WILDLIFE CONSERVATION IN INDIA INTRODUCTION The Indian subcontinent boasts of serving as the natural habitat of a large and varied wildlife. The sub-continent with it’s varied geographical spread from the Himalayas in the north to the Cauvery basin in the south and the Kutch region in the west to the plains of Assam in East present a diverse range of environmental conditions for some of the most magnificent as well as the rarest wildlife species of the world in India to exist .
The beauty and variety we see in the jungles of India is difficult to be expressed in words and I bring together the breadth through pictures in this project . 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. Some animals like the Indian cheetah due to this are now extinct. 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. The private sector has also started stepping in as part of their corporate social responsibility to bring about this change and increase people’s awareness. NEED FOR CONSERVING WILDLIFE
Wildlife is one of the most gracious gifts of nature to this land, which is as rich in its variety and colours as its number. The majestic lion, the grateful yet fearsome tiger, unproductive leopard, powerful elephant, the nimble deer, attractive antelope, the picturesque peafowl, the gorgeous pelican, the beautiful parakeets, wood-pecker and the elegant flamingo are some of these of which any country might be proud. There are 312 species of mammals, 1175 species of birds, 399 species of reptiles, 60000 species of insects and 181 species of amphibians and 46610 species of plants.
Over the past 2000 years about 106 species of animals and about 140 species of birds have become extinct because of climate and geographic changes and also by over hunting by man for food, medicine, fur and many other reasons. According to ecologist more than 600 species of animals and birds are expected to be extinct if not protected by wildlife management About 250 species of animals and birds have become extinct due to several factors including the human population, which has reached the pinnacle of progress and prosperity ignoring the other forms of life.
Human activities pose the biggest threat to wildlife because expanding human population results in expanding needs of man. With scientific progress and technological development man has started utilizing natural resources at a much larger scale. Continuous increase in population caused an increasing demand for resources. Wildlife is considered a renewable resource and hence its conservation is essential if we desire sustainable yields. Nature has endowed India with such abundant and varied flora that it compares favorably with that of any country in the world whether it is developed, developing or underdeveloped. . In our daily life, we use many things, which are products of wildlife. Many plants have medicinal value, for example, we get, penicillin from Penicillium, quinine from Cinchona, morphine from opium poppy. 2. Wildlife is a source of income to recreation and tourism industry. 3. The most popular tourist attractions are national and state parks and forests. 4. Wild life contributes to the maintenance of material cycles such as carbon and nitrogen cycles. 5. For improvement and progress in agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries the genes from wild life preserved as gene bank are utilized in breeding programmes. . Maintaining the ecological balance of nature. extinction of a species effects the whole food chain 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. RECENTLY EXTINCT SPECIES The exploitation of land and forest resources by humans along with hunting and trapping for food and sport has led to the extinction of many species in India in recent times. These species include mammals such as the Indian/Asiatic Cheetah, Wild Zebu, Javan Rhinoceros, and Sumatran Rhinoceros.  While some of these large mammal species are confirmed extinct, there have been many smaller animal and plant species whose status is harder to determine.
Many species have not been seen since their description. Some species of birds have gone extinct in recent times, including the Pink-headed Duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea) and theHimalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa). A species of warbler, Acrocephalus orinus, known earlier from a single specimen collected byAllan Octavian Hume from near Rampur in Himachal Pradesh, was rediscovered after 139 years in Thailand.  WILDLIFE CONSERVATION IN INDIA • WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY 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. WCS mission is to save wildlife and wild lands. While research provides guidance for conservation practice in each context, we believe in demonstrating ‘working models’ of conservation on ground through long term commitment to threatened species at specific sites and landscapes.
WCS-India has been engaged in helping government and non-government partners in protecting India’s flagship species, the tiger, since 1980s. Our conservation is effectively done through a network of dedicated local partners who continually engage with officials, wildlife managers, local communities, opinion makers and social leaders located near our key long-term sites. The key to our conservation approaches are committed local partners who share our ecological world-view, are inspired by our mission and can work in conformity within the existing framework of Indian laws.
Although our conservation actions are site-based, our interventions are also scaled up to state and national levels as appropriate. 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. The program has been credited with tripling the number of the wild Bengal tiger from 1200 in 1973 to over 3500 in 1990s. however a tiger census in 2007 stated that the wild tiger population in India declined by 60% to approximately 1,411.
