What is the issue ?
- The Bengal florican, a grassland bird, use not just protected grasslands but agricultural fields, too according to scientists.
About the Bengal florican :
- Falls under the 'critically endagered' category of the IUCN Red List.
- Fewer than 1,000 adult Bengal floricans remain in the world in two, very fragmented populations. One of them is in the grasslands of the terai, the fertile foothills of the Himalayas, which spans across Nepal and Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh.
Why do Bengal floricans need agricultural fields ?
- During the monsoon (the non-breeding season), the birds moved out of protected grasslands and into lowintensity agricultural fields along large rivers – which were interspersed with grasslands, had no roads and very few people – to escape the floods common during this time.
- Floricans need alternating patches of short and tall grass to thrive, and till several decades ago, the large herbivores of the terai, such as rhinoceroses and swamp deer, would do this job of creating these perfect habitats.
- Now there are fewer megaherbivores left, so only dense, tall grasslands remain in protected areas.
IUCN Red List
- IUCN Red List is developed on precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies.
- These criteria are relevant to all species in all regions of the world.
- The aim is to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the international community to try to reduce species extinction.
Categories and their meaning :
Extinct (EX) :
- A taxon is extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.
- A taxon is presumed extinct when exhaustive surveys in known or expected habitat at appropriate times, throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual.
Extinct in the wild (EW) :
- A taxon is extinct in the wild when it is known only to survive in captivity or as a naturalised population well outside the past range.
- A taxon is presumed extinct in the wild when exhaustive surveys in known or expected habitat, at appropriate times and throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual.
Critically Endangered (CR) :
- A taxon is CR when it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction the wild in the immediate future.
Endangered (EN) :
- A taxon is endangered when it is not critically endangered but is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.
Vulnerable (VU) :
- A taxon is vulnerable when it is not CR or EN but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild medium-term future
Near Threatened (NT) :
- A taxon is near threatened when it has been evaluated against the criteria but does not qualify for CR,EN or VU but is close to qualifying for or likely to qualify for a threatnened category in the near future.
Least Concern (LC) :
- A taxon is Least Concern when it has been evaluated against the criteria but does not qualify for CR,EN, VU or NT.
- Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.