SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED?
With 2 percent of the world's land and 16 percent of its people, India is fast losing its wildlife habitat.

With about 100 million people living off forests, which are also home to more than 3,000 species of birds and animals, India's wildlife conservation program has the monumental goal of balancing the interests of man and animals. Next to tigers, one-horned rhino, leopard and Asiatic elephant are endangered species. The Indian cheetah was declared extinct in 1948 .

A $25 billion a year worldwide illegal trade in wildlife lures poachers to resort to any means to procure animals and birds live or dead. Tigers, leopards and rhino in particular, face continuing threat posed by 'traditional' Oriental medicine practiced in China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. There is however no scientific evidence so far for the efficacy of such remedies.

India's first wildlife park, Jim Corbett National Park, was formed in 1936. Today India has 80 national parks and 441 wildlife sanctuaries. The preserves are committed to maintaining the delicate ecosystems necessary to ensure the survival of both flora and fauna. Below are the formal projects initiated by Indian government for wildlife protection:
  • 1970 - Project Hangul - Kashmir stags declined from 3000 in 1940 to 150 in 1970
  • 1972 - All-India Wildlife Protection Act
  • 1972 - Project Lion Gir Forest, Gujarat. 1974 population increase from 180 to 284 in 1993.
  • 1973 - Project Tiger - 21 reserves are spread over 30,000 sq kms across the country. In 1973 there were 2000 tigers which doubled to 4000 in the mid-80's. Since then it has declined to 3750.
  • 1975 - Project Crocodile - 11 sanctuaries set apart for crocodile protection.
  • 1991 - Project Elephant - improved elephant population in the north east. The current population of elephants is 25,000 (about 50% of the Asiatic wild elephants in the world and 10% of the wild African elephant population).


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