AHMEDABAD: India will pitch for inclusion of the endangered Asiatic Elephant, Great Indian Bustard and Bengal Florican in the world list of Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) during its conference in Gujarat next week, an official said.
The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of CMS would be held from February 17 in Gandhinagar, where environmentalists and wildlife conservation experts from 126 signatory parties across the globe will converge to discuss strategies on saving the endangered migratory species.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the five-day conference, which would also be attended by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, the official said.
The COP-CMS is an environmental treaty under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
"The CMS has an appendix (list of endangered migratory species). India will propose for the inclusion of the Asiatic Elephant, Great Indian Bustard and Bengal Florican in the CMS appendix during the summit starting next week," Gujarat Chief Conservator of Forests Dr Dinesh Kumar Sharma told PTI.
Special efforts are made for the conservation of migratory species included in the CMS appendix across countries which are part of these UN-inspired efforts to save them, he said.
"As per the procedure, any country can propose inclusion of any species in the appendix. Discussions are then held over it at the conference. A decision is taken after thorough discussions between member countries. India will push for the inclusion of three species," he said.
The Gujarat government is the co-host along with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for the conference held every three years.
India will head the COP-CMS for next three years after the conference is held in Gandhinagar. The 12th conference was held in Philippines.
The mascot for the COP-CMS to be held in Gandhinagar is the Great Indian Bustard, Sharma said. India will also try to get dolphins included in the list of protected species, he said.
The Great Indian Bustard is among the heaviest flying birds. Once common on dry plains, as few as 150 of them were estimated to survive in 2018.
The Asiatic Elephant is found throughout the Indian sub-continent and South-East Asia. Since 1986, it has been listed as endangered as its population has declined by at least 50 per cent over the last three generations.
The Bengal Florican is native to the Indian sub- continent, Cambodia and Vietnam.It is listed as critically endangered because fewer than 1,000 birds were estimated to be alive as of 2017.
India has been party to CMS since 1983.
It has also signed a non-legally binding Memorandum of Understanding with the CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian cranes, marine turtles, dugongs and raptors.
During the five-day conference, discussions will be held on various topics, including conservation of specific animals like jaguars, vultures and migratory species in the Himalayan landscape, and control of illegal trade of wildlife, including migratory species, Sharma added.