'A country is known by the way it treats its animals'
By PT. Jawaharlal Nehru
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India has so beautifully portrayed the role of wildlife in an economy. Wildlife forms an integral part of the ecosystem and their conservations is as important as any human development program. Considering the same, the Government of India along with various NGOs and unanimous bodies has taken steps for conserving wildlife in the nation. Top five efforts taken for conserving Indian wildlife are stated below.
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 was the first major initiative taken by the Parliament of India for the conservation of the fauna and flora species. The wildlife species that fall under the six schedules of the act are entitled to complete legal security. Hunting, which was considered as an act of bravery in the past is a punishable offence in the present day laws. Special Wildlife Crime Control Bureau was set up to make sure that every poacher and illegal wildlife trader is entitled with high punishment and penalty.
From 1972 to 2013, the Act has witnessed various amendments and these amendments were done to make sure that the laws turn more stringent for the offenders. Further, various national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and bio-diversity reserves have been established for offering a healthy natural habitat to the wild species. Some of the famous national parks of India are stated below:
1. Jim Corbett National Park 2. Kaziranga National Park
3. Manas National Park 4. Sunderban National Park
5. Gir National Park
This Act brought a revolution in the field of wildlife conservation.
Project Tiger, the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Indian Government was launched in 1973 at the Jim Corbett National Park. The prime objective of this project was to preserve the natural habitat of tigers for their healthy dwelling and breeding. This aim was served by the means of wildlife management and protection measures.
In the initial days the project started with nine tiger reserves and today in 2013 the count has increased to more than 40. To name a few tiger reserve that fall under the project are listed below:
1. Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
2. Sunderban Tiger Reserve
3. Pench Tiger Reserve
4. Nameri Tiger Reserve
5. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
The list is quite long and thus it's not possible to mention the name of each reserve. This initiative by the Government of India is a role model for wildlife management planning, habitat restoration and eco-development.
Reintroduction of Endangered and Hand-reared Animals
The Ministry of Environment and Forest didn't stop with mere establishment of the national parks and sanctuaries. The governmental bodies make sure that the species dwelling in these natural habitats stay safe and healthy. In January 2013, a tigress T-17 (Sundari) of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve was injured. The authorities provided proper treatment to the tigress and once she retained her health, was left open to wander in the reserve. Further, there have been instances where there was the need to relocate hand-reared animals and the shifting took place without any hassle. One such example is of Ganga, a one-horned rhinoceros who was rescued from the Assam flood in July 2004. She was hand-reared and was relocated to the Manas National Park. This all was done under the reintroduction program.
In order to put a stop on the poaching activities and to provide more secure premises to fauna and flora species, the national parks have been facilitated with video surveillance. Either CCTV cameras or camera traps have been installed at different national parks including Jim Corbett and Ranthambore. Further, recently the Environment and Forest Ministry of India announced the introduction of Drone - an unmanned aircraft, at the Kaziranga National Park, Assam. This initiative is taken to control the rising poaching activities at the park.
Spreading Awareness through various means
In addition to the governmental bodies, there are several Non- Government Organizations (NGOs) in India that put their best efforts for conserving wildlife. They spread awareness via various programs, social media sites and events. The more people know about the importance of the wildlife, the better their behavior will turn toward different fauna and flora species. Friends of Forest (Maharashtra), Wild Life Conservation Society (West Bengal) and Nature's Beckon (Assam) are few NGOs to name.
The saga doesn't end here; there are various other efforts that have been taken for wildlife conservation. In fact, there are a few efforts that are in process and will be added in the same list in future.