Wildlife conservation refers to the practice of protecting wild species and their habitats, so as to restore, protect or enhance natural ecosystems. Apart from ensuring the survival of these species, wildlife conservation aims to educate people on living sustainably with other species. As part of the world’s ecosystems, wildlife provides balance and stability to nature’s processes. Over the past 200 years, human population has grown exponentially and it continues to grow rapidly with each passing day. This obviously means that the natural resources are being depleted faster than ever by the billions of people on the planet. This population explosion directly impacts the wildlife. It endangers the habitats and existence of various types of wildlife around the world, particularly animals and plants that may be displaced for land development, or used for food or other human purposes. Some other threats to wildlife include the introduction of invasive species from other parts of the world, climate change, pollution, hunting, fishing and poaching.
CONSERVATION METHODS :
Some of the important methods adopted for conservation of wildlife in India are discussed below :
• Habitat Management – This method implies ecological study of habits and habitats of wildlife species, protection, preservation as well as improvement of habitats, census and statistical data regarding species to be conserved, etc.
• Establishment of protected areas – This approach entails the establishment of national parks, wildlife reserves, sanctuaries, zoological garden, etc to conserve species in their wild state. This apart, this method helps to provide scientific, educational and recreational opportunities and thus helps to earn a huge revenue by attracting tourists.
• Rehabilitation of endangered species – Under this objective it is aimed to rehabilitate some threatened species of animals and plants in some protected habitat of its erstwhile distribution. Example – the translocation of great one-horned Rhinoceros from Assam to Dudhwa National Park.
• Captive breeding programme – This is a programme which proposes to take up captive breeding for species, whose survival in wild is severely threatened on account of impaired natural breeding.
• Mass Education – This is a very important step because it ensures active participation of the people towards the goal of conservation. Publicity through media and films, organising conducted tours, lectures, etc, publication of wildlife books, establishment of natural history museums are some of the steps to educate the masses.
• Promulgation of laws – Legislative measures or promulgation of laws for protection of wildlife goes a long way to help in the conservation of wildlife.
IMPORTANCE OF CONSERVING WILDLIFE :
• Conservation ensures protection of biodiversity and endangered species.
• Bees, insects, butterflies and birds play an important role in food production. Conservation of these animals aid in pollination and continuity of native plant species.
• Several species of plants and animals have medicinal values and hence it is important to save them from extinction.
• Conserving wildlife means conserving heritage and traditional culture of a particular place because many places are well-known for their native flora and fauna.
• Wildlife of a region promotes tourism attractions and countries with large portion of wild animals are known to attract a bigger number of tourists.
• Conserving flora and fauna encourages ecological stability and balance in the environment.
• Wildlife helps in creation of thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly.
• Conservation measures ensure that future generations will have the chance to see the wildlife that exists today.