Table of Contents
S.No. Content Page Number
1. Introduction 1
2. Wildlife Of India 2
3. Need Of Conservation 4
4. Wildlife Protection Act 5
5. Biosphere Reserves 7
6. Conservation Challenges 8
7. Impact Of Introduced Species 8
8. Habitat Destruction 9
9. Chains Of Extinction 10
10. Recent Event 10
11. Role Of An Individual 12
12. Conclusion 13
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms.
Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many
times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive
Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, rain forests, plains, and other
areas including the most developed urban sites, all have distinct forms of wildlife.
While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are untouched by
human factors, most scientists agree that wildlife around the world is impacted by
Humans have historically tended to separate civilization from wildlife in a number
of ways including the legal, social, and moral sense. This has been a reason for
debate throughout recorded history. Religions have often declared certain animals
to be sacred, and in modern times concern for the natural environment has
provoked activists to protest the exploitation of wildlife for human benefit or
entertainment. Literature has also made use of the traditional human separation
Wildlife has long been a common subject for educational television
shows. National Geographic specials appeared on CBS beginning in 1965, later
moving to ABC and then PBS. In 1963, NBC debuted Wild Kingdom, a popular
program featuring zoologist Marlin Perkins as host. The BBC natural history
unit in the UK was a similar pioneer, the first wildlife series LOOK presented
by Sir Peter Scott, was a studio-based show, with filmed inserts. It was in this series
that David Attenborough first made his appearance which led to the series Zoo
Quest during which he and cameraman Charles Lagus went to many exotic places
looking for elusive wildlife—notably the Komodo dragon in Indonesia
and lemurs in Madagascar. Since 1984, the Discovery Channel and its spin
off Animal Planet in the USA have dominated the market for shows about wildlife
on cable television, while on PBS the NATURE strand made by WNET-13 in
New York and NOVA by WGBH in Boston are notable. See also Nature
documentary. Wildlife television is now a multi-million dollar industry with
specialist documentary film-makers in many countries including UK, USA, New
Zealand NHNZ, Australia, Austria, Germany, Japan, and Canada.
Wildlife of India
The wildlife of India is a mix of species of diverse origins. The region's rich and
diverse wildlife is preserved in numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries
across the country. Since India is home to a number of rare and threatened
animal species, wildlife management in the country is essential to preserve these
species. According to one study, India along with 17 mega diverse countries is
home to about 60-70% of the world's biodiversity.
India, lying within the Indomalaya ecozone, is home to about 7.6% of
all mammalian, 12.6% of avian, 6.2% of reptilian, and 6.0% of flowering
plant species. Many ecoregions, such as the shola forests, also exhibit extremely
high rates of endemism; overall, 33% of Indian plant species are endemic.
India's forest cover ranges from the [[The International Red Cross and Red
Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with
approximately 97 million volunteers worldwide which started to protect human
life and health, to ensure respect for the human being, and to prevent and alleviate
human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, sex,
religious beliefs, class or political opinions. Tropical of the Andaman
Islands, Western Ghats, and Northeast India to the coniferous forest of the
Himalaya. Between these extremes lie the sal-dominated moist deciduous forest of
eastern India; teak-dominated dry deciduous forest of central and southern India;
and the babul-dominated thorn forest of the central Deccan and western Gangetic
plain. Important Indian trees include the medicinal neem, widely used in rural
Indian herbal remedies. The pipal fig tree, shown on the seals of Mohen-jo-daro,
shaded the Gautama Buddha as he sought enlightenment.
Many Indian species are descendants of taxa originating in Gondwana, to which
India originally belonged. Peninsular India's subsequent movement towards, and
collision with, the Laurasian landmass set off a mass exchange of species.
However, volcanism and climatic change 20 million years ago caused
the extinction of many endemic Indian forms. Soon thereafter, mammals entered
India from Asia through two zoogeographical passes on either side of the
emerging Himalaya.As a result, among Indian species, only 12.6% of mammals
and 4.5% of birds are endemic, contrasting with 45.8% of reptiles and 55.8% of
amphibians. Notable endemics are the Nilgiri leaf monkey and the brown and
carmine Beddome's toad of the Western Ghats. India contains 172, or 2.9%,
of IUCN-designated threatened species. These include the Asiatic lion,
the Bengal tiger, and the Indian white-rumped vulture, which suffered a near-
extinction from ingesting the carrion of diclofenac-treated cattle.
