Wildlife Conservation is a collective term that includes animals, bear, butterflies, crustaceans, fish, moths, aquatic and land vegetation which forms a part of a habitat. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative.
Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems, deserts, rainforests, plains, and other areas-including the most developed urban sites – all have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that carbide around the world is impacted by human activities.
Wildlife is a national resource that maintains ecological balance and is bifacial for economic, recreational and aesthetic proposes. With the expansion of agriculture and industrial acuities, the number of ruled animals has declined. Some of the species have become extinct and others are on the verge of being so. Mass-scale killing of wild animals for their meat, bones, fur and skiers, depleted their numbers. Therefore, the need for wildlife conservation has now become a necessity.
Pollution, climate charge, deforestation, industrialization and population explosion have destroyed the natural habitat of wildlife; hunting, habitat reduction and land degradation have threatened the biodiversity in the industrialized world.
DESTRUCTION OF WILDLIFE
Exploitation of wild population has been a characteristic of modern man since our exodus from Africa 130,000-70,000 year ago. The rate of extinctions of entire species of plants and animals across the planet has been so high in the last few hundred years it is rudely considered that use are in the sixth great extinction event on this plant. The Holocene mass extinction and destruction of wildlife does not alary lead to on extinction of the species in question; however, the dramatic loss of entire species across earth dominates any review of wildlife destruction as extinction is the level of damage to a wild population from which there is no return.
The four most general reasons that lead to destruction of wildlife include over kill, habitat, Impact of introduced species and chairs of extinction.
Overkill occurs whenever hunting occurs at rate greater than the reproductive capacity of the population being exploited the effects of this are often noticed much more dramatically in slow grouping populations such as many larger species of fish. Initially when a portion of a ruled population is hunted, an increased availability of resources (food, etc) is experienced increasing growth and reproduction as density dependent inhibition is lowered. However, if this hunting continues at rate greater than the rate at which new members of the population can reach breeding age and produce more young, the population will begin to decrease in number.
HABITAT DESTRUCTION AND FRAGMENTATION
The habitat of any given species is considered its preferred area or territory many processes associated human habitation of an area cause loss of this area and the decrease the carrying capacity of the land for that species. In many cases these changes in land use cause a patchy break-up of the wild type of extremely fragmented habitat, forms sprawl across the landscape with patches of undeclared woodland or forest dotted in-between occasional paddocks.
Examples of habitat destruction include garaging of bush land by farmed animals, changes to natural fire regimes, forest clearing for timber production and wetland draining for city expansion.
IMPACT OF INTRODUCED SPECIES
Rats, cats, rabbis, dandelions and poison cry are all examples of species that have become invasive threats to wildlife species in various parts of the world. Frequently species that are uncommon in their home range become out of control invasions in distant but similar climates. The reasons for this have not always been clear and Charles daring felt it was unlikely that exotic species would ever be able to grow abundantly in a place they had not endowed in the reality is that the vast majority of species exposed to a new habit do not reproduce successfully. However occasionally some populations do take hold and after a period of acclimation can increase in number significantly haring destructive effects on many elements of the native environment they have become part of.
CHAINS OF EXTICTION
This final group is one of secondary effects. All wild populations of lairing things have many complex interring links wrath other living things around them. Large herbivorous animals such as the hippopotamus have populations of insectivorous birds that feed of the many parasitic insects that grow on the hippo.
CONSERVE WILDLIFE FOR BETTER ENVISIONMENT OF MAN
India has a rich heritages of wild life as well as long history and traction of conservation the conservation ethic was imbibed in the sylvan surroundings of the ashrams of our sager which were the seat of learning in the country’s ancient past Indian mythology is equally profuse in references to our regard and love for wild animals different animals were associated with different gods and were thus provided with religious sanctity and ensured conservation.
In living memory, India hunting Cheetah, which was the fastest land lion-the ‘such’ which a loves the country national emblem, is confined only to small pocket in the Gir forest of Gujarat. These are only a few of the examples in the last 500 years, one in every hundred of the world’s higher animals has become extinct, and the shadows are closing around several more.
