In News: The Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife(SC-NBWL) in its 60th meeting held on 05th January 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
- The advisory envisages empowering gram panchayats in dealing with the problematic wild animals as per the section 11 (1) (b) of WildLife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Utilising add-on coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Yojna 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.
- The advisory also envisages prescribing 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.
- Some of the other important approvals took place during the meeting are, inclusion of Caracal, a medium sized wildcat 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.
- Now, there are 22 wildlife species under the recovery programme for critically endangered species.
- Wild cat native to Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and India.
- Habitat India: Presence of these Cats has been reported from only three states which are Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
- In Madhya Pradesh it is locally called as Shea-gosh or siyah-gush.
- In Gujarat, Caracals are locally referred to as Hornotro which means killer of a Blackbuck.
- In Rajasthan it is known as Junglee Bilao or Wildcat.
- Caracal occurs in Sariska Tiger Reserve and Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.
- UCN Red List: Least Concern since 2002
- Threats: Habitat loss due to agricultural expansion, the building of roads and settlements
- CITES status: (1) African caracal populations – Appendix II; (2) Asian populations – Appendix I.