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Three Indian vulture species in global list for highest protection

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Ten critically endangered vulture species in the world, including three from India, are set to get the highest degree of protection, according to conservationists.

India, ahead of the international talks in October, has proposed that it would play a leading role in efforts to conserve nature's scavengers, convention organisers said on Friday.

Three of the nine species of vultures in -- oriental white-backed, slender-billed and long-billed -- are on the brink of extinction.

The Bombay Natural History Society with the assistance of British charity Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is breeding them in captivity.

Ten vulture species, including some critically endangered ones, have been proposed for listing for the highest degree of protection, the United Nations Environment Programme said.

Currently, they are classified as 'Critically Endangered' or 'Endangered' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of species threatened with extinction.

It said that Iran, at a meeting of the convention's scientific body to decide on the wildlife species to be proposed for listing, recommended the Indian gazelle or chinkara for listing.

The meeting concluded in Bonn on Thursday.

More than 120 countries will gather in Manila in Philippines for the 12th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals or CMS COP12 from October 23-28 to address a range of issues facing the world's endangered wildlife.

A high number of proposals for greater protection under the convention have been tabled for negotiation, including very well-known species such as the chimpanzee, giraffe, leopard, lions and the whale shark.

Countries convening in Manila will also seek to avert a total collapse of vultures in Africa, through a multi-species plan aimed at promoting countries to take urgent action on the ground to conserve these cornerstone species that are critical for providing essential ecosystem services for human health.

Threats such as lead poisoning, underwater noise, unsustainable tourism and renewable energy conflicts with animals will also be at the centre of the intergovernmental negotiations, the UNEP said.

"The particularly high number of animals proposed for protection under the convention is a worrying sign of the decline of international wildlife across the board," an official statement quoting convention Executive Secretary Bradnee Chambers said.

He said urgent action is needed to ensure the survival of these species and CMS COP12 will be a major opportunity for governments collectively to decide how they can cooperate on a way forward.

The Przewalski's horse, a relic from the Ice Age, is the only remaining successor of the wild horse. Fewer than 400 animals live in the wild.

The Gobi bear, cousin of the brown bear and the only bear living in a desert, and the African wild ass, the most endangered equid in the world, may be granted better protection at COP12.

Illegal killing of birds threatens populations between Europe and Africa and an intergovernmental task force working over the last three years has made good progress and the model is proposed to be replicated in Asia, the convention organisers said.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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