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Gujarat to draw up action plan on wildlife conservation with IUCN

Ahmedabad, Jan 28 : The Gujarat government will draw up an action plan on wildlife conservation in association with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“In the first week of February, we shall be drawing the outline of future action programme on conservation with IUCN,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests C.N Pandey said.

The state government recently signed a MoU with IUCN with a view to leverage knowledge-sharing with species-specific groups within the international body and to conduct research.

Asiatic Lions are the stars of Gujarat wildlife. But the partnership between the state and IUCN would go beyond it, and take into consideration all the endangered local species such as turtles and dugong (a rare marine mammal), Pandey said. It will develop strategies for conservation.

“We are organising a workshop in February with IUCN on raptor (prey birds) conservation,” Pandey said.

Gujarat has a noticeable population of prey bird’s species such as harriers, falcons, eagles, kites in the Velavadar Blackbuck National Park area, Bhavnagar.

The harrier roost at Velavadar is amongst the largest in the world, experts say. Harriers belong to the hawk family.

“We would benefit from IUCN tie-up in terms of international research too, which is important for conservation, as a large number of species happen to be globe-rangers,” Pandey said.

Citing the example of migrating species from Gujarat, Pandey said turtles migrate from the region to Australia.

Vultures migrate to Pakistan. Their behaviour needs to be understood for conservation.

The head count of white-rumped vultures in Gujarat has decreased from 793 in 2010 to 577 in 2012, as per the fourth vulture census conducted by Forest Department and GEER Foundation. The action plan would devise ways to prevent such declines.

In the past, support from IUCN has helped state in taking measures to safeguard the species such as wild ass, sloth bear, and also the mangroves and wetlands including the Flamingo City of Kutch.

 
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