Endangered Species Recovery Programme


Rapidly growing anthropogenic pressures and incompatible land uses outside protected areas threatens the ecological integrity of broader land- and seascapes. Realizing the need of immediate conservation efforts to reverse the declining trend of several terrestrial and marine species, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) entrusted Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to develop guidelines for species conservation action plans. Subsequently in 2015, the MoEFCC tasked WII to prepare Endangered Species Recovery Plans (ESRP) for identified nationally and globally important species such as Great Indian Bustard, Manipuri Deer- Sangai, Gangetic Dolphin and Dugong. The MoEFCC has funded this program for an initial period of five years under the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Advisory Council.  

The four species targeted for the ESRP are declining and have small populations that makes them vulnerable to stochastic extinction events. Although the exact causes of endangerment of these species are highly nuanced and even site-specific, some of the common threats these species face are habitat loss due to economic activities, poaching, and other human induced mortality factors. Highly k-selected life history of these species (long living, slow breeders, high parental investment etc.) exacerbates the impact of these threats. To recover such extremely small populations from imminent extinction risk, well-informed, specialized and site- and species- specific interventions are urgently needed.  Advanced ex-situ measures such as conservation breeding exploring latest biotechnological options needs to be considered along with a series of intensive in-situ conservation actions.

Therefore, the Endangered Species Recovery Programs will adopt a multi-pronged approach that includes conservation research, technology aided management support, training and capacity building of the implementing agencies, monitoring of population and habitats, stakeholder sensitization and mobilization, and mitigation of threats in priority habitats. The goal of this program is to ensure long term persistence of these species in wild through multi-stakeholder partnerships wherein the conservation contribution of local community is recognized and incentivized.  The program envisages a close cooperation and collaboration between different State Governments, where these species occur, and WII, key civil society organizations and MoEFCC for effective and timely implementation of the proposed conservation measures.