Celebrating India wildlife week
- Ms Pallavi Barua
- 8 October 2016
- The Goan
Wildlife usually refers to all plants, fungi, and other organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife plays a significant role in maintaining the ecological equilibrium of nature. The presence of wildlife is also an effective way to assess the quality of the environment.
INDIA WILDLIFE WEEK
India has a rich and fascinating array of wildlife resources. In order to conserve and protect these resources, the Indian government has designated several areas across the country as protected areas, wherein human occupation or at least the exploitation of resources is limited. As of 2016, approximately 160,900 square kms of area is under protected areas, which includes 103 national parks, 537 wildlife sanctuaries, and conservation and community reserves covering 4.88% of the country's geographical area.
In spite of the continuous efforts of 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 had 988 species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature 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.
In order to raise public awareness about wildlife conservation, every year, the first week of October is celebrated as Wildlife Week in India. This week long event focuses on the importance of wildlife preservation for a balanced and healthy environment. Initiated in 1952 by the erstwhile Indian Board for Wildlife (now the National Board for Wildlife), the week has gained prominence over the years as the state of wildlife is fast declining in India.
Every year wildlife organizations, forest departments, government agencies, educational institutions, private and civil society organizations celebrate the week through means of various activities connected to wildlife. The week long celebrations focus on creating awareness and sensitizing people on the need for conservation of wildlife and how human life is dependent on it. Apart from ecological value, wildlife also has economic, aesthetic and recreational values.
The ultimate objective is to sensitize people, appreciate our wildlife and work towards its conservation. An aware populace will drive conservation efforts locally in their communities, ensuring that the rich wildlife of the country is preserved for the generations to come.
THE WEB OF LIFE
An ecosystem is made up of all living animals and plants and non-living matter, in a particular place. All living things in an ecosystem are interdependent on each other. The actions and reactions that affect one particular organism, affect the entire ecosystem in some way. For example, if tigers, being at the top of the food chain disappear, it would increase the population of grass eating mammals like deer and sambar. Without the tiger to control their population, these animals would ravage the vegetation of the jungles, destroying the habitats of smaller animals and insects. These insects will then move to farmlands in search of food, thus impacting the food resources of the human population.
IMPORTANT ANIMAL SPECIES FOUND IN INDIA
- The Royal Bengal Tiger
- Greater One Horned Rhinoceros
- Asiatic Lion
- Lion Tailed Macaque
- Nilgiri Tahr
- Black Buck
- Snow Leopard
HOW TO CELEBRATE WILDLIFE WEEK
- Take small steps to celebrate wildlife through the year.
- Organize a plantation drive in your society
- .Arrange a nature trail and bird watching session
- Organize a documentary screening on wildlife
- Invite an expert to speak on local wildlife and conservation
- Plan a visit to a national park or sanctuary
- Organize a silent rally to create awareness on wildlife
- Put up a bird feeder in your balcony/ porch
- Organize a street play or a flash mob, highlighting the importance of conserving wildlife
- Organize a wildlife quiz competition
- Publish a newspaper article on local biodiversity