[Environment & Biodiversity] Critically Endangered Species

Critically Endangered Species of Animals

·         The Red List of 2012 was released at the Rio +20 Earth Summit.
·         It contains 132 species of plants and animals in India listed as critically endangered.
·         The Critically Endangered list included 18 species of amphibians, 14 fishes and 10 mammals. There are also 15 bird species in the category.
·         This article gives you an overview of birds, amphibians and mammals which are critically


·         The latest International Union for Conservat­­ion of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Birds (2013) shows that fifteen bird species in India continue to be Critically Endangered (CR).

·  Migratory wetland species:
Baer’s Pochard
·         It is a diving duck found in eastern Asia
·         Hunting and wetland destruction are thought to be the causes of the decline
Vegetated coastal wetlands, or around lakes and ponds surrounded by forest

Freshwater lakes and reservoirs
Southeast Russia and Northeast China

Migrating in winter to southern China, Vietnam, Japan, and India
In 2012 it was further uplisted from Endangered to CR.

It is legally protected in Russia, Mongolia and Hong Kong (China) and in some provinces in China.
Siberian Crane
·         It is a large, strikingly majestic migratory bird that breeds and winters in wetlands.
·         Also known as the Siberian White Crane or the Snow Crane.
Wetland areas
Keoladeo National Park in
The last documented sighting of the
bird  in India was in 2002

It is subject of the MoU concerning Conservation Measures for the Siberian Crane concluded under the Bonn Convention.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper
·         The most distinctive feature of this species is its spatulate bill
·         Requires highly specialized breeding habitat, a constraint that has always kept its population scarce
Coastal areas with sparse vegetation
West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
The main threats to its survival are habitat loss on its breeding grounds and loss of tidal flats through its migratory and wintering range

 It was reclassified to CR status in 2008

·  Non-migratory wetland species:
White-bellied   Heron
·          also known as the Imperial Heron or Great White-bellied Heron
·         It is mostly all dark grey with white throat and underparts.
·         It is inherently rare, and populations have never been known to be very high.
Rivers with sand or gravel bars or
inland lakes
Bhutan and North-East India to the hills of Bangladesh and   North Myanmar
 It has therefore been uplisted from Endangered to CE status in the 2007 IUCN Red List.

·  Grassland species:
Bengal Florican
·         It is a rare bustard species that is very well known for its mating dance
·         They are normally silent but when disturbed utters a metallic chik-chik-chik call.
Grasslands occasionally interspersed with scrublands.
Native to only 3 countries in the world -Cambodia, India and Nepal. In India, it occurs in 3 states Uttar
Pradesh, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
It is known to have become increasingly threatened by land conversion for intensive agriculture, particularly for dry season rice production + Poaching.
Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

·         One of the world’s heaviest flying birds.
·         The bird population estimate in 1980s was around 1,500, during 2003-04 was 500, in 2011 it is around 250-300 birds.
·          It breeds mostly during the monsoon season.
·         They are omnivorous and feed on insects, lizards, frogs, herbs, wild berries, oil seeds, and legume pods
Dry plains of the Indian subcontinent
It used to be in 11 states, now it is limited to 6 Indian states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh
Rajasthan: has the largest stronghold of the GIB, is the first Indian state to initiate a project “Great Indian Bustard” under the campaign of Conservation India.
Jerdon’s Courser

·         It is a nocturnal bird endemic to India.
·         It is a flagship species for the extremely threatened scrub jungle.
Undisturbed scrub jungle with open
·         Found only in the northern part of the state of Andhra Pradesh in peninsular India
·          Old records do attribute its presence in the neighboring areas of the state of Maharashtra
The species was
considered to be extinct until it was rediscovered
in 1986 and the area of rediscovery was
subsequently declared as the Sri Lankamaleswara
Wildlife Sanctuary

Sociable Lapwing
·         It is a winter migrant to India.
·         This attractive medium-sized lapwing has longish black legs and a short black bill
Fallow fields and scrub desert.
·         In India, distribution is restricted to the north and north-west of the country
In 2004 BirdLife International 
categorized this bird as critically endangered, due to a very rapid population decline for poorly understood reasons

· Forest species:
Forest Owlet
·         An owl that is endemic to the forests of central India.
·         They have a relatively large skull and beak
·         They appear to be strongly diurnal although not very active after 10 AM
Dry deciduous forest.
South Madhya Pradesh

North-west Maharashtra

North-central Maharashtra.
It had been lost for more than a century. After 113 long years it was rediscovered in 1997 and reappeared on the list of Indian birds.