This was mainly due to poaching. Following the release of this report, the Indian government pledged $153 million to further fund the project tiger initiative,set up a tiger protection force to combat poachers and fund the relocation of upto 2,00,000 villagers to minimize human-tiger interaction. Additionally 8 new tiger reserves have been set up. TIGERS FOREVER Tigers forever is a collaboration between the Wildlife Conservation Society and Banthera Corporation to serve as both a science based action plan and a business model to ensure that tigers live in the wild forever.
Initial field sites of tigers forever include the world’s largest reserve, the 21756sq. km hukaung valley in Myanmar, the Western Ghats in India, Thailand’s Huai Khaeng-Thung Yai protected areas and other sites in Laos PDR , Cambodia , the Russian FarEast and China covering approximately 260,000sq. km of critical tiger habitat. PROJECT ELEPHANT Project Elephant (PE), a centrally sponsored scheme, was launched in February 1992 to provide financial and technical support to major elephant bearing States in the country for protection of elephants, their habitats and corridors.
It also seeks to address the issues of human-elephant conflict and welfare of domesticated elephants. The Project is being implemented in 13 States / UTs , viz. Andhra Pradesh , Arunachal Pradesh , Assam , Jharkhand , Karnataka , Kerala , Meghalaya , Nagaland , Orissa , Tamil Nadu , Uttranchal , Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. 25 Elephant Reserves (ERs) extending over about 58,000 sq km have been formally notified by various State Governments till now. The estimated population of wild elephants in 2002 was 26413.
Main activities of the Project are as follows: • Ecological restoration of existing natural habitats and migratory routes of elephants; • Development of scientific and planned management for conservation of elephant habitats and viable population of Wild Asiatic elephants in India; • Promotion of measures for mitigation of man elephant conflict in crucial habitats and moderating pressures of human and domestic stock activities in crucial elephant habitats; • Strengthening of measures for protection of Wild elephants form poachers and unnatural causes of death; • Research on Elephant management related issues; Public education and awareness programmes; • Eco-development • Veterinary care PROJECT HANGUL The Kashmir stag (Cervus affinis hanglu) also called Hangul is a subspecies of Central Asian Red Deer native to northern India. This deer lives in groups of two to 18 individuals in dense riverine forests, high valleys, and mountains of the Kashmir valley and northern Chamba in Himachal Pradesh. In Kashmir, it’s found in Dachigam National Park at elevations of 3,035 meters.
These deer once numbered from about 5,000 animals in the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately, they were threatened, due to habitat destruction, over-grazing by domestic livestock, and poaching. This dwindled to as low as 150 animals by 1970. However, the state of Jammu & Kashmir, along with the IUCN and the WWF prepared a project for the protection of these animals. It became known as Project Hangul. This brought great results and the population increased to over 340 by 1980. INDIAN CROCODILE CONSERVATION PROJECT
The Indian Crocodile Conservation Project is considered among the more successful of conservation initiatives in the world. It has pulled back the once threatened crocodilians from the brink of extinction and place them on a good path of recovery. The Project has not just produced a large number of crocodiles, but has contributed towards conservation in a number of related fields as well. The broad objectives of activities under crocodile project were as follows : – To protect the remaining population of crocodilians in their natural habitat by creating sanctuaries. To rebuild natural population quickly through `grow and release’ or `rear and release’ technique – more than seven thousand crocodiles have been restocked – about 4000 gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), 1800 mugger (Crocodylus palustris) and 1500 salt- water crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) – To promote captive breeding, – To take-up research to improve management. – To build up a level of trained personnel for better continuity of the project through training imparted at project-sites and through the (erstwhile) Central Crocodile Breeding and Management Training Institute, Hyderabad. To involve the local people in the project intimately SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION PROJECT A significant proportion of world’s Olive Ridley Turtle population migrates every winter to Indian coastal waters for nesting mainly at eastern coast. With the objective of conservation of olive ridley turtles and other endangered marine turtles. Ministry of Environment & Forests initiated the Sea Turtle Conservation Project in collaboration of UNDP in November, 1999 with Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun as the Implementing Agency. The project is being implemented in 10 coastal States of the country with special emphasis in State of Orissa.
