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Wildlife Conservation in India
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:
- 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.
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