·  Scavengers:
ü  The decline in vulture populations has associated disease risks, including increased risk of spread of rabies and anthrax.
ü  Diclofenac is given to working animals it can reduce joint pain and so keep them working for longer
ü  The drug is believed to be swallowed by vultures with the flesh of dead cattle which were given diclofenac in the last days of life. Diclofenac causes kidney failure in several species of Vultures
Indian Vulture
·         The Long-billed Vulture is a typical vulture, with a bald head, very broad wings and short tail feather
·         They have suffered a 97%–99% population decrease in Pakistan and India
·         The cause of this has been identified as poisoning caused by the veterinary drug diclofenac.
Forests, villages etc.
Across India
Captive-breeding programmes for several species of Indian vulture have been started. The vultures are long lived and slow in breeding, so the programmes are expected to take decades
Red-headed Vulture
·         Also known as the Asian King Vulture, Indian Black Vulture or Pondicherry Vulture
·         The adult has a prominent deep red to orange naked head and the juvenile being of paler red.
Forests, villages etc.
Mainly found in the Indian Subcontinent

Some parts of Southeast Asia
The widespread use of the Diclofenac in India has caused its population to collapse in recent years
White-backed Vulture
·         It is called African White-backed Vulture to distinguish it from the Oriental White-backed Vulture
·         It’s a typical vulture with only down feathers on the head and neck, very broad wings and short tail feathers.
Forests, villages etc.
The savannah of West and East Africa

Across India
In 2013 it was uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered
Slender-billed Vulture.
·         It is about the same size as its sister species, the Indian Vulture
·         They have suffered a huge decline. The cause of this has been identified as poisoning caused by the veterinary drug diclofenac.
Forests, villages etc.
Gangetic plain north, West to Himachal Pradesh,
Northern Odisha,

Southeast Asia
It is a protected species listed on the appendix II list of CITES.

Captive-breeding programs in India are aiming to conserve the species

·         Now considered Extinct for all practical purposes.
·         But still under CE category
Himalayan Quail

·         The red bill and legs of this small dark quail and white spots before and after the eye make it distinctive.
·         It is presumed to be extinct since no reliable records of sightings of this species exist after 1876.
Tall grass and scrub on steep
Western Himalayas
Indiscriminate hunting during the colonial period along with habitat modification.
Pink-headed Duck
·         is (or was) a large diving duck
·         Males have a deep pink head and neck from which the bird derives its name.
·         It has not been conclusively recorded in India since 1949.
Overgrown still-water pools,
marshes and swamps in lowland forests and
tall grasslands
Recorded in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Maximum records are from
north-east India
Wetland degradation and loss of habitat, along with hunting   are the main causes of its

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·         The species that have been uplisted (facing greater danger) in 2013 IUCN list are
River Lapwing
·          It has a black crest, crown, face and central throat and grey-white neck sides and nape.
·         It feeds on  insects, worms crustaceans and mollusks in nearby wet grassland and farmland
·         It is expected to undergo a moderately rapid population decline over the next three generations owing to human pressures on riverine ecosystems and the construction of dams.
It inhabits larger rivers and lakes preferring wide, slow-moving rivers with sand or gravel bars and islands 
It occurs in southern China, much of
South-East Asia

Northern and northeastern India,
stretching towards
Myanmar, to CambodiaThailand and
Uplisted from Least Concern to Near Threatened

