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. Wildlife Management is an ancient phenomenon. Vedas contain hymns in praise of animals.
Sanatana Dharma has linked some animals with the specific God or Goddess as the best way of conservation of wildlife. For example, python has been associated with God Vishnu, snake with God Shiva, swan with Goddess Saraswati, and lion with Goddess Durga rendering the animal pious and protected. In Mahabharata, Rishis and Munis have been indicated to conserve wildlife fauna such as deer and birds around ashrams. In Arthashastra, Chanakya had imposed severe penalties for killing, entrapping and molesting birds, fishes and deer, etc. in protected areas. 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. India has large geographical size and variety of climate and habitat, wild animals constitute great national resources. These wild animals form important resources because they provide food (meat), skin, etc. which are used in research as experimental animals and for education. They are also used for recreational purposes. The niche requirement of these animals is different. Their scientific and rational explanation is not being answered. Conservationists are often expected to justify their concern about the extinction of species. Preservation and protection of wildlife is important from the ecological point of view.
The role of individual species in ecosystem (for example in food chain) cannot be undermined. Today amphibians are under a threat their population has declined. This is cause of ecological concern because some habitats and biomass of amphibians can exceed all other large animals combined. Their role in food chain is crucial; they eat both plants and small animals like insects including mosquitoes and amphibians themselves constitute food for birds, mammals, man, reptiles and fishes. Wildlife, besides its crucial role in preventing ecological degradation has other values like serving as a genetic pool for livestock improvement, for pharmaceutical industry and other commercial value like providing furs and wools. Taking example of amphibians again, it has been discovered that many species of these animals have been found containing compounds that are being used in pain killing medicines and for treatment of burns. It is documented fact that tribal in Ecuador have been using secretions from the skin of frogs for killing pains.
A pharmaceutical company is engaged in research to developing a drug from a secretion of frog. 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. Wildlife conservation encompasses all human activities and efforts directed to preserve wild animals from extinction.
It involves both protection and scientific management of wild species and their environment. Some species have become extinct due to natural causes, but the greatest danger to wildlife results from the activities of man. So we ourselves have created the need for conservation of wildlife. It can be viewed from several angles such as, beauty,, economic value, scientific values for research and values for snivel. The main causes of extinction of wild lives are poaching, enumerable animals and birds are hunted for meat, skin, ivory, horns etc. ruthlessly. Hence, National Wildlife Action Plan has been adopted in 1983 for wildlife conservation. Many sanctuaries and National Parks have been established for the protection of dwindling wildlife. Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks:
Wildlife Sanctuaries are places where the killing and capturing of any animal is prohibited except under order of the authorities concerned. National parks are set up for preserving flora, fauna, landscapes and historic objects of an area. At present, protected area network comprises 398 sanctuaries and 69 national parks covering four per cent of the total geographic area of the country. It is proposed to be increased to 4.6 per cent (1% National Parks and 3.6% sanctuaries) by setting up more sanctuaries and parks.
‘Project Tiger’, a centrally sponsored scheme, was launched in April 1, 1973 to save tigers. It is one of the world’s most successful projects for conservation of tigers. Presently there are 45,334 of tigers surviving in 18 tiger reserves in 13 States, covering over 28, 017 sq. kms. Various steps have been initiated to protect tigers. A tiger cell has been set up to collect data. Hunting is strictly prohibited and eco-development programmes have been initiated to increase tiger population. Along with tigers, the flora, fauna or the biodiversity as a whole is able to be conserved. Hence Project Tiger has set an example for environmental conservation. The ‘Project Elephant’ is an outcome of the success story of the ‘Project Tiger’. Project Elephant:
The Asian elephant, which has shared a special bond with men since time immemorial, is now facing an uncertain future. Hence “Project Elephant” has been formulated in 1992 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to protect the elephants in India. It covers in principles the entire elephant population of the country. However, eleven elephant reserves have been identified us priority areas for special attention and financial assistance under this project. At present, India holds the largest number of Asian elephants with 20,000 to 24,000 in wild and nearly 3,000 in captivity. Fisheries:
Fisheries in India are comprised either inland or marine. The rivers and their tributaries, canals, ponds, lakes and reservoirs are the main sources for the inland fisheries. The rivers extend over about 17,000 miles and to these subsidiary water channels comprise 70,000 miles. The Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean are responsible for total marine resources. Indian fish production has a steady increase from 7.52 lakh tones in 1950-51 to 41.57 lakh tonnes in 1991-92. But this production is far from adequate. It is only 9 per cent of the total supply of fish in Asia whereas Japan alone contributes to the extent of 43 per cent and China coming next, to about 18 per cent. We have the vast fishery resources of 6,500 km. coastline and about 2.12 million lives in 2,408 villages draw their livelihood. The numbers of fishermen engaged in direct fishing are 4.7 lakhs. So the resources are vast, but we cannot be able to exploit it properly. Hence during the sixth plan, the fisheries programme is given special attention to family based business. Much emphasis has been given on inland and brackish water fisheries and improving the harvesting from seas by stimulating the growth of country boats, mechanized boats and deep sea trawlers. Development of Fisheries:
Fisheries play an important role in the economy of the country. Increase in foreign exchange earning, generating employment, augmenting food supply and raising international value by adding proteins to the food are the important contributions of fisheries. Hence the Government of India has embarked on various programmes for mechanization and modernization of the fishing industry, considering the imperative task of improving the socio-economic conditions of nearly two million fisher folks. The emphasis has been shifted from heavy infrastructure and industry to more comprehensive programmes, aimed at providing basic services to the fishing community and achieving better income distribution within these. In terms of projects design, much attention was given in all the sectors, both traditional and new, to income distribution and employment, development of local resources and institutions, training of personnel and R & D efforts. Inland Fisheries:
Inland fisheries is an important rural economic activity, catering to the domestic market and giving gainful employment for over 1.75 million persons. Projections of domestic demand of fish form 12.5 million tonnes to 20 million tones by the turn of the century have been made. But a lot of constraints have been observed during last two’ decades that bring stagnation and a steady decline in fisheries. The degradation of fish habitat, the excessive flow of industrial, urban and agricultural wastes into the river water and the consequent deterioration in quality and overfishing are the important ones. Hence drastic steps are to be taken to rectify the situation.