In recent decades, human encroachment has posed a threat to India's wildlife; in
response, the system of national parks and protected areas, first established in
1935, was substantially expanded. Along with over 500 wildlife sanctuaries, India
now hosts 15 biosphere reserves, four of which are part of the World Network of
Biosphere Reserves; 25 wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.
The varied and rich wildlife of India has had a profound impact on the region's
popular culture. Common name for wilderness in India is Jungle which was
adopted by the British colonialists to the English language. The word has been also
made famous in The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. India's wildlife has been the
subject of numerous other tales and fables such as the Panchatantra and the Jataka
Need for conservation of wildlife in India
The need for conservation of wildlife in India is often questioned because of the
apparently incorrect priority in the face of direct poverty of the people. However
Article 48 of the Constitution of India specifies that, "The state shall endeavour to
protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of
the country" and Article 51-A states that "it shall be the duty of every citizen of
India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes,
rivers, and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
The most endangered Indian top predator of 2010, the dhole is on edge of
extinction. There remain less than 2500 members of species in the world.
Large and charismatic mammals are important for wildlife tourism in India and
several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries cater to these needs. Project
Tiger started in 1972 is a major effort to conserve the tiger and its habitats. At the
turn of the 20th century, one estimate of the tiger population in India placed the
figure at 40,000, yet an Indian tiger census conducted in 2008 revealed the
existence of only 1411 tigers. Various pressures in the later part of the 20th century
led to the progressive decline of wilderness resulting in the disturbance of viable
tiger habitats. At the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources (IUCN) General Assembly meeting in Delhi in 1969, serious concern
was voiced about the threat to several species of wildlife and the shrinkage of
wilderness in the India. In 1970, a national ban on tiger hunting was imposed and
in 1972 the Wildlife Protection Act came into force. The framework was then set
up to formulate a project for tiger conservation with an ecological approach.
Launched on April 1, 1973, Project Tiger has become one of the most successful
conservation ventures in modern history. The project aims at tiger conservation in
specially constituted 'tiger reserves' which are representative of various bio-
geographical regions falling within India. It strives to maintain a viable tiger
population in their natural environment. Today, there are 39 Project Tiger wildlife
reserves in India covering an area more than of 37,761 km².
Project Elephant, though less known, started in 1992 and works for elephant
protection in India. Most of India's rhinos today survive in the Kaziranga
Wildlife Protection Act
The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 refers to a
sweeping package of legislation enacted in 1972 by the
Government of India. Before 1972, India only had five
designated national parks. Among other reforms, the
Act established schedules of protected plant and
animal species; hunting or harvesting these species was
The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and
plants; and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or
incidental thereto. It extends to the whole of India, except the
State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act. It has six schedules which give varying
degrees of protection. Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection - offences
under these are prescribed the highest penalties. Species listed in Schedule IV are also protected,
but the penalties are much lower. Enforcement authorities have the power to compound offences
under this Schedule (i.e. they impose fines on the offenders). Up to April 2010 there have been 16
convictions under this act relating to the death of tigers.
Definitions under the Act (Section 2):
• "animal" includes amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles, and their
young, and also includes, in the cases of birds and reptiles, their eggs.
• "animal article" means an article made from any captive or wild animal,
other than vermin, and includes an article or object in which the whole or
any part of such animal has been used and an article made there from.
• "hunting" includes
(a) capturing, killing, poisoning, snaring, or trapping any wild animal, and
every attempt to do so
(b) driving any wild animal for any of the purposes specified in sub clause
(c) injuring, destroying or taking any body part of any such animal, or in the
case of wild birds or reptiles, disturbing or damaging the eggs or nests of
such birds or reptiles.
• "taxidermy" means the curing, preparation or preservation of trophies.
• "trophy" means the whole or any part of any captive or wild animal (other
than vermin) which has been kept or preserved by any means, whether
artificial or natural. This includes:
(a) rugs, skins, and specimens of such animals mounted in whole or in part
through a process of taxidermy
(b) antler, horn, rhinoceros horn, feather, nail, tooth, musk, eggs, and nests.
