SC-NBWL Approves Conservation Of Caracal

The Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife (SC-NBWL) in its 60th meeting approved inclusion of Caracal, a medium size wild cat found in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, into the list of ‘critically endangered’ species for taking up conservation efforts with financial support under Centrally sponsored Scheme-Development of Wildlife Habitat.

About Caracal

  • Caracal is a medium-sized wild cat, which is shy, nocturnal and native to Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and India.
  • The Indian caracal is an ‘endangered’ animal and listed as a schedule-I species in the Wildlife Act, 1972.
  • Habitat: In India Caracals are mostly found in the tropical dry deciduous and tropical thorn and shrub forests of Central and Western India. A recent study concluded that caracals have most likely become extinct in Madhya Pradesh. These cats are seen occasionally in Rajasthan and Gujarat states though not common in either of the states.
  • Local Names: In Madhya Pradesh it is locally called as ‘Shea-gosh’ or ‘siyah-gush’. The black tufted ears of this cat are one of its most distinguishing features. In Kutch dialect of Gujarat Caracals are locally referred to as ‘Hornotro’ which means killer of a Blackbuck whereas in Rajasthan it is known as ‘JungleeBilao’ or Wildcat.
  • Conservation Status: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Caracal as “least concern” but in India they are “endangered”.
  • Reason for Population Loss: Rapid loss of scrub and thorn habitat and unchecked human activates in the caracals habitat.

Advisory for Management of Human-Wildlife Conflict

  • The Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife (SC-NBWL) in its 60th meeting held recently has approved the advisory for management of Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) in the country.
  • The advisory makes important prescriptions for the States/ Union Territories for dealing with Human-Wildlife conflict situations and seeks expedited inter-departmental coordinated and effective actions.

Finer Points of this Advisory

  • The advisory envisages empowering gram panchayats in dealing with the problematic wild animals as per the section 11 (1) (b) of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • Stresses on utilising add-on coverage under the Pradhan MantriFasalBimaYojna for crop compensation against crop damage due to HWC and augmenting fodder and water sources within the forest areas are some key steps envisaged to reduce HWC. Payment of a portion of ex-gratia as interim relief within 24 hours of the incident to the victim/family.
  • Prescribes inter-departmental committees at local/state level, adoption of early warning systems, creation of barriers, dedicated circle wise Control Rooms with toll free hotline numbers which could be operated on 24X7 basis; identification of hotspots and formulation and implementation of special plans for improved stall-fed farm animal, etc.

About NBWL

  • The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA).
  • The Standing Committee of NBWL considers proposals after a series of levels of scrutiny and has recommendations of the State Chief Wildlife Warden, State Government and the State Board for Wildlife.
  • During the meetings of SC-NBWL, the views of the expert members are taken into consideration before arriving at decisions.