The concern for wildlife is however, the concern for man himself. All form of life human, animal and plant are so closely interlinked that disturbance in one give rise to imbalance in the other. If spicier of plant or animals become endangered they signify a degradation in the environment which may threaten man’s own existence. So conservation of wildlife is an essential part of environment by conservation, we do not mean merely preservation, but conservation means the utilization of renewable national resources in such a manner that they are not allowed to destroy but are to be used later.
In order to conserve the wildlife the following methods are currently being used for the wildlife conservation.
- Habitat Management : In many cases, wildlife can be helped by ensuring that their environment is favorable with regards to availability of food water and shelter, this method is called habitat management. It includes ecological study of habits and habitats of wildlife species, protection, preservation and improvement of habitats, census etc. it also involves such action as soil conservation, good forestry and wildlife management.
- Breeding in Captivity : Sometimes species find it extremely to survive in their own once favorable environment. Such species can be protected by breeding in captivity and releasing in a protected area that satisfies the conditions favorable for survival. Tree species such as Ginkgo has survived only in captivity. Tiger, white tiger, today live in national parks. A species threatened with disease can be protected by sanitation measures in a habitat.
- Controlled Hunting : Excessive increase in the number of one species in a given area threatens not only its own endurance but also that of the other species by consuming major portion of available food. Such numbers must be reduced by controlled hunting or by restoring its natural enemies where they have become scarce.
- Reintroduction : Several animals and plants are become extinct, were allowed to regenerate and reproduce and flourish in suitable places similar to the original once later these were reintroduced in several park and sanctuaries and areas of their original Habitat.
- Mass Education : For any conservation program me, there is a great need of educating the people to achieve their partition. The methods adopted are “celebration of wildlife week every year, publicity through media and film show, setting up nature clubs in educational institutions”.
POACHING AND HUNTING
Poaching is the illegal hunting, killing or capturing of animals. This can occur in a variety of ways. Poaching can refer to the failure to comply with regulations for legal taking of wildlife that would otherwise be allowable. Examples include: Taking without a license or permit, use of a prohibited weapon or trap, taking outside of the designated time of day or year, and taking of a prohibited sex or life stage. Poaching can also refer to the taking of animals from a gazette wildlife sanctuary, such as a national park, game reserve, or zoo. Most countries enforce various sanctions on the hunting of wild animals, and international controls, such as bans, restrictions and monitored trade, are all aimed at controlling poaching. However it is important to note that hunting, under specific regulations, is in fact often permitted in designated game preserves.
Wildlife protection Act, 1972 strictly forbids hunting or poaching of wild animals under section 9 However, according to section 11, hunting of wild animals is permitted in certain cases :
- If the wildlife warden is satisfied that any wild animal has become dangerous to human life or is disabled or diseased beyond recovery, he may permit a person to hunt such an animal.
- The killing or wounding of a wild animal in self-defense or defense of any other person shall not be an offence.
- Any wild animal killed or wounded in defense of any person shall be government property.
According to section 12, the chief wildlife warden, may permit any person to hunt a wild animal for the purpose of:
- Scientific research and management,
- Collection of specimens,
- Derivation, collection or preparation of snake-venom for the manufacture of life-saving drugs.
Section 44 of the Act, prohibits a person without proper license from undertaking:
- Business as :
(i) Manufacturer or dealer in animal articles.
(ii) Dealer in trophy (trophy means rugs, skins, specimens of animals mounted in whole or in part antler, horn, hair, feathers, tooth, musk, nest, eggs, or captive animal or meat).
(iii) Taxidermist (curing, preparation or preservation of trophies).
- Cook or serve meat in any eating house.
- Derive, collect or prepare or deal in snake-venom.
Wildlife trade refers to the sale and exchange of wild animals and plants, and products made from them. Live animals are sold as food and pets, while ornamental plants and timber, and an array of wildlife products, such as exotic leather goods, musical instruments and even medicines, and can be found in markets around the globe from into a well-organized, sophisticated network of racketeers across the world, who carry out a trade ring worth an estimated 6 to 20 billion dollars worldwide (Ministry of Environment and Forest), second only to the narcotics (Drugs) trade in magnitude while most of the trade is legal, a substantial portion of it is not.
