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November 03, 2017

Essays for Competitive Exams : Wildlife Conservation

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Wildlife Conservation

Main Points to Highlight : Forests and wildlife are part and parcel of our precious and fragile environment and need protection and conservation. There are a couple of acts which prohibit exploitation of endangered species of animals, birds and plants and yet the poachers are on the prowl and illegal hunting and killing of animals is on with impunity. Because of fast shrinking forest-cover and habitat, sometimes wild animals like hyenas, tigers, wolves and leopards turn man-eaters and attack villages. The large scale and indiscriminate destruction of forests has created a dangerous situation and alarm bells have started ringing. Forests and wild life are very valuable and renewable sources of nature and need to be preserved, protected and expanded at all costs

Protection and conservation of forests and wildlife are essential to maintain 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 of climate, rain-patterns, water and soil conservation. They are the natural home of many types of animals, birds, reptiles, insects etc. They supply timber, fuel, medicines, wood for paper-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. India has 16 per cent of the world's population with only 2.4 per cent 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 means the destruction of the wild animals. Wildlife, like we human beings, needs food, water, and shelter. Destruction of forests, wetlands, marshes, ponds, 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 1993 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 of 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 the act.

India has a very rich flora and fauna but many plant and animal species are already extinct and many other are on the verge of extinction. In spite of various acts and rules-regulations against exploitation of wildlife, the real conservation has still a long way to cover. India is a huge country and sub-continent and one of the major wildlife producing countries 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 poisoned 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 Garhwal district of Uttaranchal 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. On occasions, the villagers injure more animals than they kill and so the injured animals turn into man-eaters and attack villages at night for food. When a human killing 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. 

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 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 aesthetic 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 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 regions 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 many other harms. Encroachment on forests should also be checked and, if possible, banned. Non-government agencies, village communities, tribals 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 practised scrupulously. Veerappan's continued bloody trade in ivory and sandal- wood 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.
shared by Suresh Kumar
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