Total financial allocation for the project is Rs. 1. 29 crores. The project has helped in preparation of inventory map of breeding sites of Sea Turtles, identification of nesting and breeding habitats along the shore line, and migratory routes taken by Sea Turtles, development of guidelines to safeguard and minimize turtle mortality, development of national and international cooperative and collaborative action for Sea Turtle Conservation, developing guideline plans for tourism in sea turtle areas and developing infrastructure and human resources for Sea Turtle Conservation.
One of the important achievements have been demonstration of use of Satellite Telemetry to locate the migratory route of Olive Ridley Turtles in the sea and sensitizing the fishermen and State Government for the use of Turtle Exclusion Device (TED) in fishing trawlers to check turtle mortality in fishing net. ACTION PLAN FOR VULTURE CONSERVATION IN INDIA India has nine species of vultures in the wild.
These are the Oriental White-backed Vulture (Gyps bengalensis), Slender billed Vulture (Gyps tenuirostris), Long billed Vulture (Gyps indicus), Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Red Headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), Indian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis), Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) and Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus). The population of three species i. e. White-backed Vulture, Slender billed Vulture and Long billed Vulture in the wild has declined drastically over the past decade.
The decline of Gyps genus in India has been put at 97% by 2005. The phenomenon of ‘Neck drooping’, where birds would exhibit this behaviour for protracted periods over several weeks before collapsing and falling out of trees, is the only obvious behavioural indication that birds are ill. Experiments showed that captive vultures are highly susceptible to Diclofenac, and are killed by kidney failure leading to gout within a short time of feeding on the carcass of an animal treated with the normal veterinary dose.
The ecological, social and cultural significance of vultures in India may be summed up as: scavenging on animal carcasses of animals and thereby helping keep the environment clean; and the disposal of dead bodies as per the religious practices of the Parsi community. In some areas the population of feral dogs, being the main scavenging species in the absence of vultures, has been observed to have increased.
Both increases in putrefying carcasses and changes in the scavenger populations have associated disease risks for wildlife, livestock and humans. Because of the evidence of widespread and rapid population decline, all three vulture species were listed by IUCN, the World Conservation Union, in 2000 as ‘Critically Endangered’. Unfortunately, the current captive populations in India are also not viable for any of the species and, therefore, complete extinction is likely to occur if no action is taken immediately.
India also moved a IUCN motion in 2004 for vulture conservation, which was accepted in the form of the IUCN resolution which “called upon Gyps vulture Range countries to begin action to prevent all uses of diclofenac in veterinary applications that allow diclofenac to be present in carcasses of domestic livestock available as food for vultures; establishment of IUCN South Asian Task Force under the auspices of the IUCN; Range countries to develop and implement national vulture recovery plans, including conservation breeding and release. The workshop to prepare an Asian Vulture Recovery Plan held at Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh, India in February 2004 recommended the establishment of captive holding and captive breeding facilities for three species of Gyps vultures at six different places in South Asia, besides implementing a ban on veterinary use of Diclofenac. These centres would serve as source for reintroduction of the birds after removal of the cause of mortality from the environment.
SOME OTHER WILDLIFE CONSERVATION PROJECTS • The Himalayan Musk Deer Ecology and Conservation Project, • Project Lion, • the Snow Leopard Project • several Pheasant Projects SOME OTHER SCHEMES TAKEN FOR CONSERVATION OF WILDLIFE There are many management plans to conserve wild life such as: 1. The Indian Board of Wild life was set up in 1952, to ensure protection and scientific management of the diminishing wildlife in the country. 2.
Countrywide uniform legislation in the form of the Wild life (Protection) Act was enacted in 1972 with object of ensuring stricter protection to wildlife and its better management. 3. The ‘Project tiger’ was launched in 1973 in the Corbett National Park today; there is 28 per cent tiger reserve in all over the country, covering an area 1. 5 per cent of the total area of country. 4. The Forest (Conservation) Act was passed 1980, to impose a severe restriction, on the diversion of forestland to non-forest use. 5.
In order to preserve the inviolate, 7fragile ecosystem on hilly and mountainous areas, a ban has been imposed since 1983 on the felling of trees at an elevation of 1000 m and above. 6. As against 19 national parks and 205 wildlife sanctuaries in 1980, now their number is 95 national parks and 500 wildlife sanctuaries. 7. With the launching of the crocodile project, three endangered species of crocodilians have been saved. 8. A wildlife institute at the national level has been set up in 1982, to provide scientific training in wildlife management. 9.
A national wildlife action plan was launched by the then Prime Minister in Novem 1983, to impart tempo, scientific direction and completeness to wildlife manage~ and administration. 10. New scheme has been formulated for captive breeding and for rehabilitation endangered species SOME NATIONAL PARKS AND SANCTUARIES TAKING CARE ENDANGERED SPECIES |SI. No. |Name of Sanctuary |Place/ State |Area (Sq. Kms |Wildlife . ) Conserved | | |National Park | | | | |1. Kaziranga Wildlife |SibasaaAssam |430 |Rhinocerus, elephant, wild | | |Sanctuary | | |buffalo, bison, tiger, leopard, | | | | | |sloth bear, sambhar, pelican, | | | | | |stork, eagle. | |2. |Manas Wildlife |Kamrup Assam |540 |Tiger, panther, wild dog, bear, | | |Sanctuary and Tiger | | |rhinoceros, | |Reserve | | |gaur, golden angur etc. | |3. |Jaldapara Wildlife |Jalpaiguri West Bengal |65 |Rhinoceros, gaur, elephant, | | |Sanctuary | | |tiger, leopard, deer, birds | | | | | |adrepriles. | |4. |Kolameru Bird |Tadepallegudum Andhra |— |A breeding place for pelican and| | |Sanctuary |Pradesh | |other visiting marine birds. | |5. Chilika Lake |Chilika, Orissa |100 |Waterfowl, duck, cranes, | | | | | |ospreys, golden plover, | | | | | |sandiper, stone curlews, | | | | | |flamingoes, etc. | |6. |Vendant Hangal Bird |Madras Tamilnadu |0. 30 |Flamingoes, pelicans black buck,| | |Sanctuary | | |chitals, vvildboars. | |7. Point Calimer |Thanjavur Tamirnadu |0. 30 |Panther, tiger, sambhar, | | |Wildlife Sanctuary | | |chitals. | |8. |Mundanthurai |Tirunelveli Tamilnadu |520 |Elephants, gaurs, | | |Sanctuary | | |sambhar,leopards,ack | | | | | |Nilgirilangur, grey | | | | | |hornbill,egret | |9. Periyar Wildlife |Periyar, |777 |-Elephant, gaurs, sambhar, | | |Sanctuary |Kerala | |leopards, black nilgirillangur, | | | | | |grey hornbill, egret. | |10. Bharatpur Bird |Bharatpur Rajasthan |29 |Cormorants, Spoonbils, | | |Sanctuary | | |whiteibis, Indian darters, | | | | | |egrets, open billed stork, | | | | | |geese, duck, Siberian cranes, | | | | | |deer, black duck, pythopri. blue| | | | | |bull wild boar | |11. Palamau National |Dattongunj |345 |Tiger, panther, sloth | | |Park |West Bengal | |bear, elephant, chital, gaur, | | | | | |nilgar, chinkara, leopard, deer,| | | | | |birds adrepriles. | | | | | |chowsingha. | |12. Hazaribagh |Hazaribagh, |184 |Wild board, sambhar, Nilgai, | | |National Park |Bihar | |tiger, leopard. Hyena, gaur etc. | |13. |Similipal National |Similipal, Orissa |2750 |tiger, tiger, elephant, deer, | | |park | | |chital, peafowl, talking myma, | | | | | |sambhar, panther, gaur, hyena | | | | | |and both bear. |14 |Guindy National |Madras |— |Albinos or black | | |Park |Tamil nadu | |duck, chitals. | |15 |Kanha National |Banjar Valley |940 |Tiger, chital, panther, | | |Park |Madhya Pradesh | |sambhar, black duck etc. |16 |Tanoba National |Chandrapur |166 |Tiger, sambhar, sloth bear, | | |Park | | |barking deer, blue bull, | | | | | |chinkara, | | | | | |bison, pea fows etc. | |17. |Corbett National |Nainital, U. P. 525 |Tiger, panther, sloth bear, | | |Park | | |hyaena, elephant, blue | | | | | |deer, barking deer, Indian | | | | | |antelope, procupine, | | | | | |pecker barbet, crocodile, python| | | | | |etc. | | | | |bull swamp | | | | | |bulbul, wood | EXTINCT SPECIES REDISCOVERED TELL ME WHY:ENDANGERED ANIMALS PG 95 ND 87 ACHIEVEMENTS OF IUNC TELL ME WHY:ENDANGERED ANIMALS PG97