Post Mortem

Analyze this

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/8/2018 11:53:07 AM IST

 Whales are killed in the oceans; tusks are being removed from elephants for trade; tigers poached for their skins and bones; rare migratory birds captured and sold in the black markets around the world...

Every year around this time (October 2-8) wildlife week is celebrated by the Government of India, environmentalist, and activist to accelerate the awareness of wildlife conservation among people. Initially started in the year 1952 with a view to preserve the fauna of India, particularly to take urgent steps to prevent extinction of endangered species, the government of India established the Indian Board of Wildlife (IBWL). India being a mega store house of various species, manages several conferences, awareness programs, public meetings among the nature lovers. But it lasts only a week! Then the concern over wildlife is relegated to the back burner, or the mandate to conserve the wild species is taken up by NGO’s or self claimed conservationist.

India, which is one of the twelve diverse countries in the world, has three “hotspots” viz. The Eastern Himalayas, Western Ghats and Indo-Burma. With only 2.4 percent of the global length area, it possesses more than 45000 plant species representing about 11 percent of the world’s biota. Whereas it’s faunal diversity is estimated to be over 81000 representing about 6.5 percent of world’s fauna.  

Since the inception of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in 1972, several projects have been launched in order to protect different endangered species. But Indian policy makers’ are still in the circle of outdated conservation theory (propounded by the west).

The Tiger (animal in the top of the food chain) being a keystone species balances the ecosystem, without which it could lead to imbalance in the whole diversity of our forests. Tigers continue to be the cynosure of the government conservationist efforts. Is it because tiger is our national animal? If so, what about peacock our national bird which is being killed rampantly for its beautiful feathers to be sold in the market as decorative items.

However, tiger attracts much attention from the government as well as the so called animal lovers. Is tiger the only species that is on the verge of extinction? The answer is indorsed by the scientific community as well as conservationist. That is, besides tigers, there are many species that are on the verge of extinction or endangered and also as important as tigers which helps to keep a balance of our ecosystem. But other animal such as Elephant, Musk deer, Tibetan Antelope, Rhinoceros, Red panda, Ganges River Dolphin, does not get similar care. 

One such irony is that during the time of the Mauryan Empire, King Ashoka legally protected the River Dolphins but now it is callously neglected by the MoEFCC. If the number of species matters, as the tiger gets 50 protected reserves, shouldn’t the River Dolphin also get the same number of protected areas? The irony is that only a 50 km stretch of the Ganges River in Bihar has been declared as a sanctuary for the Dolphins. So far this is a very saddening injustice to our National Aquatic animal.

With the passage of time and increasing population, biotic pressure on forests has significantly increased. In spite of the continuous efforts of the government agencies and other private organizations a lot remains to be done to ensure the longevity of our wildlife, with quite a few species on the brink of extinction. As of 2015, India has had 988 species on the International Union for Conservation and Natural Resources (IUCN) ‘Red List’ of threatened species. The list includes animals like the Himalayan Brown /red bear, Pygmy hog, Namdapha Flying Squirrel, Malabar Civet, Hangul and the Lion Tailed Macaque among others. 

Unlike one or two endangered species which gets the lion’s share of protection, each animal deserves to be protected and solution must be crafted to meet the specific requirements of each species and its specific circumstances.

Since time immemorial, the state of Nagaland had been ethnic hunters, but in recent times few people have realized the need of conservation and the importance of wildlife. For instance, some have donated wild animals and birds which can be seen in Nagaland Zoological Park, Rangapahar today; which is a positive sign of change evolving in our present society. Even the migratory bird Amur Falcons are now well protected in our state since 2013 which has brought laurels at both national and international level; with Nagaland being declared as the Capital of the Amur Falcons of the World. 

The weeklong celebration is focused on creating awareness and sensitizing people on the need for conservation of wildlife and how human life is dependent on it. Apart from ecological values wildlife also has economic, aesthetic and recreational values. The seriousness of celebrating wildlife week is not only to educate young people like school children but also to correct the flaws in the conservation efforts made by the government. 

The ultimate objective is to arouse a general awakening in the common man so as to appreciate wildlife and work towards its conservation. An aware populace will drive conservation efforts ensuring that the rich wildlife of the country is preserved for the generations to come. 

“Our wildlife is our Pride”. Save it to cherish or leave it to perish.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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