River Tern

·         This is a medium-sized tern, dark grey upperparts, white underparts, a forked tail with long flexible streamers, and long pointed wings.
·         The bill is yellow and the legs red.
·         Increasing human disturbance and dam construction projects are expected to drive a moderately rapid population decline over the next three generations.
rivers and freshwater lakes, also occurring rarely on estuaries, and breeds on sandy islands 
occurs across a wide range in southern
Asia, being found in PakistanIndiaNepal,
 and southern China (Yunnan) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), with vagrant records from Iran and Afghanistan.
Uplisted from Least Concern to Near Threatened

Nesting areas are vulnerable to flooding, predation and disturbance
Long-tailed Duck

·         They are mid-sized birds with long, dark tails and gray legs and feet.
·         This species is fully migratory although its movements are poorly understood
reside in a variety of habitats

Winter in the open ocean or large lakes and summer in pools or lakes in the tundra.
Vagrant records in India includes Nagaland, UP, Haryana,
 Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Maharastra

They are found breeding on the Arctic coasts of Canada, Alaska, United States of America,
Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Russia. They winter further south in the United Kingdom, North America, Korea and on the Black and Caspian Seas.
Uplisted from Least Concern to Vulnerable.

The species is threatened by wetland habitat degradation and loss from petroleum pollution, wetland drainage and peat-extraction.

Reptiles and amphibians
· Turtles
·         Also known as Bengal Roof Turtle
·         At the end of the rainy season, the heads and necks of male turtles develop a brilliant courtship coloration of red, yellow, white, and blue, with 6 distinctive bright red stripes on top of the head
·         The diet of turtles consists entirely of water plants
Deep flowing rivers with terrestrial nest sites.
Found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

In India it resides basically in
the watershed of the Ganga
1. Since 2004, it has reproduced  in captivity at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.

2. Since 2006, the Chambal River Sanctuary Program has implemented projects to protect wild nests, collect and hatch wild eggs
·         The species is migratory in nature and nesting occurs in about 70 countries across the world.
Nesting occurs on insular,
sandy beaches.
In India they are found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the coast of Tamil Nadu and Orissa.
 The CITESoutlaws the capture and trade of hawksbill sea turtles and products derived from them

Also included in the Convention on Migratory Species
·         Also known as four-toed river terrapin
·         The omnivorous diet of the river terrapin and other terrapin species makes them an essential part of the efficient clean-up systems of aquatic habitats.
Freshwater rivers and lakes.
Bangladesh, Cambodia, India (West Bengal and Orissa), Indonesia and Malaysia.
Illegally exported from Indonesia and traded in substantial numbers in China despite a CITES I listing

· Crocodile

·         It is also called  gavial and fish-eating crocodile
·          It is one of the longest of all living crocodilians
·         It is characterized by its extremely long, thin jaws
Clean rivers with sand banks
Only viable population
in the National Chambal Sanctuary, spread across three states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and
Madhya Pradesh in India
.Now extinct in Myanmar, Pakistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Conservation programs have been undertaken in India and Nepal, based on the establishment of protected areas and restocking these with animals born in captivity

·  Frogs
·         Also known as Murthy’s frog.
·          It is a montane species found at elevations of around 2,200m asl
·         This species is known only from the type series, and further taxonomic studies are required.
Tropical moist forest  and is terrestrial in nature
The species appears to have been recorded from the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and it is protected by national legislation
Indirana gundia
·         It has thick brown strip that extends from nose passing through eyes
·         It is found at an elevation of around 200 m above mean sea level
·         Breeding takes place on wet rocks, and the larvae are found on wet rock surfaces next to streams
Moist tropical forest
Known only to exist in  Gundia, Kempholey in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka.
It is not known to be present in any protected areas
The Kerala Indian Frog
·         Due to the presence of prominent warts and tubercles of various sizes and glandular folds on its dorsal surface, it is commonly also known as the toad-skinned frog.
·         It  is found at elevations of around 500 m above mean sea level
A terrestrial species associated with leaf-litter in tropical moist forest
 Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats
The species is present in Indira Ghandi National Park and protected by national legislation.
·         It is found at elevations below 500 m above mean sea level.  
 Arboreal species of tropical moist forest
This species is currently restricted to its type locality of Mount Harriet in South Andaman Island and Saddle Peak in the North Andaman Island, India.
It has been recorded from Mount Harriet National Park and Saddle Peak National Park, and is protected by national legislation in India.
·         The altitude of the type locality is not known, but it was most recently collected at an altitude of approximately 1,000m asl
·         It was recently collected close to a road and a stream. Like other members of the genus, it probably has aquatic larvae in streams.
Wet forests

