The Bold Voice of J&K

Human Wildlife Conflict and delicacy of Nature

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The oldest part of the framework goes back to the very beginning of human civilization in India (4000-5000 years ago) when a unique ethic of animal welfare and protection evolved to protect life other than human. Chanakya exposed the need to protect elephant forests in the Arthashastra and Asoka forbade the killing of animals for sport. And these are too of the several interventions that contributed to the preservation of nature in ancient and medieval India. The post-independence era saw the birth the Indian wild life protection act, 1972. A forward thinking law which is probably the single most important reason why we still have as much as we do today the active political support that wildlife conservation as a cause drew made the frame work of protection stronger.
If the frame work got its contours from the Indian populace and its elected representatives, it got its grain from the front lime forest guards that protect wildlife through much of its range. More than 20,000 forest guards, foresters and range officers form the guardians of our wild, the van rakshak who toil day in day out to protect our wildlife. Though, like all government departments, this department too has been hit by corruption, the sloth and inefficiencies, it has remained on the who a hardworking and honest service that has protected wildlife from poachers, smugglers and sheer of neighboring villages. Finding the binding glue for the frame is providing by the innumerable men and women, tiger wallahs, herdsmen, elephant conservationist and amateur nature enthusiasts to formed the clubs, conservation trusts and charitable societies to ensure that the official framework was buffered and enhanced.
Because of all these varied networks and support structures and despite a billion people crowing out nature the country still has more the half of the world’s wild tigers not with understanding the current crises 655 of the Asian elephants, 855 of the greater one-horned rhinos and 1005 of the Asian lion.
India- the land of natural wonders and heavenly resources. India has about 2% of the total forest area of the world. However, the forests here are home to millions of flora and fauna. According to IUCN Red Book, out of 63837 species living in Indian forests, 19817 species are on the verge of extinction. In the present scenario where many species of flora and fauna are thriving for their existence, more number of threatened species is continuously getting added to the list. The situation is very tense. More than 10000 species are vulnerable, 5766 species are endangered and 3947 species are critically endangered. Here we are talking about the species and not the individual. The total population of endangered species is in the millions.
Most endangered species in India include Asiatic Lion, Bengal Tiger, snow Leopard, Nilgiri Tahr, Kashmiri Red Stag, black buck, One-horned Rhinoceros, Malabar Mahogany, Muesli, Red sandalwood, Assam Catkin Yew, ebony and Hinkley Oak.
The main reason for such disastrous condition of plants and animals is the loss and destruction of habitat

  • Over-hunting and over-harvesting
  • Excessive exploitation of resources
  • Introduction of invasive species
  • Deforestation
  • Human population growth
  • Pollution
  • Industrialization
  • Urbanization
  • Climate Change and Global Warming
  • Acid rain
  • Nitrogen pollution

Such a growth rate of species loss is not a good sign. Destroying the habitat of millions of flora and fauna is an inhumane act. Just think about being homeless for a while. The condition of wildlife is really pathetic. Our future generations will not be so lucky to see many of the species that we can easily see around us today. Natural resources are not just for our personal benefit. We should be morally bound and have a proper conscience about what we are doing. We are destroying the right to life of many species just because we are bound by our greed and false sense of superiority.
All this is causing the breakdown of the ecosystem. Rare herbs of medicinal value are becoming difficult to find, it is a matter of great shame for the medical field. Crop yields are decreasing because the higher the number of species in an ecosystem, the higher the crop yields. This also affects the economy of the country. Ecosystem chains are badly disturbed.
Appropriate measures should be adopted to reduce the speed of extinction loss. Various national parks, sanctuaries, conservation reserves, community reserves and wildlife reserves should be established. Appropriate environment should be created in the in-situ conservation sites. Deforestation and tree plantation programs should be campaigned. Let us work together to create a healthy environment where every species and every organism has the right to live and the right to habitat.

(The author is former Senior Forests Officer (J&K).

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