• "uncured trophy" means the whole or any part of any captive animal
(other than vermin) which has not undergone a process of taxidermy. This
includes a freshly killed wild animal, ambergris, musk and other animal
• "vermin" means any wild animal specified in Schedule V.
• "wildlife" includes any animal, bees, butterflies, crustacean, fish and moths;
and aquatic or land vegetation which forms part of any habitat.
Penalties (Section 51): Penalties are prescribed in section 51. Enforcement can be
performed by agencies such as the Forest Department, the Police, the Customs
and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Charge sheets can be filed directly
by the Forest Department. Other enforcement agencies, often due to the lack of
technical expertise, hand over cases to the Forest Department.
Some Biosphere Reserves
The Indian government has established 15 Biosphere Reserves of India which
protect larger areas of natural habitat and often include one or more National
Parks and/or preserves, along buffer zones that are open to some economic uses.
Protection is granted not only to the flora and fauna of the protected region, but
also to the human communities who inhabit these regions, and their ways of life.
The 15 Bio-reserves in India are-
2. Gulf of Mannar
3. The Nilgiris
4. Nanda Devi
6. Great Nicobar
9. Dihang Dibang
10. Dibru Saikhowa
The challenges to conservation of large mammals in a developing country like
India are complex. The needs of a burgeoning human population and the
consequent growth of the market where India has become part of the expanding
global economy has been at the centre of conservation problems of our country.
The protected wildlife areas constitute a mere 3% of the total land mass with ever-
increasing pressure on this
fragmented landscape. Any
further exploitation of the last
remaining bits of protected areas
to meet human and development
needs, which in any event need to
be met by using 97% of the
landscape, will surely lead to the
decimation of large mammal
Conservation of large mammals in
India is beset with serious
problems such as habitat loss, fragmentation of forests, illegal hunting, commercial
exploitation of forest products, livestock grazing, forest fires, unscientific
management practises and ignorance of the need for wildlife conservation. All
these have together contributed to the decline of wildlife and forests, which
therefore need to be understood in this context.
>> Progressive loss of habitat including fragmentation
>> Illegal hunting and wildlife trade
>> Commercial exploitation of forests
>> Removal of dead and fallen trees
>> Collection of minor forest produce
>> Livestock grazing
>> Unscientific management practices
Impact of introduced species
Mice, cats, rabbits, dandelions and poison ivy are all examples of species that have
become invasive threats to wild species in various parts of the world. Frequently
species that are uncommon in their home range become out-of-control invasions
in distant but similar climates. The reasons for this have not always been clear
and Charles Darwin felt it was unlikely that exotic species would ever be able to
grow abundantly in a place in which they had not evolved. The reality is that the
vast majority of species exposed to a new habitat do not reproduce successfully.
Occasionally, however, some populations do take hold and after a period of
acclimation can increase in numbers significantly, having destructive effects on
many elements of the native environment of which they have become part.
Habitat destruction and fragmentation
Deforestation and increased road-building in the Amazon Rainforest are a
significant concern because of increased human encroachment upon wild areas,
increased resource extraction and further threats to biodiversity.
The habitat of any given species is considered its preferred area or territory. Many
processes associated human
habitation of an area cause loss of
this area and the decrease the
carrying capacity of the land for
that species. In many cases these
changes in land use cause a patchy
break-up of the wild landscape.
Agricultural land frequently
displays this type of extremely
fragmented, or relictual, habitat.
Farms sprawl across the landscape with patches of unclear woodland or forest
dotted in-between occasional paddocks.
Examples of habitat destruction include grazing of bush land by farmed animals,
changes to natural fire regimes, forest clearing for timber production and wetland
draining for city expansion.
Chains of extinction
This final group is one of secondary effects. All wild populations of living things
have many complex intertwining links with other living things around them. Large
herbivorous animals such as the hippopotamus have populations
of insectivorous birds that feed off the many parasitic insects that grow on the
hippo. Should the hippo die out, so too will these groups of birds, leading to
further destruction as other species dependent on the birds are affected. Also
referred to as a Domino effect, this series of chain reactions is by far the most
destructive process that can occur in any ecological community.
Another example is the black drongos and the cattle egrets found in India. These
birds feed on insects on the back of cattle, which helps to keep them disease-free.
