INDIAN WILDLIFE AND WHY WE NEED TO PROTECT IT
India is home to some of the rarest species on the planet. A few of the critically endangered ones are only found on lands that are yet to be explored fully. One such example is the Asiatic lion, once found in a majority of Asia and also parts of Europe; now located in the confinements of Gir Forest in Gujarat. They were on the verge of extinction during the 1900s, but thanks to strict conservative measures that were put into place their populace is nearly 650 strong now.
Here’s an astonishing fact, India is the only country in the world where lions and tigers both co-exist in the wilderness. How blessed are we? But we seem to take our blessings for granted since all wild animals in India face the blunt end of habitat destruction and illegal wildlife trafficking. Not only lions and tigers, but a variety of other animals are also poached for different parts of their body and then sold to the black market. The Indian Rhinoceros is, unfortunately, the most targeted of them all; they are brutally murdered for their majestic horns that are worth millions of dollars. If it were up to me, we shouldn't get to decide if an animal lives or not. It is inconceivable and heartbreaking to know that people are ready to massacre animals mercilessly solely for the sake of attaining money. I feel that only if we boycott products made out of animal parts will there be an end to these disgraceful acts. Furthermore, we can raise awareness and warn people about it, file complaints and protest; we may also help by sharing such incidents on social media.
These inhumane acts need to be put to an end. We can’t turn a blind eye to the atrocities happening to these animals that are crucial for planetary sustenance.
While the lion may be king in Africa, it’s the tiger who rules over here. The tiger is the largest of all cats and one of the few which loves spending time in the water. It lives in the dry deciduous forests of the Western Ghats to the Mangrove forests of the Sunderbans. During a survey conducted in 2006 for estimating the tiger population, it showed that there were merely 1600 or so left in the wilderness of India, but thanks to the implementation of Project tiger there is an estimated 3000 tigers living in the Indian forests now.
Here’s another interesting fact: Did you know that India is home to 75% of the global tiger population? This is another reason to be proud and work towards protecting our tigers. Moreover, if the leading predator of the food chain is healthy, it conveys that the whole eco-system is well functioning. We need forests for our survival as they help us to attain proper annual rainfall and even more importantly, provide us with precious oxygen that keeps us alive. Another issue I would like to focus the spotlight on is climate change, as keeping forests intact keeps the climate and weather in check and help to prevent catastrophic events. Everyone knows about the climate crisis we are in right now so unless we act accordingly the situation will only worsen.
On the other hand, India is home to several iconic species such as the leopard, Dhole (Indian wild dog), Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, clouded leopard, striped hyena etc. These rare species need our help if they should survive in this rapidly changing planet.
Here’s something which might blow your mind: India is also the only country in the world housing five big cats, the tiger, lion, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard. This further emphasizes the need to save them as they are not only iconic but also part of our heritage.
I feel that zoos shouldn’t exist, in my opinion. We have no right to lock animals in cages or confined spaces and profit off of them. The claim that zoos exist to save animals is not true and makes no sense whatsoever. Moreover, some zoos don’t even feed the animals they house on a regular basis. Most animal enclosures are in a horrendous condition, we surely would never feel comfortable living there. Animals are meant to roam freely in the wild and definitely not get locked up inside some cramped holding cell. How would we feel if we were put in a similar situation? Let’s take this lockdown for example, we are mentally stressed and yearning to go out. We are unable to be at our homes at a stretch for merely 6 months, then imagine the condition of these poor creatures that have been locked up their entire lives. Those animals, unfortunately, can’t stand up for themselves, so as responsible citizens we must take matters into our own hands and help them out. I feel if we boycott zoos and raise our voices, we can make sure these animals will no longer be held captive there.
Even though some of India’s iconic species are recovering from the verge of extinction, experts have warned that if proper steps are not taken simultaneously, our future generations won’t even have the privilege to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures.
A few tips to follow so we may protect our species:
1) Boycott products made out of animal parts.
2) Raise awareness for the endangered species.
3) Donate money.
4) Donate your time.
5) Be environmentally conscious.
- S. Muhammad Umar