In today’s fast-changing world wildlife conservation efforts have only made it possible that many species are still alive in the world. Wildlife conservation is a method of protecting wildlife and their natural habitat. Today wildlife all over the world faces similar threats like poaching, man-made disasters, overpopulation, pollution, and climate change a Survival of wildlife is as important as the survival of human beings as they are codependent on each other and essential for maintaining ecological balance. Many other threats are majorly caused by human activities.
- Poaching: Illegal trade of wildlife items like tiger skin or bone, and rhino’s horn for medical purposes leads to a sharp decline in the population. Recently, Africa lost its white rhino population to poaching.
- Man-made disasters: Land degradation and fragmentation, deforestation, etc. are man-made disasters that also contribute to the extinction of species.
- Overpopulation: The increase in the population has increased man-animal conflict resulting in clashes for survival in the area. This even sometimes results in the death of the animal. Recently an elephant was killed after eating fruit stuffed with firecrackers in the Kerala state India.
- Pollution: Humans are a major cause of air and water pollution. In the age of constant development in industrialization and technological advancement releasing waste without proper treatment leads to pollution in air and water. This harshly affects the wildlife in the area leading to a decline in the population.
- Climate change: It is not only a threat to wildlife but also to human beings with increased flooding, extreme heat, more disease, and economic loss. Today the whole world is witnessing this severe threat and finding ways to stop climate change.
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Types of wildlife conservation
Wildlife conservation refers to the protection, preservation, management, or restoration of wildlife and natural resources like their natural habitat which includes forest and land. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. It stands for International Union for Conservation of Nature. India became a state member in 1969, through the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). The IUCN India Country Office was established in 2007 in New Delhi. It is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN’s mission is to “influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable”. The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. It is a powerful tool to inform and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change, critical to protecting the natural resources we need to survive. This list is used by government agencies, wildlife departments, conservation-related non-governmental organizations (NGOs), natural resource planners, educational organizations, students, and the business community.
The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for the protection of plants and animal species. Before 1972, India had only five designated national parks. Among other reforms, the Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting these species was largely outlawed. There are two ways in which conservation can be done:
The conservation of elements of biodiversity out of the context of their natural habitats is referred to as ex-situ conservation. Zoos, botanical gardens, breeding centers, rehabilitation centers for animals, and seed banks are all examples of ex-situ conservation.
Conservation of habitats, species, and ecosystems at their natural habitat. This is in-situ conservation and the natural phenomenon, processes, and interaction are also conserved as it is important for animals and their habitats. For example protected areas like National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries, Ramsar sites, biosphere reserves, and world heritage sites.
Ways travelers contribute towards wildlife conservation in India
Sustainable Tourism is the only way forward to generate income, and employment and reduce dependency on the forest. It is not possible without the support of the local population. As people close to National Parks are mostly dependent on the forest for their survival and due to lack of job opportunities it is an ideal way to showcase and educate tourists about their motherland. Tourists can contribute to the conservation of wildlife and help in socio-economic upliftment in the following ways:
To guides and drivers:
A wildlife safari in India requires a lot of knowledge, effort, experience, and patience. Guides and drivers put in everything to track a tiger and help you get amazing pictures of the Big cats or any other species of animals. Tipping in India is very ambivalent and is left to the discretion and satisfaction of the services provided to the tourist. It is recommended to tip at least $ 5- 7 per safari.
To forest guards:
As most of the forest guards are people from nearby villages and they are the guardians of the forest. They help maintain peace, and prohibit poaching from happening by patrolling the forest on foot, on an elephant, or on jeeps. They can be approached directly or through an NGO working for the betterment of the area.
Contribution to the socio-economic development of the area:
Tourists can volunteer with some NGOs or help directly in the betterment of basic facilities in the area. The area close to the forest lacks basic amenities as compared to the cities. They can work on bridging the gap due to a lack of infrastructure.
Availing services from a local tour operator:
Taking services from tour operators based on the location or using services from local service providers not only helps in reduction in the cost but also helps in creating a good source of Income.
Educating the importance of wildlife conservation
Tourists can volunteer in spreading awareness and educate about the significance of wildlife in maintaining the ecological balance.
Read about our CSR to know how we as a wildlife tour operator company are doing our part for wildlife conservation.