Wildlife Conservation in India

Importance of Wildlife Conservation
Because the most beautiful gift that God has given to nature are the wild creatures, they embellish the natural beauty by their unique way of existence. But due the growing impact of deforestation, few concerned animal lovers are making continuous efforts to save the endangered species as well as those who are on the verge of extinction and save the world from loosing its green heritage.

Nearly all of India's significant conservation laws date from the period since independence, although there was some legislative activity during the days of the Raj. Under various 19th century Forest Acts, the British restricted the hunting rights of forest dwellers and later divided forests into "shooting blocks"; these were opened and closed in accordance with the abundance or scarcity of game, thus proving a measure of apparent control over the hunting exploits of the wealthy. Occasionally laws were passed to protect a single species whose future was deemed uncertain.

The Madras Act of 1873 helped to limit the persecution of Asian elephants in parts of southern India, and the Bengal Rhinoceros Preservation Act of 1932 did the same for the rhino in the north-east. A somewhat more comprehensive piece of legislation was the Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act of 1912, which provided for close seasons. But even this proved inadequate, a fact implicitly recognized by those who argued for the creation of game preserves. By 1928 these covered at least 100,000 square miles of forest land and some areas - for example, Kaziranga - had been accorded sanctuary status.

In 1932 Jim Corbett (James Edward Corbett, to be more precise) was made secretary of the newly-formed United Provinces (U.P.) Game Preservation Society, and two years later the United Provinces National Parks Act was passed. In 1936 Hailey national park, later to be christened after Corbett, became India's first national park, and other areas too were given some measure of protection during the short period leading up to the Second World War.

Although independence brought little relief for India's wildlife - huge expanses of forest were engulfed in the "land grab" and the countryside echoed to the sound of guns - the post war era witnessed great changes in both official and public attitudes towards wildlife. On a global scale, the foundation in 1947 of the Internation Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was an event of considerable significance. Nehru's government expressed its good intentions by creating the Indian Board for Wild Life (IBWL), which put forward proposals in 1953 for the establishment of 18 national parks. Then, individual states passed their own wildlife laws and the first National Parks Act came into force in 1955. Sadly, progress was slow; ten years later India had just about nineteen sanctuaries and the total protected area amounted to a mere 2,600 suare miles, less than a quarter of a per cent of India's land surface. In the meantime the population was rising rapidly, forests and wild habitats of all types were being exploited as never before, and the list of endangered species became every year more lengthy.

The natural projects and programmes started by the Indian government such as Project Tiger, Nature Camps and Jungle Lodges have been organised to promote wildlife awareness among the people. These projects not only help in preserving our natural heritage but also encourage eco-tourism.

Some of the projects and wildlife conservation programmes in India include Project Tiger, which has been till now the most successful one in protecting and preserving the tiger population. There is the Gir National Park, which is only habitat existing for Asiatic lions in India. The Kaziranga Sanctuary is Assam is another remarkable example of saving the endangered Rhinoceros. There's Periyar in Kerala conserving the Wild Elephants and the Dachigam National Park doing the same to save the Hangul or Kashmiri Stag.

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