Wildlife Diplomacy

  • IASbaba
  • October 19, 2022
  • 0
Environment & Ecology
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In News: the Indian government is considering a proposal from Colombo to export 6 gaurs, or Indian bisons, to Sri Lanka to revive the population of gavaras that have been extinct in the island since the end of the 17th century.

  • It would be the first such agreement between India and Sri Lanka, and part of a global trend of “wildlife or zoological diplomacy”.


  • The proposal is to transport at least six specimens, including a bull and three to five cows.
  • The Sri Lankan Department of Zoological Gardens would carry out “captive breeding a herd of about a dozen specimens over a five-year period before trial reintroduction to the wild could take place in accordance with [internationally mandated] guidelines for reintroductions.
  • The suggestion for the proposal came from world-renowned Sri Lankan conservationist Rohan Pethiyagoda, who was awarded the Linnean medal 2022 (U.K. -based equivalent of the Nobel prize for zoology) for his work on restoring fresh water and forest biodiversity.


  • “Zoological diplomacy” has been practised worldwide, but there is a distinction between “gifts or loans” of animals in captivity to translocation and reintroduction of a species, particularly between neighbouring countries with similar eco-systems.
  • Much depends on whether the conditions that caused the extinction have been removed, but reintroduction is known and has frequently been taken up between countries where the range is contiguous.
  • In that sense, the animal plays a role as a zoological ambassador between nation states.

About Indian Gaur: 


  • The Indian gaur, a reclusive beast that lives in the wild, is the largest wild bovine that is a protected species and included in Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972
  • IUCN Red List status: Vulnerable
  • There are about 13,000 to 30,000 gaurs in the world with approximately 85% of the population present in India.
  • It is also found in Burma and Thailand.
  • The domesticated form of the gaur is called gayal (Bos frontalis) or mithun
  • The first-ever population estimation exercise of the Indian gaur carried out in the Nilgiris Forest Division in February 2020 estimated around 2,000 Indian gaurs to be inhabiting the division.
  • This came after instances of people being attacked or injured by the bison primarily in and around plantations came to light.
  • Sri Lankan gaur, called the gavara in Sinhala, was once widespread and archaeological remains in ancient caves in the island included the remains of the animal.             

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions:

Q.1) Recently there was a proposal to translocate some of the lions from their natural habitat in Gujarat to which one of the following sites?(2017)

  1. Corbett National Park
  2. Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary
  3. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
  4. Sariska National Park


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