Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Caracals on the brink of extinction in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Caracals and their habitat in India

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • With only an estimated 50 individuals remaining, predominantly in western India, the caracal (Caracal caracal schmitzi) is on the verge of extinction in the country.
  • Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan and Kutch in Gujarat are the last strongholds for caracals in India, hosting around 28 and 20 individuals, respectively.

About Caracals

  • Caracals are small wild cats known for their long ears with tufts and a reddish-tan or sandy-brown fur. It is called Siya Gosh in India.
  • It is nocturnal animal typically preys upon small mammals, birds, and rodents.
  • They live naturally in India, especially in Northwestern India. They are also found in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
  • They are found in Aravalli hill range, semi-deserts, savannahs, scrublands, and dry forests.
  • Caracals used to live all over Central India and the Indo-Gangetic plains, but they haven’t been spotted in those areas for 40 years.

Conservation Status

  • Caracals are listed as ‘Least Concern‘ on the IUCN Red List globally.
  • It is listed as Near Threatened in India,
  • It falls in the Schedule-I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Protection Efforts

  • In 2021, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) announced a plan to recover and increase the population of 22 species in India, including caracals.
  • Areas like Kutch, Aravalli mountains, Malwa plateau, and Bundelkhand region have been identified as potential habitats, with the Ranthambore-Kuno Landscape being a key conservation site.



In India, if a species of tortoise is declared protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, what does it imply?

(a) It enjoys the same level of protection as the tiger.

(b) It no longer exists in the wild, a few individuals are under captive protection; and now it is impossible to prevent its extinction.

(c) It is endemic to a particular region of India.

(d) Both B and C stated above are correct in this context.

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