Illegal wildlife trade is one of the primary threats to a large number of species. Since 1970, for instance, more than 90 percent of the world’s wild rhinos have disappeared, slaughtered by the thousands for one primary reason: their magnificent horns. The convention on International Trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna (CITES), was established most of the countries in the world, in response to declining wildlife populations due to over-exploitation for international trade, but there remains much work to be done. World wildlife fund (WWF) plays an important role in fighting this illegal trade, most significantly through TRAFFIC (Trade Record Analysis of Flora and Fauna) the world’s largest wildlife trade monitoring network.
The global wildlife trade includes primates, ivory from African elephants, orchids, live birds, reptile skins, butterflies, animal furs, and tropical fish. The United States is the largest consumer of wildlife in the world, India, home to several mega-species such as the tiger, elephant, rhino, snow leopard, and musk deer, which are highly valued in this trade, has consequently become a crucial target for poaching and export of wildlife products.
Wild life trade has pushed several species to the brink tiger is one such precious animal hunted all over its range for its skin, bones another parts, besides finding use in trophies. In fact, every part of the animal is used in one way or the other. Its bones find their way into traditional oriental medicine, though there is no scientific evidence of their efficacy. Most consumers of tiger parts are from south-East Asia (China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan). In India, tiger skins have a ready market and sell for anything between Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 each.
Another highly endangered animal, the one-horned rhino, is hunted for its horn. These horns are smuggled to South-East Aria for use in traditional medicine, falsely believed to be useful as an aphrodisiac and for the treatment of blood pressure, paralysis, and brain fever.
According to the recent trade survey carried out by TRAFFIC, the trade in marine species warrants a special attention. Besides turtles and tortoises slaughtered for meat and for the pets business, the unchecked trade in sharks is also alarming. Products made of turtle shells are freely available in states like Orissa and other areas.
Unless, the ongoing trade in wildlife and its derivatives is stopped, most species-faced as they are with problems of habitat loss, fragmentation and inbreeding-will be lost forever. The cheetah is a classic example in India. A beginning can be made if the consumer is sensitized to the issue and only if demand is curtailed will the illegal trade of our available flora and fauna stop.
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
Ever since man emerged on the earth, animals have been his companions. Animals were his life support: they provide him with food (milk and meat) to eat, clothes (hides and skin) to cover his body, bones to make his shelter and weapons, and they served him as beasts of burden. As civilization advanced, man learnt the art of cultivation and to make clothes and his dependence on animals was reduced to some extent. But he continued to exploit the animals for his own benefit.
Animals are treated cruelly for the following reasons.
- For Commercial Purposes : Millions of animals are killed annually for skin, fur, ivory, horns and other parts. Some animals like foxes, ferrets, lemming bears, mink etc. are reared in fur forms where they lead a life of misery and pain in small cages. The passenger pigeons were killed because their meat was good to eat, their feazther4s could be used to make comfortable pillows. Similarly, blue whale, the world’s largest animal has been hunted to near extinction for its oil, meat and bones.
- Illegal Trade in Animals : The illegal world trade in rare and endangered species of birds and animals is estimated to be US $ 8 billion per year. Most of the poachers in the developing countries are poor and illiterate and depend on this trade for their livelihood. They kill animals indiscriminately.
- For Entertainment : A number of animals like elephants, lions, bears, horses, dogs, cats, some birds like pigeons, hens, etc. are trained to perform in the circus, TV shows, on the streets, etc. during their training period, they are chained, whipped and tortured to perform and act as per the wishes their masters.
- For Experimentation : The severest form of cruelty is inflicted on the animals when they are captured and kept in the laboratories for testing new medicines, cosmetics, etc. All new medicines and cosmetics are first tested on the poor animals that are made to suffer the pain and side-effects on these tests.
- For Domestic Needs : Some of the animals like bulls, Oscan, horses, etc. have to perform various duties for their master. Bulls, horses and camels are used in the carts to carry people and load. They are often made to perform tasks which are beyond their capacity.
WILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT, 1972
The wildlife protection Act of 1972 refers to a sweeping package of legislation enacted in 1972 by the government of India. Prior to 1972, India only had five designated national parks. Among other reforms, the Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species, hunting or otherwise harvesting these species was largely outlawed.
The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto. It extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act. It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection, with absolute protection being provided under schedule I and part II of schedule II with the highest penalties but the penalties are much lowe4r, with the enforcement authorities having the power to compound offences (as in they impose fines on the offenders).
The major provisions of the Act are :
- Strengthening management and protection of infrastructure of National Parks and Sanctuaries. The government may appoint the following officers to implement the provisions of the Act as follows: Central Government: A Director of wildlife preservation and Assistant director of wildlife preservation.State Government: A chief wildlife warden and wildlife wardens. It provides for the appointment of wildlife advisory Board, wildlife wardens, their powers, duties, etc.
- Protection of wildlife from threats of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products.
- Special care and captive breeding programmer for highly endangered species. (Examples : Gharial, estuarine crocodile of wildlife.
- Research and development
- Development of selected ex-situ conservation areas, like zoological and botanical gardens.
IMPORTANCE OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Wildlife conservation is applied ecology and may also be regarded as bio-economy. In other words, conservation is defined as sound preservation, management and sensible use of the available natural resources. Considering this definition in view, governments of several nations have passed law and set aside national park, sanctuaries and other wildlife reserves in an effort to save the dwindling wildlife.
Why do we need to protect our wildlife from extinction? Why should we care about disappearing animals?
The answer to such questions can be attributed to many reasons. Some of them are as follows :
- Survival value : Every species plays an important role in maintaining an ecological balance among the living system of the earth. These systems must continue to function if is to survive. Loss of any species threatens the survival of several species inclusive of man. Destruction of wildlife may cause upset in such a balance resulting in severe consequences. Thus, protection of every animal species is of great importance to the quality of life and to the survival of man himself.
- Scientific Value : The study of wildlife provides valuable knowledge about life processes, which has helped scientists to understand the functioning and behavior of the human body. Scientists have also gained medical knowledge and discovered important medical products by studying wildlife. By studying the effects of environmental pollution of wildlife it is possible to learn how pollution affects human life.
- Economic value : Wild species of animals provide meat for food and skin for fur. They form an important natural resource. With proper care and management, it can yield good dividends and even earn foreign exchange. Wildlife trade stands just second after narcotics. The economic value of wildlife is best seen in marine fisheries.
In addition, conservation of wildlife becomes necessary and of great importance due to the some other values to mankind these are:
- On all continents wildlife is becoming an increasingly important recreational asset and tourist attraction.
- The preservation of wildlife helps many naturalists and behavior biologists to study morphology, anatomy, physiology, ecology, behavior biology of the wild animals under their natural surroundings.
- Wildlife represents the result of many years of evolution and constitutes an environment heritage to the past, a world which once surrounded our ancestors.
The term wildlife was introduced by Willion Hornaday in 1913 in his book “our vanishing wildlife”. Wildlife is commonly respired to represent the non domesticated animals living in natural habitats like forests. In simple world, wildlife means non-domesticated animals found in wild without caring of human beings.
Wildlife literally means wild untamed animals roaming in forests and flourishing without human care. For a lay-man, wildlife is just the wild animals like lion, tiger, panther, elephant, rhino, deer etc found in forests. Wildlife is an integral part of any country representing culture, tradition and heritage.
Wildlife plays a very significant role in maintaining the ecological balance of the nature and thus directly influencing the country’s natural heritage and human environment.
In ancient times, a wonderful variety of wildlife had been flourished in India. Big heads of elephants roamed the Shivalik ranges where they are no more to be seen now. The area also abounded in hippos, rhinos of several kinds along with wild oxen, giraffe, bison, deer, antelopes and wild pigs. Apes like chimpanzees, orangutans, baboons, languor and macaques infested the forests. Then there were abundant carnivores like Asiatic lion, cheetah, the saber-toothed tiger etc. in Indian forests. For a long time, these wild animals lived and flourished in conducive surroundings protects by the deep-rooted Indian tradition of compassion for wildlife.