DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: 20 March 2024

Captive Elephant (Transfer or Transport) Rules, 2024

Source: TH

Why in News: The government has announced new regulations known as the Captive Elephant (Transfer or Transport) Rules, 2024, which relax the requirements for the transfer of elephants within or across state boundaries.Captive elephant transfer rules notified | Latest News India - Hindustan  Times

Amendment to Wildlife Protection Act

  • Prior to August 2022, the Wildlife Protection Act prohibited the trade of both wild and captive elephants.
  • Amendments to the Act introduced an exemption allowing for the transfer of captive elephants for the first time.Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill 2021 - Current Affairs

Conditions for Transfer

  • Captive elephants may be transferred under certain conditions:
  • When the current owner is unable to adequately care for the elephant, and the transfer would result in improved upkeep.
  • Upon approval by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the respective state, if deemed necessary for the elephant’s better maintenance.

Health Assessment and Habitat Evaluation

  • Before a transfer within a state, the elephant’s health must be certified by a veterinarian.
  • The Deputy Conservator of Forests must ensure the suitability of both the current and prospective habitats.
  • The Chief Wildlife Warden has the authority to approve or reject the transfer based on these assessments.

Inter-State Transfer: Similar conditions apply if the transfer involves moving the elephant across state borders.

Genetic Profile Registration: Before a transfer, the genetic profile of the elephant must be registered with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Elephant Transfer Conditions:

  • Accompaniment: During transfer, the elephant must be accompanied by a mahout and an elephant assistant.
  • Health Certification: A health certificate from a veterinary practitioner confirming the elephant’s fitness for transport and absence of musth, infectious, or contagious diseases is mandatory.
  • Quarantine: If the elephant has a contagious disease, transport should occur only after the completion of the prescribed quarantine period advised by the veterinary practitioner.
  • Pre-Transport Care: The elephant must be adequately fed and provided water before loading.
  • En Route Care: Provision of food and water for the elephant during the journey is essential.
  • Tranquilization: Tranquilizers or sedatives may be administered to control nervous or temperamental elephants as per the veterinary practitioner’s prescription.

Parliamentary Committee Recommendation:

  • Committee Proposal: A Parliamentary Committee, chaired by Congress Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh, proposed the removal of the exemption clause for elephants.
  • Restricted Exemption: The committee suggested limiting the exemption to elephants owned by temple trusts.

Final Version of the Act:

  • Retained Clause: Despite the committee’s recommendation, the amended act retains the provision allowing the movement of captive elephants.
  • Ownership Certificate Requirement: Only elephants with a valid certificate of ownership are eligible for movement under the amended act.

National Heritage Animal Declaration:

In 2010, the Government of India declared the elephant as the national heritage animal based on the recommendations of the standing committee of the national board for wildlife.



Genetic rescue in Ranthambore National Park

Source: DTE

Why in News: In a recent study, genetic rescue emerged as a proposed tactic to safeguard the tiger populace within Ranthambore National Park.Genetic rescue is proposed as a method to conserve Ranthambore National  Park's tiger population.

About Genetic Rescue

  • Definition: Genetic rescue involves increasing population growth by introducing new genetic diversity through gene flow from a larger, healthier population to a smaller one.
  • Practice: Wildlife managers transfer individuals from a larger population to a smaller one to enhance genetic variation and aid population growth.
  • Aim of Genetic Rescue: The strategy aims to mitigate genetic issues, decrease extinction risks, and enhance the survival chances of endangered species and populations.
  • Applications of Genetic Rescue: It’s commonly utilized to combat inbreeding depression, which occurs when closely related individuals mate within a population, resulting in reduced reproductive success and offspring viability.
  • Impacts of Genetic Rescue: Impacts vary based on factors like the extent and duration of gene flow, as well as genetic and non-genetic factors influencing population dynamics.
  • Risks: Translocating animals carries risks, hence it’s typically considered as a last resort.The need for ‘genetic rescue’ has to be weighed in light of the challenges and the realistic timeline for establishing the northwestern/Rajasthan tiger metapopulation and for the onset of natural migrations between the Central Indian metapopulation and the Rajasthan metapopulation. Map for illustration purposes only. Source: NTCA for Tiger Reserve boundary and Corridor. Rajasthan Forest Department for other forest areas. Map: Narendra Patil

