‘Wildlife’ refers to plant and animal species living in their natural habitat. Wildlife conservation protects plant and animal species and their habitats.
As a component of the world’s ecosystems, wildlife contributes to the balance and stability of natural processes. Wildlife conservation efforts in India protect these species and educate people on how to coexist with other species sustainably.
Human population has increased exponentially in the last 200 years and has currently exceeded more than 7 billion people. The population continues to grow. Therefore, to sustain such an enormous population, earth’s natural treasures are being depleted at an unprecedented rate.
This growth and development threatens the habitats and survival of various species of wildlife around the world, especially animals and plants that have relocated for land developments or slaughtered for food or other diplomatic reasons.
Wildlife faces several issues, including invasive species from other parts of the world, climate change, pollution, hunting, fishing, and poaching.
Daily actions, such as logging, poaching, and agricultural expansion, are driving species to extinction and causing biodiversity loss. Wildlife species are being pushed to the brink of extinction due to human activity. Animals, such as rhinoceros and elephants, are on the verge of extinction as a result of poaching.
We engage in myriad activities that harm endangered wildlife species. We should conserve forests and wildlife in India and other countries and protect these species because these habitats have numerous benefits for humans and animals.
Table of Contents
What is Meant by Wildlife Conservation, and What are its Types?
The practice of safeguarding animal species and their habitats is known as wildlife conservation, and it encompasses both animals and their environments.
Generally, wildlife conservation efforts are implemented to protect species on the verge of extinction due to manmade causes. Pollution, climate change, and unjust laws are examples of such causes. Furthermore, quotas can lead to overhunting and an overabundance of wild animals in captivity.
Legislation such as the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the Endangered Species Act, the establishment and protection of public lands, and responsible public activities that conserve wild animal populations are all used to attain this goal.
Many efforts have been made to conserve animals at the international and national levels. Many non-governmental organisations are working to protect wildlife. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) was established in 1973 and is one of the most well-known international agreements. It categorises numerous species into different groups. Wildlife conservation can be classified into two categories:
‘Off-site conservation’ is the direct translation of ex situ conservation. This method involves preserving a nearly extinct plant or animal species, variety, or breed outside of its native surroundings.
For example, by evacuating a portion of a population from an endangered area and placing them in an enclosed environment similar to the individual animal’s native environment but under human care. Zoological parks and wildlife safaris are examples of such conservation categories.
In-situ conservation refers to the conservation and protection of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and retrieval of survivable populations of species in their natural surroundings, or, in the case of cultivated species, in the surroundings where their distinct and unique properties evolved.
Wildlife Conservation Efforts in India by the Government
The Indian government made the following measures to conserve wildlife:
Captive breeding program
Captive breeding is the practice of selecting wild animals and rearing them in controlled environments under the supervision of professionals. Such efforts could be the last chance for a species to survive in the wild.
Adoption of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network by India
South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) is a support organisation for international wildlife enforcement. In 2011, it debuted in Paro, Bhutan. It was created to foster cooperation to harmonise and enforce wildlife protection. Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives make up SAWEN.
The Ganges River Dolphin has been designated a National Aquatic Animal by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change. The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 included it in Schedule I. River water pollution, poaching, and siltation were recognised as severe hazards to dolphins.
Conservation Project for Crocodiles
The major objective of the conservation project of crocodiles is to protect the remaining crocodile population in its natural habitat—the IUCN lists ‘Ghariyal’ as Critically Endangered.
Sea Turtle Project
This project was initiated in 1999 by the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Olive Ridley Turtle travels to India only during the winter. The Wildlife Institute of India is the project’s implementing agency. The classifications under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the sea turtles are considered vulnerable.
This project is a government-sponsored programme that began in 1992. The program is used in 13 states, and 88 elephant corridors were built. In collaboration with the Wildlife Trust of India, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change created the Haathi Mere Saathi scheme.
This project is a government-sponsored programme that began in 1973 to conserve the endangered Indian Tiger. The tiger population has plummeted in recent decades, and the National Tiger Conservation Authority was established for this purpose. The initiative began with nine Tiger reserves and now has over 20. A tiger census is undertaken every 4 years.
Importance of Wildlife Conservation
Wildlife conservation is essential for a variety of reasons, including:
All creatures play a role in ecology. When the population of an animal species declines, another species is in jeopardy. The natural food cycle is disrupted, and the ecology suffers.
Ecological Stability Protection
Droughts occur due to the degradation of water supplies and failure to preserve the animals and natural habitats. Furthermore, human activities like deforestation and logging harm the environment, and the maintenance of flora and fauna aids ecological stability.
Plants, for example, keep the environment’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in check. Therefore, plants play a major role in maintaining a healthy ecology.
