Tuesday, February 19, 2013

All wildlife species count

11 Feb 2013 The endangered must get immediate attention
While it is heartening that India has made great strides in tiger conservation and provided a legal framework to protect wildlife, the effort to conserve lesser known species remains an area of concern. This is not to undermine the efforts that have gone into making Project Tiger, into its 40th year now, a roaring success. At the last count in 2011, the tiger population stood at 1,704, as against the 2008 census figures of 1,411. Inspiring as this is, the fact remains that the tiger is only a part of biodiversity that stands threatened by the relentless march of development. That we are still a far cry from making our wildlife adequately secure can be gleaned from the fact that some 132 species of flora and fauna from India are tagged as critically endangered in the Red List of threatened species drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Significantly, while the tiger finds no mention on this list, more than 15 critically endangered bird species and a host of lesser known animals do. In 1972, when the tiger was notified as the country's national animal, replacing the Asiatic Lion, the Great Indian Bustard was all set to be nominated the national bird, but it lost out to the peacock. Today, less than 250 bustards survive and the species is on the verge of extinction. Except for the Asiatic Lion, which is found in a small pocket in Gujarat, there is hardly any population data on other carnivores, including the snow leopard. Things have come to such a pass that even the most ubiquitous sparrow is vanishing from our lives. The near extinction of vultures is well-documented, as is their impact as nature's most efficient scavenger. Over the years, serious concerns have been voiced by wildlife lovers and conservationists about the declining number of vital fauna and flora in the country. They have rued the lavish allocation for tiger conservation efforts — a whopping `167.7 crore, and `22.58 crore for Project Elephant, for the year 2012-13, to the exclusion of all other species. Experts argue that while focussing entirely on the tiger other species, including tiger prey such as the Hog Deer and the Barasingha have been neglected. And the less said about the fate of the brown bear the better it is. Although India is home to four of the eight species of bears, there are no scientific papers or studies on bear ecology in the country. If reports are anything to go by, there are only two sanctuaries for bears one each in Gujarat and Karnataka.
The plight of the gravely endangered species, paucity of funds and an ineffective implementation of the Special Programme for Recovery of Critically Endangered Species have all conspired to stump the feeble conservation efforts. This bodes ill for our future as every species plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the ecosystem. It’s time the Government and the wildlife activists got together to take a holistic look and not limit themselves to a few species.
Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/53398-not-one-to-be-browbeaten-all-wildlife-species-count.html

No comments: