from Western Nepal to China.
  5. Its survival is crucial for the eastern and north-eastern and the eastern Himalayan forests.
  6. The four Indian states – Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and West Bengal house about 5,000-6,000 red pandas.
  7. An estimated 14,500 animals are left in the wild across Nepal, Bhutan, India, China and Myanmar.

Status

  • IUCN Red List - Endangered
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 -Schedule I
  • CITES - Appendix I

Protected areas

  1. Kanchendzonga National Park (NP) — Sikkim
  2. Neora Valley NP – West Bengal
  3. Namdapha National Park – Arunachal Pradesh
  4. Singalila National Park – West Bengal

Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) for Red Pandas

It is undertaken in zoos around the world.

  1. The goals of the Red Panda GSMP are to contribute to the conservation of red pandas both directly by:
    1. Maintaining a genetically and demographically sustainable and behaviourally competent “back up” population.
    2. Having the potential to supply individuals for supplementation or reintroduction programs.
  2. And indirectly by
    1. Educating the public and raising their awareness about red pandas and their conservation
    2. Providing financial, technical, scientific and other support and expertise to red panda field conservation and research work.

Threats

  1. Habitat Loss and fragmentation due to land use changes.
  2. Natural disasters like Cyclones, floods etc
  3. Natural Low birth rate and a high death rate in the wild.
  4. Poaching for meat and fur, besides illegal capture for the pet trade.

 

More on the Report

About the Report and Methodology

  1. The report by TRAFFIC is titled “Assessment of illegal trade-related threats to Red Panda in India and selected neighbouring range countries” 
  2. It has analysed poaching and illegal trade of the species by taking base of a ten-year period from July 2010 to June 2019.
  3. The research team took recourse to seizures, the market surveys, surveys of e-commerce websites and village-level surveys.

Findings

  1. The four Indian states – Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and West Bengal house about 5,000-6,000 red pandas.
    1. Arunachal Pradesh is presumed to hold the largest red panda population in the country.
  2. China stands at top with a population of 6,000-7,000.
  3. Nepal accounts for 580 animals, while Bhutan and Myanmar have no estimate of the animal’s population.

 

JV’s Prelims Corner

TRAFFIC

  • It is a  Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, is a leading NGO working on wildlife trade in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
  • It was set up jointly by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • It aims to ensure that Trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.
  •  

SAWEN

  • South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) is an inter-governmental wildlife law enforcement support body of South Asian countries namely - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 
  • SAWEN was officially launched in January, 2011 in Paro Bhutan. 
  • It promotes regional cooperation to combat wildlife crime in South Asia. 
  • It focuses on policy harmonization; institutional capacity strengthening through knowledge and intelligence sharing; and collaboration with regional and international partners to enhance wildlife law enforcement in the member countries. 
  • SAWEN operates its activities from the Secretariat based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Poaching

No incidences of poaching or illegal trade  in India or Bhutan.

  • This may indicate the reduction in traditional demand for such products with the younger generation taking over reigns.
  • It may also indicate success of Awareness campaigns undertaken.

Recommendations

  1. It stressed the need for community- based conservation and protection for the species as its habitat stretches across remote areas.
  2. The report also recommended trans-boundary law enforcement cooperation through the use of multi-government platforms like SAWEN (South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network).

Image Source: The HIndu