April 20, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

PROTECTING INDIA’s CARACAL

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TAG: GS 3: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT

THE CONTEXT: The plight of the caracal is an enigmatic species facing extinction in India and it has garnered attention from conservationists.

EXPLANATION:

  • The caracal, a rare and elusive species, plays a crucial ecological role in India’s ecosystems.
  • Despite its historical association with royalty and nobility as a coursing animal, the caracal’s population has dwindled, pushing it towards the brink of extinction.
  • The four-year-long research conducted involved a comprehensive examination of historical texts, journals, archival records, and interactions with various stakeholders, including historians, forest officers, and local community members.
  • By collating scattered information, a concise yet informative narrative that sheds light on the caracal’s historical significance and contemporary conservation challenges has been produced.

Reviving Caracal Habitat

  • Reviving grasslands and scrublands, the natural habitats of caracals, emerges as a critical aspect of their conservation.
  • Land policies categorizing such habitats as ‘wasteland’ pose a threat to the caracal’s survival, necessitating urgent prioritization and protection of these ecosystems.

Historical Relationship with Humans

  • The caracal’s historical relationship with humans, particularly royalty and nobility, as a coursing animal underscores its cultural significance.
  • However, the need to balance historical perceptions with contemporary conservation priorities to ensure the species’ long-term survival has been highlighted.

Caracal:

  • Caracal is a small wild cat noted for its long-tufted ears and a reddish-tan or sandy-brown coat.
  • Caracals are naturally found in India, particularly in Northwestern India. They are also found in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and arid areas of Pakistan.
  • Habitat: the Aravalli hill range; semi-deserts, steppes, savannah, scrubland, dry forest and moist woodland or evergreen forest; prefers open terrain and drier, scrubby, arid habitats
  • As per estimates in a 2015 study, some 28 caracal individuals are found in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan and scientists estimate around 20 in Kutch in Gujarat. These are reported to be the only two populations of the cat that remain in India.
  • Historically, the caracal was found all across Central India and the Indo-Gangetic plains. But there has been no sighting of the animal in these regions for the last 40 years.
  • In 2021, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) announced a Species Recovery Plan for the conservation and population revival of 22 species in India, including the caracal.
  • The caracal is listed as ‘Least Concern’ in the IUCN Red List in India and falls in the Schedule-I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

           

SOURCE: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/interviews/wildlife-biodiversity/protect-india-s-scrublands-to-save-the-caracal-dharmendra-khandal-ishan-dhar-95287

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