AIR spotlight summary on “World Wildlife Day”.
World Wildlife Day is celebrated on 3 March, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts. The INTERPOL estimates the wildlife trade is between 7 billion to 23 billion.
Wildlife Protection in India
- All courtiers who have adopted to CITES are efficiently preserving their wildlife. In India it is not the case. In India there is a law called Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 which is hardly followed. The required amount of protection which should be given to an animal is not in place. The conservation of wildlife is focused only on big animals like tiger, lion, elephant, rhinoceros etc. There is huge biodiversity which exists beyond these animals but there is never a talk of that. All these species need to be conserved. The problem with the Wildlife Protection Act is that there are only 6 schedules and the number of species covered is very less whereas the recorded number of species in India is much more.
- There is little awareness about the wildlife which is a flaw in the policy. In the protection of wildlife, the preference has to be given to the endangered species. In the Wildlife Protection Act, the protection to the Schedule 1 animal is more than the other schedules. The animals in the other schedules should also be protected equally.
- We have limited amount of landmass and we have to accommodate our population of humans and wildlife. It also depends on how human beings who are not in government like NGO’s and civil society react to the issue of wildlife.
Need of the Hour
- Zoological Survey of India every year records hundreds of species which are confined only in records and books. To enhance an efficient protection we have to bring those recorded species into the mainstream so that they are conserved in an efficient manner.
- In any healthy ecosystem all the constituent species have to be in a very healthy state and all species have to coexist. The tiger can only exist when the constituent species in the ecosystem exist. There should be equal focus on tiger and other species in the ecosystem.
- The wildlife is huge and important subject. Even the small countries which have wildlife sustain their economy through tourism and they conserve their wildlife. In India despite we have a stringent law and rather than celebrating the Wildlife day as a one day event the Wildlife protection has to be sustained throughout the year.
- As part of the policy the government can enhance the scale of awareness, run awareness campaign at the state level, district level and at the local level. People do not know whom to approach whenever any crime takes place which have to be addressed. The talks about environment conservation in schools are confined only to the syllabus and textbooks. The school management should take the children to the forest and biodiversity areas and enhance their learning experience.
- Man-animal conflict takes place due to unplanned urbanisation. It is not the fault of wild animals. Rather than protecting only the protected areas, National parks, wildlife sanctuaries and biosphere reserves we need to conserve the landscapes in entirety. The problem of man-animal conflict also gets reduced and the larger biodiversity is also protected.
There is a need for greater awareness, stricter penalties under Wildlife Protection Act and if we can get children to the wildlife heritage we will be looking at the next Wildlife day in a positive note. The government needs to focus on landscape protection rather than focusing only on National parks and protected areas because 60% of the countries wildlife exists outside the protected areas.