Protection and conservation of forests and wildlife are essential to maintain the earth’s health and environment. The earth is the only known living planet and it is because of its special environment and ecology which are life-supporting. Forests are part and parcel of our environment.
They are one of the most valuable resources and gifts of nature. They play a key role in the maintenance climate, rain-patterns, water and soil conservation.
They are the natural home of much type- of animals, birds, reptiles, insects etc. They supply timber, fuel, medicines, and wood for peeper-pulp and raw materials for many industries. The increasing depletion and destruction of wildlife is a source of great concern. One out of every seven persons of the world live in India.
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India has 16 per cent of the world’s population with only 2.4 percent of its land area. There is much pressure on our natural resources including forests. In these times of increasing consumerism and nature- hostile activities, the forest-cover is depleting and deteriorating very fast.
The conservation of wildlife which includes native plants and animals, depends on protection of forests. Wildlife is the direct product of the land resources and habitat conditions. The neglect of forests moans the destruction of the wild animals.
Wildlife, like we human beings, need food, water, and shelter. Destruction of forests, wetlands, marshes, points, grasslands etc. eliminates their sources of food, water and habitat. The National wildlife action Plan launched in 1983 provides the framework of strategy as well as programme for conservation of wildlife.
The protected area network till 1 993 consisted of 75 national parks and 421 sanctuaries covering 4.5 per cent of the total geographical area, which was proposed to be increased to 5.1 per cent. The wildlife protection Act, 1972 governs wildlife conservation and protection of endangered species. The Act prohibits trade in rare and endangered species.
India is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered species of Wild Flora and Fauna. Under this export or import of these endangered species is subject to strict control. Commercial exploitation such species is prohibited. The Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 has been suitably amended to make the provisions more effective. Endangered species of plants and animals have been brought under the purview of ten acts.
India is very rich both in flora and fauna but many plant and animal species are already extinct and many other are on the road to extinction. In spite of various acts and rules- regulations against exploitation of wildlife, the real conservation has one of the major wildlife producer counties of the world and yet there is a skeleton staff to safeguard the interests of wildlife. Poachers are on the prowl even in sanctuaries and protected forest areas.
They have become fertile hunting grounds for illegal hunting and killing of animals. The rich and influential people and traders in, animal-skins, horns, etc. have been indulging in hunting, killing and trading of wildlife with impunity. They carry telescopic rifles and other weapons, use traps and poison food and kill the animals.
As a result of ecological imbalances and depleting forest-cover, the wild animals come out at night in search of food in the villages and attack human beings and domestic animals and fowls. In some parts of Uttar Pradesh the hyena and wolf-menace was very much in the news. Many children were killed by the wolves and hyenas.
Similarly, in Pauri Garwal district of UP some leopards turned into man-eaters. Faced with the scarcity of animals for prey in the forest and continuing attacks from poachers, they become man- eaters. And once a man-eater is always a man- eater because man is the softest target.
On many an occasion, the villagers injure more animals then they kill and so the injured animals turn into man-eaters and attack villages at night for food. When a human kill takes place, every leopard or tiger is regarded as man-eater and there is indiscriminate killing consequently, the number of these felines is decreasing fast.
Thousands of snails, frog, rats, earthworms, cockroaches and other animals are killed for dissection in schools, colleges and laboratories for experiments. Snakes are also killed indiscriminately out of ignorance as greed. This destroys and disturbs the fragile ecological balance. Tigers are subjected to utmost brutality by man, the most intelligent and evolved animal on the earth.
There is mindless destruction of forests for timber, firewood and fuel. Every year there is a loss of about 1.3 hectares of forest area in India because of large and indiscriminate clearing of forests for cultivation, quarrying and large dams and irrigation projects.
Then there is intensive and indiscriminate logging for commercial purposes by contractors and timber-merchants. Over-grazing has also taken its toll. The result is serious ecological imbalance and environment degradation. There is much pressure on forests and the relation between men and forests has reached the lowest depth.
Conservation of forests and wildlife is also important from aesthete point of view. They make life beautiful and colourful. Without them human life will lose much of its beauty, charm and meaning. Their proper protection and conservation also means a continuous and adequate supply of food, fodder, medicines, timber etc.
Forests and wildlife and renewable resources which need to be diligently protected, preserved and increased in a planned way. There is a need to spread the awareness about forest and wildlife conservation. Social forestry can be taught in schools as a subject.
