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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Steps for conservation and management of wildlife

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India has a rich heritage of wildlife. It has a long history and tradition of conservation of plants and animals. Principles of conservation are mixed in religious texts and practices in this country. Kautilya’s Arthshastra contains the concept of making Forest Reserves (Abhayaranyas) for the protection of state elephants during 3rd. century B.C.
In spite of love and regard for wildlife in Indian culture, wild animals are facing continuous dangers and threats due to various social and economic factors. Most of the conservation and management practices are being adopted and enforced on the government level only, except some efforts being taken up by NGO’s on the national and international levels. Following are some of the most important measures that are being taken up for the conservation and management of wildlife in India and abroad –
National Parks
A National Park is an area protected and preserved by law for the protection and preservation of flora and fauna within its boundary. Grazing of cattle, removal of any wildlife or habitat is strictly prohibited in a national park and all rights are reserved with the government. The law defines a national park as an area which is of ecological, faunal, floral and geomorphologic importance. The Corbett National Park, established in 1935, is considered to be India’s first national park. The yellow Stone National Park -USA, is considered as first national park in the world. It was established in 1872 and it has an area of 8983sq km. According to a report, William Henry Jackson, a photographer and Thomas Moran, an artist, visited Yellow Stone region in 1871 and brought several photographs from there. Those photographs moved the public of America and US government and persuaded them to preserve the area. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill creating Yellow Stone a National Park in 1872. There are 80 national parks in India. Some of those important national parks are being briefly introduced here.

1. Corbett National Park: Spread along the bank of the river Ramganga in Uttaranchal (earlier U.P.), it is India’s First National Park, which was constituted in 1936. This park is spread in an area of 52,082 hectares. Important wildlife kept in this park are – tiger, elephant, deer, wild boars, otters and a number of species of birds.

2. Hazaribagh National Park: Located in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand state, this national park has a wide variety of animals like wild boar, sambhar, nilgai, tiger, leopard, sloth beer, hyena, and gaur. It has an area of 184 km of thick tropical forest. This national park was notified in the year 1976 and its total area is 18, 625 hectares.

3. Kanha National Park: This Park is basically a Tiger Reserve. It is located in Madhya Pradesh. Some important animals kept in this park are –leopards, langurs, and mongoose. Cats, hyena, porcupine, etc. Sal and bamboos are principal trees in this park besides wide variety of other plants. This national park was notified in the year 1955 and its area is 94, 000 hectares.

4. Bandhav Garh National Park: This Park is located in Madhya Pradesh. The principal animal kept in this park is the White Tiger. Notified in the year 1968, this nation park is spread in the area of 44,884 hectares.

5. Kajiranga National Park: It is located on the bank of the river Brahmputra in Assam. It is famous for One Horned Rhinoceros. Besides rhinos, other animals protected in the park are swamp deer, bison, tiger, leopard, hoolock gibbon, wild buffaloes, pythons, monitor lizards, elephants etc. Principal plants found in the park are tall elephant grass, Sal trees and different types of bushes. This national park was notified in the year 1974, and its area is 42, 996 hectares.

6. Dudwa National Park: Located in Lakhimpur Khiri district of Uttar Pradesh, this National Park supports wide variety of wild animals including re- introduced one- horned rhinos and swamp deer etc. Other animals in this park are – crocodiles, leopards, jackals, sambhars and sloth beers. Principal plants comprise grass species, Sal trees etc. This national park was notified in the year 1977 and its area is 49, 029 hectares.

7. Pench National Park: Located on the southern edge of Madhya Pradesh, this park is named after the river Pench which flows through this park from north to south. It is the 19th Project Tiger Reserve in the country. This national park was notified in the year 1977 and it is spread in the area of 29, 286 hectares.

8. The Sundarban National Park: Located in Sundarbans in West Bengal, this national park has an area of 11, 710 hectares. This is the principal habitat of Royal Bengal Tigers. This park has largest mangrove vegetation in the world. Other animals supported by this park are deer, chital, rhesus monkeys etc.

9. Dachigam National Park: This National Park was notified in the year 1981 in the Jammu and Kashmir (India). This park has an area of 14, 100 hectares. Some of the animals protected in this park are Kashmiri Stag and Hangul.

10. Gir Forests: This National Park is located in Kathiawar district of Gujarat state of India. This national park was notified in the year 1965. It is spread in an area of 115, 342 hectares. It is famous for Gir Lions.

11. Ranthambor National Park: This National Park is located in Rajasthan state of India. Constituted in the year 1980, this park is spread in an area of 39, 200 hectares. The principal wildlife protected in this park is crocodile, nilgai, gazelle, sambhar etc.

12. Palamau National Park: Located in Dalton Ganj District of Palamau area of Jharkhand (previously in Bihar) state of India, this National Park was notified in the year 1986.It has an area of 21, 300 hectares. The flora of this national park comprise thick tropical forests due to which it has been selected for the Project Tiger, an ambitious project for the protection and propagation of tigers in India. This fauna of this national park comprises tiger, elephant, deer, panther, sloth beer, chital, gaur, nilgai, chin Kara, and mouse deer etc

13. Simlipal National Park: Located in the district Mayurbhanj of Orissa state of India, this National Park comprises dense Sal forest due to which this park has been chosen for the Project Tiger. The fauna of this national park comprises tiger, elephant, deer, pea foul, talking mainas, chital, sambhar, panther, gaur, hyena, and sloth beer. Notified in the year 1978, this national park is spread in the area of 135,500 hectares.

14. Tadoba National Park: Located in Chandra Pur district of Maharashtra state of India, this National Park was notified in the year 1955.It is spread in an area of 11, 655 hectares and it supports the populations of tiger, sambhar, sloth beer, lion, chital, chin Kara, barking deer, blue bull, four horned deer, langur, pea foul and crocodile.

Wildlife Sanctuaries and Bio- Reserves
A Sanctuary is a protected area where wild animals and birds are kept and encouraged to increase their population. Presently, there are more than 490 sanctuaries in India covering a total area of 1, 48,848 sq km. Some important wildlife sanctuaries are being introduced here in the  table.

A specified area in which multiple use of land is allowed by dividing it into different zones and each zone, of which remains specified for a particular activity, is called as Biosphere Reserve.

A number of biosphere reserves have been established by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural organisation (UNESCO) under its Man And Biosphere Programme (MAB)-1986 in different countries. The biosphere reserves have international networks.
Each of the biosphere reserve has been divided into three zones-
(a) Core Zone, where human interference is banned completely
(b) Buffer Zones, where human interference is allowed up to limited extent
(c) Manipulated Zone or Transition Zones, where humans are free to perform their activities.
 The biosphere reserves are planned, managed and protected through joint efforts of the government, non- governmental Organizations and the local people.
India has declared 14 areas as biosphere reserves. These areas are aimed at –
(i)  Conservation of biodiversity (species, ecosystem, and landscapes).
(ii) Development of economic and human infrastructures
(iii) Promotion of education, information – exchange and research pertaining to                conservation and development.
The Biosphere Reserves have following functions-
          1. The biosphere reserves are helpful in the conservation of ecosystems, species and other resources.
          2. The biosphere reserves are helpful in the promotion of economic development.
          3. Biosphere reserves are helpful in promoting scientific research and education.

Key Words: conservation, national park, sanctuary, biosphere reserve,Kautilya, Arth Shastra, Abhayaranya

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