During the fifth plan, the Govt. of India sponsored Fish Farmers Development Agencies (FFDA) to popularize fish farming in tanks and ponds. There are 147 FFDAs functioning in 17 States, bringing about 101 thousand hectares of water area under intensive fish culture and there is a target of increasing in fish yield from 50 kgs per hectare in 197 1 to 3000 kgs per hectare by the erid of this century. The three major areas of inland fisheries; reverie fisheries, reservoir fisheries and aquaculture have positive potential for expansion. A properly planned, development programme encompassed under a national fisheries policy, could aim at achieving a four to five folds increase in production from the present level of a million tones in the coming decade. Marine Fisheries:
High priority is being given continuously to the development of marine fisheries. The programme of mechanization of fishing crafts, providing subsidy up to 33 per cent of the cost of vessels to fishermen, permitting use of foreign fishing vessels and joint ventures, constructing 23 minor fishing harbors and 96 fish landing centers apart from four major fishing harbors i.e. Cochin, Madras, Vishkhapatnam and Roychowk for landing and breathing and developing proper facilities for preservation are the major steps taken to intensify the marine fish production. India has vast potential of marine fishing resources comparing 20 lakh sq. kms. Of Exclusive Economic Zone for deep sea fishing. If proper developmental programmes based on latest technologies are adopted sincerely, it can bring about a quantum jump in fish production. Brackish Water Aquaculture:
Utilization of country’s vast brakish water resource for fish and prawn culture is the main objective of this scheme. Aquaculture in about one million hectares of brakish water, at the production rate of two tone’s a hectare, can produce two million tones of prawns. At a price of Rs.100 a kgs, this would yield Rs. 20,000 crores and can employ four million persons. Role of Fisheries in Rural Development:
At policy, planning and executive levels, the Centre and State Governments have accepted that fisheries can play an important role in rural development and generating employment in the hinterland. This places greater responsibilities of fishery institutes, fishery scientists, technicians and banks. It is necessary to select a few thrust areas such as reproduction and fish genetics to develop hybrids which have desired traits for reproduction, disease control and higher food conversion ratio. Fisheries development in rural areas needs simple technique, low investment and quick return.
Adoption of this approach by banks to give institutional finance, can help in reversing the current trend in which the Government controls the major production resources and the fishermen and entrepreneurs contribute to exploitation and marketing only. This will help in bringing about an exponential growth in fish production and generate income and employment. In this change, bank officials can render valuable service by understanding, evaluating and supporting the schemes which are commercially viable making way for sustained development of the fishery resources in the rural areas, putting an end to the migration of the rural people to urban areas. Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA):
Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA), a unit of ICAR had its beginnings in the Central Inland Fisheries Research Substation, Cuttack in 1949, which was later upgraded to Freshwater Aquaculture Research and Training Centre (FARTC) in 1976, shifted to Kausalyaganga near Bhubaneswar in 1980 and was given a status of an independent institute in the seventh plan on 1 April, 1987. It is considered as a Regional Lead Centre on Carp Farming under the FAO/UNDP Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia (NACA). The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Non-conventional Energy Sources (DNES), World Bank/ NARP (Phase-Ill) NORAD, NABARD have funded this institution in several programmes and schemes in development of aquaculture. Objectives:
The new Institute has the following objectives:
(1) To conduct research, more specially in fish nutrition, physiology, genetics, pathology, pond environment monitoring and aquaculture engineering. (2) To conduct specialized training and extension programmes in freshwater aquaculture to enable economic utilisation of the cultured and cultivable fresh water aquatic resources in the country. Facilities:
The Institute has its headquarters at Kausalyaganga, 12 kms. From Bhubaneswar, is located an sprawling 147 hac. with a building complex comparing 40 laboratories, conference room, library, aquarium, hatcheries, feed mill, wet laboratory, auditorium and a fish farm with about 50^ponds including 5 reservoirs, 15 stocking ponds, 51 rearing ponds, 166 nursery ponds and 253 experimental ponds. Production Division:
The Division has been endeavoring to maximize the production rates of fish and shell fish, i.e. carps, catfishes, prawns and fresh water pearl cultures. Available technologies:
CIFA can provide consultancies to the entrepreneurs in the following areas:
1. Carp breeding and hatchery management.
2. Intensive carp culture.
3. Catfish breeding and culture.
4. Freshwater prawn breeding and culture.
5. Freshwater pearl culture.
6. Fish feed formulation and production.
7. Fish diseases diagnosis and control.
Wildlife Conservation in India
The Indian subcontinent boasts of serving as the natural habitat of a large and varied wildlife. We can find some of the most magnificent as well as the rarest wildlife species of the world in the country. The beauty and variety we see in the jungles of India is difficult to be expressed in words. 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.
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. 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. 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. Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
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.