Improve food, water, and air security
Human food security can be improved through wildlife conservation. It also contributes to agricultural diversification research. Food availability increases by protecting natural habitats from deterioration and forests from destruction. It guarantees that agricultural activities have access to sufficient and constant natural resources. As a result, food security is multiplied. It also guarantees that clean air and water are available.
The importance of animals in pharmaceutical products cannot get overstated. For example, cobra venom is required for the production of leprosy medicine. Lobsters can also get used as antifungals. Wildlife conservation also protects their natural habitat, critical for medicinal research and the pharmaceutical industry’s long-term viability.
Boost to tourism
Tourism, which is a major contributor to a country’s GDP, is negatively impacted when wildlife conservation is not prioritised. Many tourists like to spend their vacations in wildlife refuges, national parks, forests, and zoos. They also participate in various activities, such as camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. Wildlife conservation allows people to experience nature at its best while enhancing a country’s economic progress.
Preservation of heritage and culture
The local flora and wildlife is linked to livelihood and traditional practices in some areas. As a result, environmental conservation is critical to avoid the loss of native heritage and land. Africa Safaris include animals such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, and elephants. The movement of tens of thousands of wild animals linked with the ‘Serengeti Plain’ ecosystem is another evidence of the importance of wildlife conservation in preserving tradition and culture.
Aiding of pollination and the survival of native plant species
Wildlife conservation is essential in crop production, intercropping, and maintaining the diversity of native plant species because they rely on nectar from flowers. Bees transfer pollen by travelling from one blossom to another in quest of nectar, sustaining crop growth. Insects, birds, butterflies aid pollination, and bees aid pollination. Therefore, their conservation is critical for food production.
Identification of plant and animal species for research
Even though animal study has increased in recent decades, it is estimated that many animals and plants are yet to be discovered. When most human drugs are derived from microbiological creatures, animals, and plants, protecting wildlife and their habitats becomes clear. Some researchers believe that drugs for some incurable diseases will most likely originate from yet-to-be-discovered animals or plants, emphasising the necessity to protect natural environments.
Opportunities for employment
Wildlife provides jobs for tens of thousands of jobs. Many individuals work in zoos or game parks where wild animals are present. Journalists also work in areas like these, producing documentaries about wildlife, the natural world, and other topics. Wildlife stimulates tourism. Tourists that visit national parks and sanctuaries look forward to staying in cabins in the woods. Many resorts are within walking distance of amusement parks. As a result, many people working in the wildlife, tourism, and hospitality industries rely heavily on wildlife protection.
For future generations
Conservation efforts will ensure that future generations will see today’s animals. Various animal species are on the verge of extinction due to human actions and other factors. The black and Javan rhinoceros, the South China tiger, the Sumatran elephant, the Amur leopard, the pangolin, the Cross River gorilla, and the Hawksbill turtle are among animal species on the verge of extinction.
India’s Wildlife Legal Provisions
According to Article 51A(g) of the Indian Constitution of 1950, safeguarding wildlife and exhibiting sympathy for living animalsIt is a fundamental duty of citizens.
Article 48A states that it is the State’s responsibility to conserve, safeguard, and work to improve the country’s forests and animals.
Schedule VII List III of the Constitution’s Concurrent List covers the subject of wild animal and bird protection. It shows that both the Union and the State Governments govern the subject.
Wildlife Treaties on a Global Scale
International wildlife legislation can be an effective instrument for improving animal protection. Several global and regional instruments have been enacted for wildlife conservation. Examples of international conservation efforts include Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and others.
As the world’s most intelligent species, humans must ensure that our actions do not harm nature. Wildlife protection is essential for long-term sustainability. However, human activities in these species’ habitats cause considerable environmental damage.
Wildlife regulations must be enforced with greater rigour. Many efforts have been made on the international and national levels. Project Tiger, Project Elephant, Captive Breeding Program, and others projects have been undertaken as wildlife conservation efforts in India. India also implements a variety of strategies and policies at the international level and per international treaties and conventions. These projects attempt to mitigate the damage and prevent future interruptions. The extinction of wildlife poses a serious threat to the entire world. We should understand that when one crucial ecosystem component is lost, the entire ecosystem suffers.
FAQs on Wildlife conservation efforts in India
What is the most crucial activity leading to the extinction of wildlife?
The regular alteration and destruction of the natural habitat are leading to the extinction of wildlife.
What animal is the representative of the conservation efforts by the World Wildlife Fund?
The Giant Panda is a symbol of concentrated conservation efforts on a global scale.
When did Project Tiger launch?
The project was launched in 1973.
In which year was Project Elephant launched?
The project was launched in 1992.
In which year was Project Snow Leopard launched?
The Government of India launched the project in 2009.
What year did the Wildlife Protection Act go into effect?
The act was enacted in 1972.
How can the viable material of the endangered species be preserved?
The Gene Bank of endangered species stores genetic data.