More and more trees should be planted, protected and seen growing and maturing. There should be a ban on mobile zoos and animal rights activists should come forward to wage a war on behalf of the mute and innocent animals.
The destruction and degradation of forests in upper reigns like Himalayas causes such other ruins as erosion of top soil erratic rainfall, and recurring floods. Deforestation is a great social and national evil and should be checked on priority basis. It results in loss of productivity and environment degradation among much other harm.
Encroachment on forests should also be checked and, if possible, banned, Non government agencies, village communities; trial’s etc. should be involved in social forestry and regeneration of degraded forest lands. They should be allowed to share the benefits of these schemes in a judicious manner. The forest and wildlife conservation laws should be made more stringent and practiced scrupulously.
Veerappan’s continued bloody trade in ivory and sandalwood trade upsets all concerned. Throughout the Nilgiris, it is now almost impossible to spot a large tusker. The full blown assault on forest and wildlife saddens all the Indians and wildlife lovers in foreign countries.
Essay on Wildlife Conservation!
Like forests, wildlife is also a national resource, which not only helps in maintaining the ecological balance but is also beneficial from economic, recreational and aesthetic points of view. There was a time when human interference was minimum the number of wild animals was quite high and there was no problem of their protection or conservation. But, with the expansion of agriculture, settlement, industrial and other developmental activities and mainly due to greed of man, the number of wild animals gradually became lesser and lesser. With the result that several species of animals have become extinct and several, others are on the verge of being so.
Deforestation is also one of the main reasons for the loss of wildlife. Mass killings of wild animals for their meat, bones, fur, teeth, hair, skin, etc., are going on throughout the world. Therefore, the need for wildlife conservation has now become a necessity.
Population growth, expansion of agriculture and livestock raising building of cities and roads, and pollution are among the many pressures on the natural habitat of wildlife. Along with illegal hunting, habitat reduction and its degradation has threatened the bio-diversity of the regions where these are rampant.
Preservation of wildlife does not mean a blanket protection to all faunal and floral species; rather, it implies a proper, judicious control over the multiplication of plants and animals, which interact together to provide a proper environment to man whose very existence is in peril today.
Due to the irrational use of natural and biotic resources of the earth in the past, most of the wildlife has been destroyed beyond retrieval. It is our urgent duty to protect the natural splendor of ecosystems and to evolve a system of co-existence with every living creature upon the earth.
Although must countries of the world are very particular regarding conservation of wildlife, the number of wild animals is reducing day by day. World Wild Life Fund is the international agency, which is doing commendable work in promoting the protection of wildlife. There are national agencies also engaged in the conservation of wildlife.
Some steps in the direction of wildlife conservation could be as follows:
(i) To survey and collect all the information about wildlife, especially, their number and growth.
(ii) To protect habitat by protecting forests.
(iii) To delimit the areas of their natural habitat.
(iv) To protect wildlife from pollution and from natural hazards.
(v) To impose complete restriction on hunting and capturing of wildlife.
(vi) To impose restrictions on export and import of wildlife products and severe punishment to be given to those who indulge in this activity.
(vii) To develop game sanctuaries for specific wild animals or for general world life.
(viii) To make special arrangements to protect those species whose number is very limited.
(ix) To develop general awareness at national and international level regarding protection of wildlife.
(x) To adopt a system of wildlife management through trained personnel.
India is a good example where several steps have been taken for wildlife conservation. It is a country of varied wildlife, where more than 500 types of wild animals, 2,100 types of birds and about 20,000 types of reptiles and fishes have been found. According to an estimate, in India, about 200 species of wild animals and birds have already become extinct and another 2,500 are on the verge of extinction.
Some of them are black buck, chinkara, wolf, swamp deer, nilgai, Indian gazelle, antelope, tiger, rhinoceros, gir lion, crocodile, flamingo, pelican, bustard, white crane, grey heron, mountain quail, etc. In India, the government and NGOs are taking keen interest in the protection of wildlife. The Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 has several provisions for the conservation of wildlife.
As many as 165 game sanctuaries and 21 national parks have been developed to protect the natural habitat and wild animals. Apart from this, a Wild Life Conservation Week is also celebrated from 7th of October every year. But still there is a long way to go in this direction.