Preaload Image

In news:

A small study involving 65 stool samples taken from patients from a singlehospital in Chennai found 51% ofthem harbour colistin-resistant bacteria.

In brief:

  • 2018 study revealed, presence of colistin-resistant bacteria like E.coli, Enterobacter spp. and Klebsiella spp. was very high in food samples (chicken, fish, meat, vegetables) collected from households, markets and fish and meat outlets.
  • Colistin is the lastresort antibioticused to treat highly drug-resistantbacterial infections.
  • The possible reason could be rampant use of colistin as a growth promoter in animal husbandry sector. Poultry litter is used as fertilizer in farms which leads to contamination in vegetables.
  • Presence of colistin-resistant bacteria does not affect edible quality of food, but we need to worry about them because once these resistant bacteria enter our gut and multiply they can spread resistance to other gut bacteria too.
  • India imports about 200 tonnes of colistin every year, most of it from China. Interestingly, China has banned the use of colistin as growth promoter in animal feeds.

Bringing Back Cheetahs Will Be A Big Challenge

In News :

  • Supreme Court (SC) has recently given a green signal to introduction of African Cheetahs in a suitable area in India.
  • It has given the nod to the National Tiger Conservation Authority to re-introduce African cheetahs.

Background:

  • Cheetahs are the only large carnivore to have gone extinct in India.
  • In 2009, the then Environment Minister cleared a proposal to import a few cheetahs back in the Indian wild.
  • At a 2009 meeting, the Namibia-based Cheetah Conservation Fund offered to help bring in African cheetahs in stages over the next decade, possibly starting in early 2012.
  • By 2010, India’s cheetah plan was ready and the Centre approved for the programme in 2011.

Reason for Re-introduction of Cheetah:

  • ‘Reintroduction’ of a species means releasing it in an area where it is capable of surviving.
  • Reintroductions of large carnivores have increasingly been recognised as a strategy to conserve threatened species and restore ecosystem functions.
  • The cheetah is the only large carnivore that has been extirpated, mainly by over-hunting in India in historical times.
  • India now has the economic ability to consider restoring its lost natural heritage for ethical as well as ecological reasons.

Problems related to re-introduction:

  • Cheetahs are mainly dependent on antelopes for their food. Antelopes are adapted mainly to dry conditions of the grasslands which are predominantly, extensive flat areas.
  • With the neglect of the grasslands and alteration of the grassland ecosystem by extensive plantation of tress has severely affected the fauna adapted to the unique habitat of grasslands.
  • India needs a protocol for the reintroduction of wild animals.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature has a protocol. It also has reintroduction specialist groups and template guidelines for re-introduction, which needs to be adapted to India’s needs.
  • There is a need to create provisions under the Wildlife Protection Act for a policy on the introduction of wild animals.

The Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (Lacones):

  • Scientists have been trying to get germplasm of the Iranian cheetahs, considered closest related to the extinct Indian cheetah to carry on with the research, but without success.
  • One of the successful efforts of Lacones has been the reintroduction of mouse deer in the wild with its captive breeding programme in collaboration with the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad.

IUCN STATUS:

AFRICAN CHEETAH: Vulnerable
ASIATIC CHEETAH: Critically Endangered

CITES STATUS:

AFRICAN CHEETAH: Appendix 1
ASIATIC CHEETAH: Appendix 1

Way forward:

Scientists from the Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (Lacones), have stated that the re-introduction of Cheetahs into Indian habitat would be a challenge.