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This article provides information on wildlife conservation projects in India. Explore more on conservation of Indian wildlife.

Wildlife Conservation in India

The Indian subcontinent boasts of serving as the natural habitat of a large and varied wildlife. We can find some of the most magnificent as well as the rarest wildlife species of the world in the country. The beauty and variety we see in the jungles of India is difficult to be expressed in words. However, the past few decades have seen the greed and negligence of human beings working to the detriment of this rich wildlife. Large-scale poaching, habitat destruction and conflict with humans have resulted in a rapid decline in the population of most of the wild animals and birds.

Conservation of Indian wildlife was not given the requisite importance for a long time. However, the government as well as the people slowly and gradually understood their responsibility in this context. Today, efforts are being made towards wildlife conservation in India, to preserve this natural wealth. Numerous wildlife conservation projects have been undertaken in India, both at the government as well as the individual level, to protect the rich wildlife of the subcontinent.

Threats to Wildlife
The major threats being faced by the wildlife in India are:
    Wildlife in the Himalayas
  • The problem of overcrowding is one of the major reasons for the depleting population of wild animals in India. The wildlife sanctuaries of India have become overcrowded and their capacity has decreased to quite an extent.
  • Tourism in the national parks of the country is increasing day by day. One of the reasons for this is a rise in the popularity of eco-tourism and adventure tourism. This has led to a growth in vehicle pollution and wildlife road fatalities, apart from leading to a damage of the natural habitat of birds and animals.
  • With the increase in tourism, the parks have witnessed an increase in wildfires also. Innocent campfires started by visitors have, more often than not, led to menacing wildfires. These fires not only kill animals, but also destroy their natural habitat.
  • The wildlife of coastal areas is constantly disturbed by personal watercrafts, like jet skis or wave runners. These personal watercrafts enter shallow waters and expel nesting birds from their roosts. Such activities are disturbing the mating pattern of birds.
  • Releasing of chemicals and other toxic effluents into the water bodies has led to poisoning of the water. The animals and birds drinking such water face a fatal threat. Even the population of fish, living in such water bodies, is declining at a fast pace.
  • The climate changes taking place in the world today, are affecting not only humans, but also the wildlife. The natural habitat as well as migration patterns of the animals and birds is experiencing disturb patterns.
  • Last but not the least, the threat of poaching has been haunting the wildlife of India since ages. Even after the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, the threat of poaching has not been totally eliminated.
Project Tiger
Indian government commenced the 'Project Tiger' in 1973-74, with the objective of restraining as well as augmenting the declining population of tigers. Under the project, nine wildlife sanctuaries were taken over and developed into tiger reserves. These reserves were developed as exact replicas of the varied terrains of the country, with their core area being free of any human movement. With time, the number of sanctuaries under the ambit of 'Project Tiger' was increased and by 2003, it had been increased to 27. Along with providing a natural habitat to the tiger, these reserves offer them protection against poaching also. The results are for all to see. After undertaking the project, the population of tigers in India has risen considerably.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
The current WCS program in India was started in 1986, as a single tiger research project at Nagarhole National Park. From a single project, WCS has developed into a comprehensive portfolio of activities related to wildlife. The activities undertaken under the adage of WCS include scientific research, national capacity building, policy interventions, site-based conservation and developing new models of wildlife conservation.