In this article we will discuss about the Preservation of Wildlife in India:- 1. Introduction to Preservation of Wildlife 2. Importance of Preservation of Wildlife 3. Cause of Wildlife Destruction 4. Methods of Preserving Wildlife 5. Sanctuaries and National Parks in India 6. Protection by Legislation 7. Wildlife Organizations in India.
Introduction to Preservation of Wildlife:
“Wild-life” means non-domesticated animals and uncultivated plants. It refers to magnificent fauna and flora in the jungle. Wild life management is concerned with the protection, propagation, and judicious control of population of rare species of animals and plants in their natural habitats.
During last 2000 years about 106 species of animals and 139 species of birds became extinct due to geographical & climatic changes and also due to human activity. Red Data Book lists about 600 species of animals at the verge of extinction.
Most wild animals and plants inhabit arboreal areas. Deforestation by human beings leads to a large scale destruction of wild-life.
Importance of Preservation of Wildlife:
Preservation of wild life is important because of following reasons:
1. Scientific value:
Scientific studies of wildlife species are important from academic point of view.
2. Commercial value:
Man depends on wildlife for many commercial products. The exploitation of wildlife resources has to be done with proper care and management.
3. Ecological value:
Destruction of wildlife may cause ecological imbalance. Protection of every organism is important to habitat preservation.
4. Game Value:
Hunting was a source of recreation and entertainment for Kings in olden days.
5. Asthetic value:
Wildlife is a source of “beauty”. It appeals to human thought spirit and imagination. It is a main attraction to tourists.
6. Ethical Value:
Man has no moral right to destroy wildlife. All religions preach a healthy respect to animals.
Cause of Wildlife Destruction:
There are two types of destruction of wildlife by man, direct and indirect.
Many species are destroyed by man by hunting and capturing. Man also indiscrimately kill animals for entertainment, flesh, fur, feathers, trophies etc.
This is due to deforestation, destruction of natural habitat, spread of deserts, pollution, industrialization, insecticides, pesticides, herbicides etc.
Indian Wild Life:
India has varied climatic and geographical conditions with luxuriant tropical forests. Wildlife is unique by its richness and heterogeneity. Indian wildlife comprise about 350 species (30 families) of mammals, 2100 species (66 families) of birds and plenty of reptiles like lizards, snakes and turtles.
Methods of Preserving Wildlife:
Following fundamental approaches are made to conserve wild life:
1. Habitate preservation:
This involves protection of wild life by biosphere reserve, protection and improvement of habitat.
2. Species preservation:
Nature reserves are usually designated in order to give protection to a species of plant or animal which is rare.
3. Breeding in captivity:
Some animals going to be extinct can be preserved by captive breeding.
4. Assemblage protection:
Most commonly an assemblage of species is protected. Delhi Zoo and Bharatpur Bird sanctuary are specially managed for assemblage of migratory birds. These places give maximum cover and food supply for migrating birds and to provide refuge from hunting.
The animals going to be extinct can be reintroduced to suitable places similar to the original habitat
6. Mass Education:
The common man should be educated the importance of wildlife and significance of its preservation.
The different methods are:
(a) Celebration of wildlife week every year.
(b) Publicity through media & film shows
(c) holding conduct tours, lectures, essay competitions, seminars, symposia etc.
(d) setting up nature clubs in educational institutions.
(e) Publication of life books and journals.
(f) Establishment of Natural history museum.
7. Promulgation of Laws:
Poaching, capturing, killing and hunting wildlife can be prevented by wildlife protection acts.
Sanctuaries and National Parks in India:
These are the areas, declared by statute, for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wild life for their scientific, educational and recreational value. There exist differences between a sanctuary and a national park. In a sanctuary hunting without permit is prohibited and grazing or movement of cattle is regulated. In a national park hunting and grazing are absolutely prohibited.
At present, there 19 National parks and 202 sanctuaries scattered throughout India. They comprise a total area of about 75,000 sq. km. which roughly comes to 19% of reserve forest area and 2.3% total geographical area of the country. Sanctuaries and parks not only protect wildlife but safe guard varied ecosystem, prevent soil erosion and help in recycling of wastes. Many of them are accessible to the Indian as well as foreign tourists and therefore of economic value.
Areawise the largest is Ikshawaka sanctuary (Nagarjuna Sagar) in Andhra Pradesh covering 3568 sq. km. and smallest is Sultanpur (Lake) Bird sanctuary in Haryana covering 1.2 sq. km.
The National parks of world fame in India are:
1. Dachigam National Park, Kashmir, (Kashmir stag).
2. Corbett National Park, Uttar Pradesh (Indian Tiger).
3. Gir National Park, Gujarat (Asiatic Lion).
4. Kaziranga National Park, Assam (one homed Rhinoceros).
5. Keoladeo National park, Rajasthan (Avifauna).
Protection by Legislation:
Most wild animals and plants inhabit forest areas. Any change in the forest environment in terms of food supply and other details would have a corresponding effect in their population. Deforestation and poaching leads to destruction of wild life.
Appreciating the desirability of wildlife preservation, the India government enacted the Wild life Protection Act in 1972. The protected Indian wild life includes about 60 mammals, 11 birds and 6 reptiles. Despite the existence of this act, poaching (killing of game animals) is still a big national problem.
There are a large number of rural poachers active in the tarai belt of the Himalayas. These poachers shoot deer, wild bear, tiger, leopard and a variety of game birds. The meat of herbivore animals and the hides of the leopard and tiger are sold in market. Expensive purses and belts are made out of skin of snakes, crocodiles and the snow leopard.
Some products derived from the musk deer and bear also fetch a lot of money for these poachers. Efforts are now being intensified to curb the activities of poachers with a view to saving our wild life resources from further destruction and depletion.
Wildlife Organizations in India:
The following three organizations are dedicated for the preservation of Indian wildlife.
1. IBWL (Indian Board for Wildlife):
It is an advisory body on country’s wildlife constituted by Government of India in 1952.
2. BHNS (Bombay Natural- History Society):
It is a nongovernmental organization founded in 1881 to the cause of wildlife conservation in the country. The society conducts research and educational activities and brings out a journal on the wildlife of India.
3. WPSI (Wildlife Preservation Society of India):
It is also a nongovernmental body founded in 1958 at Dehra Dun. The society conducts tours of students and members to sanctuaries and parks, carries out research on vanishing flora and fauna, organizes a Corbett Memorial Essay competition for school students and brings forth a bilingual quarterly journal called “Cheetal”.