WWF, TRAFFIC say tiger count rose in 2016

Q.  Amidst falling numbers of leopards and marine animals in India, which animal count rose in 2016?
- Published on 29 Dec 16

a. Lions
b. Tigers
c. Cheetahs
d. None of the above

ANSWER: Tigers
WWF, TRAFFIC say tiger count rose in 2016More tigers and leopards were poached in 2016 than in any year of the previous decade, pangolins were killed in the hundreds while thousands of marine animals perished due to the debiliating effect of climate change.

Yet, the good news is that the number of tigers still rose.

The records of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) show that at least 129 tigers and 419 leopards died in 2016 as compared to 91 tigers and 397 leopards in 2015.

Of these, at least 50 tigers and 127 leopards were poached, a record in the last 10 years.

Over 20 elephants, 18 rhinos, multiple bears (sloth, Asiatic brown and black), two snow leopards and several sea-cucumber, which are highly sought-after in Southeast Asia, were either caught being poached or their harvest such as skin and claws was seized till November 2016.

"Fifty leopards, mostly from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and at least eight elephants died in road or train accidents alone.

A large number of animals had died not just because of poaching but due to negligence in the absence of proper management plans.

Also, nature's wrath, inspired by man-induced climate change, played its part, killing at least 1,800 endangered aquatic and marine animals in first three months alone.

India recently hosted "Third Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation", where Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to protect the country's feline population.

India is now home to 2,226 tigers, 70 per cent of those in the wild in Asia. Prakash Javadekar, then the environment and forest minister, was quoted at the conference as saying that the number could be as high as 2,500.

"17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CoP17 CITES)" held in South Africa in September barred tiger farming (or breeding) and listed pangolins in CITES Appendix I for their protection, considering that the species is now threatened with extinction.

The WWF Living Planning report Oct 2016 says that about 41 per cent of mammals, 46 per cent reptiles, 57 per cent amphibians and 70 per cent freshwater fish are "threatened with extinction" in India. Four of the 385 species of mammals are already extinct in India.

The United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol in June reported that the environmental crime industry, worth $258 billion, was the fastest-growing among crime syndicates.

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