A recent study on the Indian star tortoise distributed across South Asia has revealed that the genetic diversity of the species as well as its habitat has suffered major losses because of rampant illegal trade.
Why in news?
- The research report said the species is facing twin challenges of a threat to its habitat at one level and loss of its genetic diversity at the other.
- It calls for a proper conservation strategy to combat the fragmented distribution and explicitly recommends intensive genetic screening of founder individuals or isolated adult colonies by implementing scientific breeding.
Key facts about Indian Star Tortoise
- Indian star tortoise is found in the central and Southern parts of India, in West Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- Conservation status:
- IUCN Status: Vulnerable
- Convention on International Trade in Species (CITES): Appendix I
- Wild Life Protection Act 1972: Schedule IV
- Threat: The highly fragmented habitat of the species, is greatly influenced by an increased level of urbanisation and agricultural practices throughout its range.
- Conservation Efforts:
- At the 18th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP18) held in 2019, Indian Star Tortoise was up-listed to Appendix I from Appendix II owing to its over-exploitation.
Q1) What is CITES?
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. It aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
Source: Indian star tortoise faces twin challenges of habitat loss and genetic diversity, finds study