Species Recovery Programme:
The National Board for Wildlife and Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change last month included the caracal, a medium-sized wildcat found in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, in the list of critically endangered species. The recovery programme for critically endangered species in India now includes 22 wildlife species.
Caracal – Wild Cat
- Besides India, the caracal is found in several dozen countries across Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia.
- While it flourishes in parts of Africa, its numbers in Asia are declining.
- 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’.
- It finds mention in Abul Fazl’s Akbarnama, as 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.
About the Species Recovery Programme:
- It is one of the three components of the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH).
- IDWH was started in 2008-09 as a Centrally sponsored Scheme. It is meant for providing support to protected areas (national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation reserves and community reserves except tiger reserves), protection of wildlife outside protected areas and recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats.