Like forests, wildlife consisting of animals, birds, insects, etc. living in the forest is a national resource, which not only helps in maintaining the ecological balance but also beneficial for various economic activities that generate revenue from tourism. The rich flora and fauna also play a major role in maintaining the ecological balance of a region. There was a time when human needs were minimum and there was bare interference in the wildlife. There is no denying the fact that due to urbanization, pollution, and human interventions wildlife is rapidly disappearing from the planet.
Today the biodiversity of the world is threatened due to the extinction of species. There are thirty-five hotspots around the world, which supports 43% of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians as endemic. The IUCN has compiled a list of species and has classified the different species under extinct, critically endangered, less endangered, vulnerable, near threatened, and least concern. This list is called the Red Data Book. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the number of birds, animals, marine and freshwater creatures has dropped by almost one-third of its earlier population.
One of the major reasons for the constant decline of wildlife is human’s ever-increasing demands and greed that have led to deforestation and habitat destruction. For the purpose of development and urbanization, man has chopped down trees to build dams, highways, and towns and this has forced the animals to retreat further and further into the receding forests.
Rapid industrialization and urbanization due to the fast growth in population in recent decades have taken a heavy toll on wildlife. Global warming and extensive environmental pollution have largely threatened wildlife as they lead to habitat destruction and rising temperature.
There is a huge demand for animal fur, skin, meat, bone, etc. across the globe that has led to a decrease in the wildlife population. Poachers kill the animals for the illegal trading of their body parts. The desire to keep animals in captivity or their desire to consume certain animals as exotic food has resulted in the disappearance of many animal species such as tigers and deer.
Forest fires, food shortage, increase in the number of predators, extreme weather conditions and other extraneous reasons have led to the extinction and endangerment of many species.
Many types of animals, birds, and fauna are needed to retain the ecological balance. They are considered necessary for scientific research and experiments that will benefit mankind.
The protection and conservation of wildlife is the need of the hour.
First and most importantly, humans need to have control over their needs. We need to prevent man from felling trees unnecessarily. Trees should be replanted if they are felled.
Pollution is one of the major causes that have led to the destruction of the habitat of animal species. Pollution of the environment like air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution has an adverse effect on the entire ecosystem. It has become of utmost importance to control environmental pollution.
More campaigns must be launched to raise awareness in humans on the need to keep our environment clean. A man should be responsible to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem so they should be cordial with the environment. More organizations like PETA should be set up in order to create awareness among people for the protection of wildlife.
Man should consciously put a check on the rapid growth of the population. The slow growth of population will decrease the rate of urbanization and that will have a major impact on the preservation of wildlife.
Wildlife sanctuaries should be made to ensure the protection of the areas of ecological significance. Under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 various provisions for protecting habitats of wildlife are made by constructing national parks and sanctuaries. These parks and sanctuaries ensure the protection and maintenance of endangered species.
Illegal activities like hunting, poaching, and killing animals, birds, etc. for collections and illegal trade of hides, skins, nails, teeth, horns, feathers, etc. should be strictly prohibited and severe punishments and fines should be imposed on people who do these kinds of activities.
Many countries have taken the initiative to help animals by proclaiming various birds and animals either as national animals or as protected species. In India, the government has launched a program of Joint Forest Management to protect the wildlife and their habitat. Under this program, responsibilities have been assigned to the village communities to protect and manage nearby forests and the wildlife in it. Animal species have the right to live just like humans. Therefore, we should take every step to conserve them and ensure their survival and betterment.
Wildlife is an integral part of our planet. Wildlife plays a significant role in the ecology and the food chain. Disturbing their numbers or in extreme cases, extinction can have wide-ranging effects on ecology and humankind. Valuing and conserving forest and wildlife enhance the relation between man and nature. We want our future generation to be able to hear the lions roar and peacock dancing with their extravagant feather and not just see them in picture books. We must take steps today or else it will be too late.
Q1. How is Wildlife Important for Humankind?
Ans. Wildlife comprises animals, birds, insects, and aquatic life forms. They provide us with a number of products, such as milk, meat, hides, and wools. Insects like bees provide us, honey. They help in the pollination of flowers and have an important role to play as decomposers in the ecosystem. The birds act as decomposers by feeding on insects. Birds like vultures are known as scavengers and cleansers of the environment by feeding on dead livestock. Thus, wildlife helps in maintaining ecological balance.
Q2. Why Should we Conserve Biodiversity?
Ans. We should conserve biodiversity because it is very significant for all living organisms and for the environment. We must conserve biodiversity to save it from becoming extinct.
Q3. Why are Animals Poached?
Ans. The animals are hunted and poached for collection and illegal trade of skins, fur, horns, skins, and feathers.
Q4. Write Two Steps that the Government has Taken to Conserve Wildlife.
Ans. The two steps that the government has taken to conserve wildlife are:
In order to conserve wildlife, the government has established national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, and biosphere reserves.
Many awareness programs are launched by the government to create awareness of protecting wildlife.