CBSG Regional Networks as conservation engineers: India as a case study



The greater proportion of species diversity is situated in what is known as the ‘developing’ world, most of which is in the tropics. The need for identification, assessment, and intensive management and monitoring of threatened and near-threatened taxa is critical for an ever-increasing number of species. Yet the individuals and even institutions responsible for identification and assessment in tropical countries often suffer from poor communication facilities, low-value currency, and vexing administrative, bureaucratic and political scenarios, which thwart efforts to forward conservation action. A variety of skills and a flexible approach are required to address these scenarios, fill lacunas in information and communication, and give impetus to action. The Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), Species Survival Commission (SSC), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has evolved a dynamic set of tools and processes in both conservation and communication, and people management, which can cut through administrative and political hierarchies, facilitate dissemination of information and clarify conservation problems and solutions. Regional or national networks of the CBSG, operating at the grass-roots level, can make maximum use of these tools and processes to catalyse conservation action where it is most required. These tools are ideal for helping countries fulfil their commitment to the Convention on Biodiversity. This essay describes the work of the Indian National Network of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group and its Utopian dream for Indian conservation breeding facilities and zoos.