If we destroy the nesting habitats of these birds, it will result a decrease in the
cattle population because of the spread of insect-borne diseases.
According to the website
which has been put up by
Aircel as part of their
incredible campaign a total
of 118,191 people have
logged on to sign their
support for the tiger. The
truth is that the campaign
has touched a chord with
young persons. And the tiger needs young people more than anyone else in the
Recently at a climate change panel discussion organised in New Delhi by the Tata
Consultancy Services, Lord Nicholas Stern made an impassioned plea to this
generation to take quick action on climate change and he emphasised that
protecting biodiversity, forests and ecosystems was the fastest and surest way to
move in the right direction for climate stability. This is what everyone who has
ever worked to protect India's tiger reserves has been doing for over three decades.
What Aircel's campaign has done is to create a solid constituency for the tiger in
India and this constituency, almost entirely made up of young persons, is not
willing to take things lying down any longer: "Why is our government not doing
the obvious things -- equip and support our guards, enhance intelligence, prevent
habitat destruction?" they ask.
This morning I met a truly vibrant bunch of people at the Gateway of India in
Mumbai, who were inspired by Aircel's save our Tigers campaign. Their group has
come up with a name and a mission for themselves: SEWA TIGERS. "We really
do not want to wait for others to act," said Hans Dalal one of the young activists.
"I am a sound engineer and have worked with professional documentary film
producers. I want to channel my talents to the advantage of the tiger."
I believe that there are lakhs of "ready to walk the talk" guys like Hans and the
truth is they can make a huge difference. So, here's hoping young people inspired
by this latest tiger campaign will a) learn more about the real issues b) support or
join existing groups working for the tiger and c) get vocal to place pressure on the
Prime Minister and all politicians so that the development priorities of our country
include the protection of tigers and tiger habitats. This is not really very difficult.
Vast Reserved Forest lands are languishing... they must be regenerated. Connecting
corridors between good tiger reserves must be strengthened.
How can one help conserve the environment and wildlife?
Since public opinion and awareness are two critical factors that will finally
make a difference, here is an outline of some activities that you could
• Try to learn as much as possible
about India’s wildlife (from
books, the internet, seminars and
talks), and about the importance
of the ‘Web of Life’.
• Get people involved in your
cause - in your colony, in your
colleges and schools as well as
your local MLAs.
• Organise trips to local wildlife
areas, or botanical gardens and
• Keep in touch with media people.
• Keep in touch with Forest Department - often they need volunteers for
some of their field activities.
• Keep in touch with the Honorary Wildlife Warden and conservation NGOs
in your area. Offer assistance wherever possible.
• In day to day life, remember the six 'R's:
Recycle (paper, plastic etc)
Replenish (water-harvesting, planting trees etc).
The natural world is a complex system. Only by understanding how species relate
to each other and their environment can we hope to properly protect wildlife and
preserve their habitat for the future.
The best scenario would imply integrated community development and wildlife
conservation promoted by national park managers and supported by local
populations. Community-based conservation should give indigenous people the
right to limited and sustainable use of natural resources while promoting tolerance
towards wildlife, responsible interaction with their natural villagers, appreciate
nature’s intrinsic value and agree with the necessity to protect forests and their
wildlife inhabitants for future generations. Their positive attitude towards
conservation arises from the use of natural resources such as regulated harvesting
of non-timber forest products, the use of waterholes and fishing.
Local peoples’ participation is now widely advocated in development and
conservation, as well as a reduction in the dependence of rural communities on
agriculture and farming. In order to enhance protected area effectiveness,
conservation should be based on sound scientific knowledge, practical local
indigenous knowledge and collaboration.
Protected areas and the presence of wild animal populations inflict costs on local
communities and can erode local support and tolerance. In turn, indigenous people
can develop a negative attitude towards reserves and wildlife, exacerbating the
conflict and undermining conservation efforts. In order to break this cycle, there is
a need to protect rural livelihoods, reduce their vulnerability, and counterbalance
losses with benefits and foster community-based conservation. Both people and
wildlife suffer tangible consequences and different stakeholders involved should
commit themselves to tackle and resolve the conflict in the near future.
Jawaharlal Nehru had truly said “A country is known by the way it treats its