Since 2014, March 3 is celebrated as world wildlife day to raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in its resolution, decided to proclaim the day as annual wildlife day to reaffirm the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions, including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic, to sustainable development and human well-being. This day highlights the need to conserve and protect the wildlife which faces many and varied threats, primarily caused by human activities. Among others, it is about habitat loss, poaching, human-wildlife conflict or climate change.
Over the years, there has been an increase in man-animal conflicts, leading to the loss or injury to the precious life. Also, importantly, the rising incidents of man-animal confrontation allude to disturbances caused in wildlife. This year a leopard was even spotted in Bagh-e-Mehtab area of Srinagar. Also, in January this year, animal organs including eight leopard hides, four musk deer pods and 38 bear gallbladders were found in possession of a man arrested in Anantnag. It points out poaching and calls for the need to strengthen the available means with necessary checks and balances to arrest the threat to the wildlife.
Destruction of forests sends wild animals closer to humans. There were reports when the covid-19 pandemic started that the animals carry virus along with them. The biodiversity in forests harmlessly retains dangerous viruses and other pathogens among a vast pool of wild animals, away from people.
This aspect underscores the value of maintaining viable ecosystems, and eliminating the entry of the wild animals from entering human surroundings.
There has been reckless exploitation of the environment over the years. Both officials at the helm of affairs and people are responsible. The growing man-animal conflicts serve as a dire warning to all the concerned that there should be no hasty permissions for projects in already enfeebled forests. There is ample evidence that environmental protection confers health protection and forests should be left undisturbed.
If poaching is one aspect of the conservation challenge, the other side of the story is the fast encroachments that threaten endanger animals and the environment.
There is a need to promote conservation encompassing survival of all as well as diversity of the ecosystem. There is a need to create awareness, as also the action aimed at preventing people from causing disturbances to the wildlife.