Zoo Outreach Organization &
Wildlife Information Liaison Development


 ZOO/WILD's 2014 Activities . . .

Protected Area analysis with respect to freshwater biodiversity & reptile assessments, & development of national policy for inclusion in legislation

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sanjay Molur
Grant Term: 01/12-03/14

Overall results/impact of the project
  • Network of policy makers, subject experts and other stakeholders.
  • Preliminary meeting with subject experts to analyze the Wildlife Protection Act and species listed in the act.
  • A policy framework including strategies in linking the IUCN Red List assessments of biological value to the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of cultural, economic and aesthetic value.
  • A draft format for freshwater fish species prioritization for inclusion into the Wildlife Protection Act has been developed.
  • Preliminary look at six different national policies namely, Wildlife Protection Act, Indian Fisheries Act, Biological Diversity Act, National Water Policy, Wetland rules, Water (Prevention and control of Pollution) Act and the Forest Rights Act.
  • Preliminary look at policies related to freshwater ornamental fish trade, namely – Green Certification and EXIM (Export-Import) Policy.
  • Detailed analyses of data generated from the freshwater and reptile assessments by the respective IUCN units to understand the current effectiveness of the protected area system.
  • Inputs into one management plan of a protected area and a working plan of a non-protected area.
  • State specific information culled out from the status report and communicated to the relevant state departments.
  • Develop illustrative posters and projections with brochures in simple language for conservationists, foresters and policy makers to disseminate results of the detailed analyses at the ground level as well as the state and central government levels.
  • Personal visits to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, National Institute of Malaria Research (in relation to introduction of exotic fish for disease control); State forest departments of Western Ghats states, State Biodiversity Boards of Western Ghats states, NGOs working with freshwater systems and national institutes involved in fish and fisheries research.
  • List of freshwater fish species that may be added to the Wildlife Protection Act and possible amendments.
Progress Toward Long-term Impacts:
  • An overview of the existing policies on freshwater biodiversity conservation in India compiled.
  • Draft policies on inclusion of freshwater fishes in Wildlife Protection Act, and effectiveness of existing protected areas on freshwater fish and reptiles developed.
  • A prioritizing method for inclusion of freshwater fish species on the Wildlife Protection Act developed.
  • State specific data on freshwater systems sent to the relevant officials.
  • Data provided to forest officials and encouraged to add freshwater data into management plans.
Progress Toward Short-term Impacts:
  • A network of stakeholders and policy makers in the Western Ghats states and central has been compiled. This network includes the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC), National Biodiversity Authority, Department of Fisheries, Marine Products Export Development Authority, National fisheries institutes and state forest department and biodiversity boards and local communities and stakeholders and other NGOs.
  • Gaps in the existing protected area network have been identified for threatened freshwater fish and reptiles by analyzing the distribution ranges overlaid with protected area layers.
  • Analysis of freshwater fishes in trade and the Green Certificate proposed by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) of the Ministry of Commerce indicates several threatened species promoted for exports from wild harvests; some of the species with highly restricted ranges and some from within protected areas.
  • Suggested additions to the management plan of one protected area (Periyar Tiger Reserve) and to the working plan of one non-protected area (Nelliampathy Hills) in Kerala on freshwater fishes as a taxonomic group representing freshwater biodiversity. The protected area identified for freshwater fish conservation in the Western Ghats is the Periyar Tiger Reserve with its three single location endemic species found only within the Periyar Lake and Stream System. Informal interactions with local communities informed of the problem of the invasive African Catfish Clarias gariepinus and the threat faced by the native species. PTR has a detailed management plan with a list of freshwater fishes. Additions to this management plan including research of aquatic biodiversity and possible management initiatives have been suggested/proposed.
  • Frequent changes in taxonomy owing to new surveys and molecular studies for freshwater fish.
  • Lack of communication between the different ministries involved with the management and use of fresh waters and freshwater biodiversity.
  • Constant transfer of policy makers and officials.
  • No freshwater fish conservation organization within the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, Department of fisheries, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
Success stories:
  • A first-of-its-kind decision tree for conservation of freshwater fish and possible inclusion within the Wildlife Protection Act.
  • Analyses of the protected area effectiveness for freshwater fish and reptiles in the Western Ghats.
  • Development of a board game as an innovative tool to popularize the policy scenario concerning freshwater fish in India.
  • Exchange of information and findings on Indian freshwater fish policies with policy makers, scientists and conservationists from different countries at the COP 11 at Hyderabad and at the IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group annual meeting in Delhi.
  • Use of CMS Vatavaran as a platform to highlight threats and promote freshwater fish conservation.
  • Meetings conducted by ATREE on National Ramsar sites and Mahseer Trust on anglers as stakeholders, used as an avenues to discuss and exchange information.
  • Leveraging from other projects on freshwater fish AZE project to gather data on community perceptions towards native and exotic freshwater fish.

To view Final Report PDF