Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Species in news: Caracal


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Caracal and its IUCN status

Mains level: Species Recovery Programme of NBWL

The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and MoEFCC last month included the caracal, a medium-sized wildcat found in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, in the list of critically endangered species under the Species Recovery Programme.

Caracal in India

IUCN status: Least Concerned

  • The wildcat has long legs, a short face, long canine teeth, and distinctive ears — long and pointy, with tufts of black hair at their tips.
  • The iconic ears are what give the animal its name — caracal comes from the Turkish karakulak, meaning ‘black ears’.
  • In India, it is called siya gosh, a Persian name that translates as ‘black Ear’.
  • A Sanskrit fable exists about a small wild cat named deergha-karn or ‘long-eared’.
  • While it flourishes in parts of Africa, its numbers in Asia are declining.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Wildlife:  Naturally found in

  1. Blue-finned Mahseer: Cauvery River
  2. Irrawaddy Dolphin: Chambal River
  3. Rusty-spotted Cat: Eastern Ghats

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched? (CSP 2018)

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

In history and myth

  • The earliest evidence of the caracal in the subcontinent comes from a fossil dating back to the civilization of the Indus Valley c. 3000-2000 BC.
  • The caracal has traditionally been valued for its litheness and extraordinary ability to catch birds in flight; it was a favourite coursing or hunting animal in medieval India.
  • Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88) had siyah-goshdar khana, stables that housed large numbers of coursing caracal.
  • It finds mention in Abul Fazl’s Akbarnama, like a hunting animal in the time of Akbar (1556-1605).
  • Descriptions and illustrations of the caracal can be found in medieval texts such as the Anvar-i-Suhayli, Tutinama, Khamsa-e-Nizami, and Shahnameh.
  • The East India Company’s Robert Clive is said to have been presented with a caracal after he defeated Siraj-ud-daullah in the Battle of Plassey (1757).

Back2Basics: Species Recovery Programme of NBWL

  • The programme is one of the three components of the centrally funded scheme, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH).
  • Started in 2008-09, IDWH is meant for providing support to protected areas, protection of wildlife outside protected areas and recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats.
  • So far, the recovery programme for critically endangered species in India now includes 22 wildlife species.
  • The NBWL in 2018 has added four species- the Northern River Terrapin, Clouded Leopard, Arabian Sea Humpback Whale, Red Panda- to the list.
  • Other species include the Snow Leopard, Bustard (including Floricans), Dolphin, Hangul, Nilgiri Tahr, Marine Turtles, Dugongs, Edible Nest Swiftlet, Asian Wild Buffalo, Nicobar Megapode, Manipur Brow-antlered Deer, Vultures, Malabar Civet, Indian Rhinoceros, Asiatic Lion, Swamp Deer and Jerdon’s Courser.

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