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PIB Summary for UPSC

1-March -2024

1. Cabinet approves establishment of International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA)

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies
GS3 – Environment – Conservation – Important species Critical for UPSC as it involves international conservation, aligning with sustainable development goals, and India’s leadership in biodiversity.
  • The Union Cabinet approves the establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) in India, allocating Rs.150 crore over five years, aiming to enhance global cooperation for big cat conservation.
 Additional information on this news:
  • The Union Cabinet approves the establishment of the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) in India with a one-time budgetary support of Rs.150 crore for five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28.
  • The initiative stems from India’s leadership in big cat conservation, as highlighted by the Prime Minister on Global Tiger Day 2019 and the 50th anniversary of India’s Project Tiger in 2023.
  • IBCA aims to bring together 96 big cat range countries, non-range countries, conservation partners, scientific organizations, and business groups to collaborate on big cat conservation.
  • The alliance seeks to establish networks, share successful practices, and provide financial support to strengthen the conservation agenda and reverse the decline in big cat populations.
  • IBCA’s multipronged approach includes knowledge sharing, capacity building, networking, advocacy, financial and resource support, research, technical assistance, and education and awareness.
  • The framework envisions collaboration through a common platform, brand ambassadors, and a focus on integrating biodiversity policies with sustainable development goals (SDGs).
  • IBCA’s governance structure includes an Assembly of Members, Standing Committee, and a Secretariat headquartered in India, with an initial budget of Rs. 150 crore from the Indian government.
  • Contributions from bilateral and multilateral agencies, public sector organizations, and international institutions will augment the alliance’s financial resources.
  • The initiative aligns with SDGs, promoting sustainable land-use practices, habitat restoration, and ecosystem-based approaches for biodiversity conservation.
  • IBCA emphasizes the importance of safeguarding big cats and their habitats for climate adaptation, water and food security, and the well-being of communities dependent on these ecosystems.
Conservation of Big Cat Species
Need for Conservation
  • Ecological Role: Big cats are apex predators, crucial for maintaining ecosystem balance by regulating prey populations.
  • Biodiversity Indicators: Their presence is an indicator of overall ecosystem health.
  • Economic Value: Big cats attract tourism, generating revenue and supporting local livelihoods.
  • Cultural Significance: Many big cats hold significant cultural and symbolic value in various societies.
  • Habitat Loss and Fragmentation: Deforestation, agricultural expansion, and infrastructure development destroy and fragment big cat habitats.
  • Human-Wildlife Conflict: Retaliatory killings, livestock depredation, and competition for resources lead to conflicts with humans.
  • Poaching and Illegal Trade: Big cats are hunted for their skins, body parts used in traditional medicine, and the live pet trade.
  • Limited Resources and Capacity: Conservation efforts often face funding shortages and lack of trained personnel.
Way Forward
  • Protected Areas and Connectivity: Expanding protected areas and establishing corridors to allow for gene flow and reduce isolation.
  • Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation: Community-based initiatives, compensation schemes, and innovative solutions to minimize conflict.
  • Combating Poaching: Strengthening anti-poaching measures, intelligence networks, and enforcement of wildlife laws.
  • Community Engagement: Involving local communities in conservation efforts, providing alternative livelihoods, and promoting benefits of co-existence.
  • International Cooperation: Collaboration for transboundary conservation, tackling the illegal wildlife trade, and sharing best practices.
Practice Question:  Critically examine the challenges faced in the conservation of big cat species in India. Suggest a multi-pronged approach for their effective conservation. (150 words/10 m)

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