G L Khajuria
We deserve no right to live over this globe, if we don’t bear sympathy in mind for a variety of animal life that surrounds us, and definitely God will be unhappy at our activities of merciless and wanton destruction of this wildlife which He himself loved and sympathized with. With this may be added what Mr. Nehru once remarked. “I wonder sometime what these animals and birds think of man and how would they describe him if they have the capacity to do so. I rather doubt if their description would be very complimentary to man. In spite of our rich culture and civilization man continues to be not only wild but more dangerous than any of the so called animals.
History amply shows that our religion, custom and traditions were intimately associated with variety of form of animal life. But with the passage of time and other conditions, things went on changing from bad to worse. With the advent of the world wars, new type of guns were manufactured and the hunters took their use otherwise. The early British officers were too much interested in hunting and they caused great havoc. Add to it the merciless treatment extended by princes of India, Who in their interest killed a large number of lions, tigers and leopards. Then came the Grow more food campaign”, which resulted in the indiscriminate felling of forest tree for agriculture. The Government itself was little aware and less interested in preserving wildlife and instead, issued the licenses extensively. As a result of this merciless destruction, the number went on reducing and at present the species are classified as rare, threatened and extinct. Rare being those which were in abundant in number but due to destructive means have been reduced to few, threatened are those which are continuously subject to threat while extinct being those which were abundant once but have now reduced at zero.
Breeding of endangered species in captivity is a recently introduced method by which the species can be multiplied under proper care and supervision. In the mid of 1976, world conference on breeding of endangered species in captivity took place. One hundred and seventy delegates from all over the world participated in the conference held at Zoo in London for three days. After discussion it was concluded that though captive-breeding suffers from large amount of failures, when a species is shifted from its natural habitat, yet success has been found in varying degrees. So, certain species which are more threatened with extinction, can be bred in captivity under proper care and supervision and can therefore, be multiplied successfully.
The paramount need of the hour lies in the systematic ecological studies, population surveys, mortality and breeding datas, predator prey relationship in order to ascertain their real condition and circumstances. The improvement of game habitat is one of the most important measures if we are to succeed in handling of the problem of dynamic manipulation. Again, appointment of various committees and commission to review the progress made and at the same time give broad out lined step to be undertaken for the protection of wildlife of all strata.
In the third place natural extinct, which is also named as” biological eclipse” is also responsible for the wildlife extinction. But it is law of nature which applies everywhere extension- threshold is allied to renewability, named the power of species to establish itself from near zero-abundance. When the extinction threshold is reduced to lower degrees then gradual decline in the wild animals takes place and this had been the predominant cause of extinction of wildlife. There are many more to be named which were in one way the order responsible for the extinction of wildlife i.e. use of pesticides in the agricultural lands and many more of its ilks. As a results of the factors enumerated above, many species became extinct and many more are subject to threat. Too much has been talked about saving the Asiatic lion (Panthera despesica). This Sher babar which inhabits open tracts was abundant in our country, but it is sad that today its number is reduced and confined to “Gir Forest ” in Gujarat. However, the wildlife department is fully on the job to enhance their existing strength.
During the past few decades in the Gir Forest the sanctuary area has shrunk from 5180 kms. to 1295 kms. where has all the land gone? It has been devoured by men, his houses, factories and plantation, with the poor lion pushed to corner fending (providing) for itself. The cheetah (Actionanyse jubatus) or the hunting leopard has disappeared from our country which was once plenti in the Deccan, its principal food was the blackbuck, chinkara, and four- horned antelope. which was subjected to destruction with the result that it itself disappeared. The great Indian rhinoceros (R. Unicornis) which once existed throughout the Indo gangtetic plain, almost up to Peshwar, today it is confined to a small areas like Assam, Bengal, same is the case with other animals viz, the Kashmir stag (Cerous hunglu), the Indian wild ass the thamin deer (panokia eldieldi), the muskdeer (Moschus moschifems), the pigmy hog (pomcula Syloania), the snowleopard (Unices Uncies,) the clouded leopard ( Neafelis nebulosa) the great India Bustard (Charioties ingriops), the white winged duck ( Asacomis scutulatus) the pink headed duck (Rhodonessa caryophtllacea), etc. These species were at time abundant but today they are threatened with extinction.
How threatened species can be safeguarded? There on cut and try formula to safeguard these species. Of the various steps which can be undertaken, first is the control of such activities which have led and are still leading to the extinction of the species and these include as mentioned earlier, habitat change, poaching, killing, hunting, us e of pesticide and industrialization, etc. Then other steps can be undertaken and of these first comes the declaring of as many areas under wildlife sanctuaries, National parks, in safeguarding species are necessary, in parallel with upcoming of ‘Days- weeks’ for the last half a century, wildlife week is most reverentially celebrated from Oct 2 to 8 every year to make humankind’s awakening.
The Government of India has decided to frame National Wildlife Action Plan (2017-2031) for conservation of wild life.
And conclusively, it is added over here that “convinced of the fundamental importance of conserving the natural environment, upon which rests the foundation of human civilization, let us solemnly pledge that we will spare no efforts to preserve our vanishing wildlife and our dwindling forest area?
(The author is former Deputy Conservator of Forest J&K)