Ranthambore National Park Overview

  • Location: Situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan, at the junction of the Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges.Rajasthan to develop corridor connecting three tiger reserves
  • History: Established as Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary in 1955, it became a Project Tiger reserve in 1973 and was designated as a national park in 1980.
  • River Boundaries: Bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River.
  • Connected Wildlife Sanctuaries: Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary and Sawai Mansingh Wildlife Sanctuary are connected to the core of Ranthambore NP by narrow corridors, forming part of the Tiger Reserve.
  • Vegetation: Dominated by mixed deciduous vegetation, with Dhok (Anogeissus pendula) being the most prevalent plant species.
  • Flora: Other plant species include Banyan (Ficus bengalensis), Pipal (Ficus religiosa), Neem (Azadirachta indiaca), Babul (Acacia nilotica), and Gum (Sterculia urens).
  • Fauna: Home to various wildlife including tigers, leopards, striped hyenas, langurs, macaques, jackals, jungle cats, caracals, blackbuck, and over 270 bird species such as crested serpent eagles, painted francolins, and Indian paradise flycatchers.



LAMITIYE-2024

Source: pib

Why in News: Recently, the Indian Army unit engaged in the 10th iteration of the Joint Military Drill named “LAMITIYE-2024” alongside the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF).Indian Army to conduct 10-day exercise in Seychelles

About LAMITIYE-2024

  • Meaning: LAMITIYE, translating to ‘Friendship’ in Creole, is conducted biennially since 2001.
  • Objective: To enhance interoperability in Sub-conventional Operations in Semi-Urban environments under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter on Peace Keeping Operations.
  • Activities: Includes Field Training Exercises, combat discussions, as well as lectures and demonstrations.
  • Significance: It plays a vital role in fostering and strengthening bilateral military relations, facilitating the exchange of skills and experiences.

Seychelles

  • Geographical Location: Situated northeast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.Seychelles | Culture, History, & People | Britannica
  • Key Features: Renowned for its pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, extensive nature reserves, and rare wildlife, notably the giant Aldabra tortoises.
  • Aldabra Atoll: Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it stands as the largest raised coral atoll globally and serves as the habitat for the largest population of giant tortoises in the world.



Tobacco Board

Source: TH

Why in News: The Tobacco Board has established a target crop size of 100 million kg for Karnataka in the fiscal year 2024-25. Farmers are encouraged to cultivate within designated areas and enroll with the board to prevent overproduction and maintain market stability.Tobacco Board Receives 2019 Golden Leaf Award

About Tobacco Board:

  • Establishment: Founded in 1976 pursuant to the Tobacco Board Act of 1975.
  • Statutory Body: The Tobacco Board of India operates as a statutory entity falling under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
  • Regulatory Role: It oversees the production and marketing of Virginia tobacco and endeavors to boost the competitiveness of Indian tobacco in both domestic and global markets.
  • Welfare Initiatives: The board administers various schemes and programs aimed at the welfare of tobacco growers, including the Interest Equalization Scheme, the Duty Drawback Scheme, and the Tobacco Growers Welfare Scheme.

Tobacco Status in India

  • Prominent Position: India holds a significant role in global tobacco production. In 2021, it ranked as the second-largest producer globally, following China, and the fourth-largest exporter of unmanufactured tobacco.
  • Production and Cultivation: India accounts for approximately 10% of the total global tobacco cultivation area.
  • Variety of Tobacco: Various types of tobacco are cultivated in India, encompassing flue-cured Virginia, country tobacco, burley, bidi, rustica, hookah, and chewing tobacco.
  • Major Production States: Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh emerge as the primary tobacco-producing states in India, contributing roughly 45%, 20%, and 15% of the nation’s total production, respectively.

Note: Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco serves as the primary commercial crop cultivated in the Southern transitional zone of Karnataka.

Tobacco Export Trend

  • Global Reach: Indian tobacco finds its way to over 115 countries across the globe.
  • Key Export Destinations: Significant export destinations include Belgium, the Philippines, Egypt, the Arab Republic, Germany, Nepal, the USA, and Turkey, among others.
  • Major Importers: Noteworthy importers comprise Singapore, the USA, the Netherlands, and Germany.
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