Wildlife Organizations

The Indian Board for Wildlife was formed in 1952 to protect, preserve and improve the status of wildlife in India. Expert committees were nominated to advise the Government of India by an amendment to the Constitution. This constitutional amendment to conserve wildlife and bio-diversity brought forestry and wildlife preservation under the concurrent list which meant that diversion of forest lands for other purposes was subject to the approval of the Government of India. This was a right step towards the objective of preserving wildlife of India.

In 1972, the Wildlife Act was passed by the Parliament and each state adopted the same with modifications in the rules and regulations. Many organizations like the Wildlife Institute of India Dehradun, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) etc came into existence to augment the cause of wildlife conservation in India. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), now known as World Wide Fund for Nature, is lending support and action to the planning process to safeguard wildlife.

The Government of India established a separate Ministry known as the Ministry of Environment. The Ministry of Environment orchestrates the growth and preservation of forests wildlife with regional centers which oversee the regional progress of wildlife preservation. To prevent unwanted killing and export of skins and other wildlife products, the Government of India became a signatory to an International convention called Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This helped to identify, control and to take preventive steps to preserve certain species of Indian wildlife like snakes, tigers, elephants (which are haunted for Ivory) and the snow leopard.

Hundreds of voluntary organizations have also sprung up. They are called NGOs (Non Government Organizations) and are local bodies which look into the individual problems and requirements of the local areas and interact with the State and Central Government to preserve and protect wildlife in India. Another important step taken recently is the creation of biosphere reserves where an integrated approach is implemented keeping in mind needs of human and another living and non-living beings in a given area. 16 such biosphere reserves are being established in India. Data collection is now underway in many of the above places.

The Zoo Authority of India has been created with a view to modernize many of the old zoos. The zoos are being provided with better scientific management skills so that the inhabiting creatures feel like natural surrounding rather than wildlife. Every year, wildlife week is celebrated during the 1st week of October to coincide with Mahama Gandhi's birthday. Moreover, text books, too, dedicate a fair amount of space to the preservation of flora and fauna and also to the harms of environmental pollutions. Therefore, the present generation is not only aware but also actively involved in the movement to save wildlife.

Many schemes such as Project Tiger, Chipko Movement, Coastline Preservation etc have done a great deal to protect and save India's wildlife. Forestation and social forestry have been undertaken to improve the area under forest cover from the present 12% to a level of 33% with a lot of international co-operation from Sweden (SIDA), Switzerland (IUCN), U.S.A. etc. Many colleges now offer post-graduate courses and facilities for research leading to Ph. D. in wildlife. Research & data gathering is an important step to preserving wildlife. The promotion of wildlife preservation is also a carrier. Wildlife preservation and protection is being fostered by celebrating World Environment Day and Earth Day every year.

About 330 wildlife sanctuaries and some 66 National Parks beside a large number of wildlife refuges have been created till 1991. The concentration is manly on the forest, coastal areas, wetlands, desert, wasteland mountains, valleys, river and lake systems which are the major habitats of wildlife. At present only a minute fraction of India's surface area is under protection but it is proposed to be steadily increased to 5 % over the next 10 years. There may be setbacks in the many proposals, but the overall scene is very encouraging and India hopes to preserve its flora and fauna for posterity.