This species is known only from the type locality "Kottigehar, Kadur", and from a recently discovered population at Bhadrea, in Chicamangalore District, Karnataka, in the Western Ghats of India.
It is not known whether or not this species occurs in any protected areas.
·         It was recently discovered in 2009 in Amboli forest in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra.
·         It is found at elevations ranging from 550 m to 940 m above mean sea level.   
It was collected in extremely disturbed areas close to evergreen forest patches, although it is not known whether or not it occurs in primary evergreen forest.
Known only from a few localities in the vicinity of the Amboli forest in Sawantwadi District, Maharashtra, in the northern Western Ghats of India
It is not known to occur in any protected areas, making habitat protection an urgent priority.
The Chalazodes Bubble-Nest Frog
·         It is a nocturnal, arboreal species.
·         Also known as White-spotted bush   frog.
Tropical moist evergreen forest
All recorded specimens have
been from the Western Ghats, India
It was described in 1876 based on a single femalespecime, from “Travancore”, south India. There was no authentic report of this species
since 1876 until its rediscovery in Febuary 2011.
·         It is a small frog of snout to vent length ranging from 2-2.2 cm only.

·         This species has been recorded from   1,500m asl.
It is an arboreal species, found commonly in montane forest, and in secondary growth close to shoal forest, but can also be found in tea plantations
This species appears to be restricted to one locality: Munnar, in the southern Western Ghats of India
It is not known from any protected areas, and habitat protection is urgently required.
·         It was discovered in 2009 from Munnar in Idukki district of Kerala.

·          It is found at an elevation of about 1,400
It is known only from a small area (less than 20km²) of secondary vegetation, adjoining the forest along the Ghat road. Specimens were found close to a tea plantation, but not inside the plantation
Currently known only to occur in two locations, Devikulam and Munnar, Idukki district, Kerala, south India.
This threat is very serious as there are no other known areas in the surrounding region that could be considered as suitable habitat for the species.
·         It is the largest bush frog of India with a snout to vent length upto 4 cm.
Evergreen forest surrounded by grassland. 
This species is known only from the type locality at 1,000 m asl on Ponmudi Hill, part of the Agasthyamala Hill range (=Ashambu Hills) in the Western Ghats of India. It might possibly occur more widely in Wynaad District.
It might be present in Shenduruny Sanctuary and Wynaad Wildlife Sanctuary. Strengthening the existing protected areas network and maintenance of remaining habitat in the range of the species are recommended conservation actions.
·         It is endemic to India.
Associated with old growth, tropical, moist, semi-evergreen and mesic forest, and does not occur outside forest
Known only to occur in Kapildhara Falls, Amarkantak, Jabalpur District, Madhya Pradesh
 Improved protection and maintenance of the habitat is needed
·         It is endemic to India.

·          It has been recorded from elevations below 1,400m asl.
Tropical moist forest
This species is restricted to a small area of forest, in and around Shilong, Meghalaya, in north-eastern India.
It is not known whether or not this species occurs in any protected areas, but habitat protection and maintenance are urgent priorities for this species, and additional survey work is necessary to assess its current population status.
·          It is confined to rainforests of south- western Ghats
·          It lives at elevations greater than 1,000 m above mean sea level.
tropical moist 
montane forests and intermittent freshwater
It is found in Andiparai Shola, Pudothottam and the Anamalai
Hills of Tamil Nada and Kerala
While known to be present in the Indira Gandhi National Park in Tamil Nadu, further habitat protection is needed

********************End of CE REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS****************


Namdapha flying squirrel
·         It is an  arboreal,  nocturnal flying squirrel endemic to  India
Tropical forest
Found only in Namdapha  Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh
The species is not protected by any legislation.
·         This species is a nocturnal animal, endemic to India
 Lives in tropical moist deciduous and evergreen forests, where it inhabits leaf litter and rock crevices
Andaman Islands
This species has been recorded from Mount Harriet National Park
·         It is endemic to India.

·         It is a  nocturnal / crepuscular and semi fossorial animal
Tropical moist deciduous forest.
Found on Wright Myo and Mount Harriet
in the South Andaman Island
This shrew has been recorded from Mount Harriet National Park. There is a need to maintain areas of suitable forest habitat for this species
·         Also known as  Nicobar White-tailed Shrew

·         It is a nocturnal and semi fossorial species
Lives among leaf litter in tropical moist deciduous forest
This species is known only from the southern tip of Greater Nicobar Island (India) in the Bay of Bengal.
It has been recorded from Campbell Bay National Park (possibly now extinct here) and Galathea National Park in Great Nicobar Islands.
·         Also known as Large Rock Rat.
·         It is a medium sized, nocturnal and burrowing rodent that is endemic to India.
·         It is recorded from an elevation of about 600 m above mean sea level.
Tropical dry deciduous
shrub land forest, seen in rocky areas
Known only from Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu.
It is listed in the Schedule V (considered as vermin) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
·         It is a nocturnal burrowing rodent that is found only in India.
·         It is reported from an elevation of about 1,270 m above mean sea level.
Tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forests and tropical scrub.
Known only from the small
Sinhagarh Plateau (about one km²), near Pune in Maharashtra.

It is listed in the Schedule V (considered as vermin) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
·         It is the world’s smallest wild pig, with adults weighing only 8 kgs.
·         They live for about eight years, becoming sexually mature at one to two years old
Relatively undisturbed, tall ‘terai’ grasslands
Restricted to only a single remnant population in Manas Wildlife Sanctuary and its buffer reserves.

Formerly, the species was more widely distributed
along the southern Himalayan foothills
Conservation program is conducted under the aegis of a formal International Agreement, that was originally signed at New Delhi in 1995 and later renewed as a MOU  in 2001, between IUCN SSC Pigs Peccaries and Hippos Specialist Group, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), the Forest Department, Government of Assam, and the MOEF, GOI
·         It  is the smallest and most endangered of  the five rhinoceros species
 SumatraBorneo, and the Malay Peninsula
It is now thought to be regionally extinct in India, though it once
 occurred in the foothills of the Himalayas and north-east India
·         Also known as lesser one-horned rhinoceros
·         The Javan rhino is smaller than Indian rhinoceros, and is close in size to the black rhinoceros
·         Like Indian rhino, the Javan rhinoceros has a single horn
Lowland tropical rainforest areas
Indonesia; Viet Nam
Regionally extinct:
Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; India; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia); Myanmar; Thailand
It is legally protected in all range states. The species has been on CITES
Appendix I since 1975.

A Rhino Protection Unit (RPU) has been established for the protection of this species on Java (Sectionov and Waladi pers. comm.). It occurs in two protected areas: Ujung Kulon National Park on Java and the Cat Loc part (Dong Nai province) of the Cat Tien National Park in Viet Nam.
·         It also known as the Malabar civet, endemic to the Western Ghats of India.

·         The species is nocturnal and probably elusive.
Wooded plains and hill slopes of
evergreen rainforests
Western Ghats
Conservation Action: It is listed in Schedule I, part I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and on CITES Appendix III (India).
·         Though Kashmir stag and Himalayan wolf  have been mentioned as CE in Wiki, the iucnredlist.org has no mention of the same.

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