India for Providing Highest Conservation of Asian Elephant and Indian Bustard

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India is considering to include Asian Elephant and the Great Indian Bustard to the global conservation list during the 13th CoP of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).


  • To be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, the 13 CoP of CMS will see India suggesting providing the highest conservational status to Asian Elephants and the Great Indian Bustard.
  • CMS is an environment treaty under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • The Conference is set to begin in Gujarat from February 17 and will end on 22.
  • 130 member countries will attend the conference.
  • India is a party to the treaty since 1983.
  • Already the technical experts of the CMS have approved the inclusion of Asian Elephant and the Bustard to the conservation list and also many party countries are of the same opinion.
  • As such, India is expecting that the two species will get the approval of the parties to accord conservation status.


  • By including the elephant and the bustard into the global conservation list, formally known as Appendix-1, will allow India to coax neighbouring countries where these animals migrate to direct more resources to protect them.
  • For example, Great Indian Bustards are known to migrate to Pakistan-side of That desert. There, the bird is hunted for game. With the inclusion of the bustard in the list, India can call on Pakistan to protect the bird from hunting.
  • Currently, there are 173 species in Appendix-1.

The Great Indian Bustard

  • The Great Indian Bustard is a critically endangered species with its habitat being in the Indian subcontinent.
  • These large birds are one of the heaviest flying birds in the world.
  • Their habitat is found across the dry plains of India and Pakistan.
  • The birds are commonly found in grasslands and scrub.
  • In 2018, only 150 individuals were found in the wild.
  • While the bird is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 in India, in Pakistan, there is very little protection to the bird.
  • Hunting is rampant in Pakistan.
  • The historical range of Great Indian Bustard in India includes Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • Today, the bird is only in isolated pockets of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

Asian Elephant

  • As per the Project Elephant Census in 2017, conducted by the Union Environment Ministry, there are 29,964 elephants in the country.
  • Under the Wildlife Protection Act, the elephant gets the highest protection.
  • But, elephants in the country tend to move across the border, especially at the borders of Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan.
  • By including the pachyderm into the global conservation list, they will get protection from these countries.


  • The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) or Bonn convention was signed in 1979 and came into force in 1983.
  • It aims to conserve migratory species within their migratory ranges.
  • It is the only global and UN-based organisation that deals with the conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic, and avian migratory species.
  • The Convention gives policy directions, guidelines, action plans, etc., on conservation of migratory species.

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