Wildlife Conservation is a holistic approach for protection of wildlife through preservation of their habitats. Growing populations and increasing consumption put tons of pressure on natural forests and pastures that serve as the abode of many animal and plant species. The conversion of these havens to farmlands and residential areas is a matter of grave concern.
Sources of Destruction
Threats to wildlife and their habitat originate from:
- Public Apathy and Lack of Awareness about nature
- Pollution affects habitats because wild animals and their habitats ingest contaminants with deleterious effects. This happens through:
+ Toxic agricultural chemicals being washed down to these habitats
+ Increasing atmospheric temperatures destroy ecosystems especially those in the polar regions and confuse migratory species during their nature-balancing movements
+ Septic air breathed in by plants and animals
+ Dumping of garbage in and near such habitats
- Over Exploitation of Resources such as fish, edible wild animals, pastures, and forests. Mining, quarrying, and drilling in eco-sensitive zones for mineral resources produces the same effect
Encroachment of human settlements on these bio-spots, excessive hunting, and illegal poaching is also a part of such over exploitation
- Natural Disasters such as forest fires, floods, cloudbursts, lightning, cyclones, volcanoes, and earthquakes
Paramountcy of Wildlife Conservation
An ecosystem consists of all living and non-living elements in a particular area that are bound in a complex web of relationship with each other and with their surroundings. Environment is the sum total of all planetary resources, biotic and abiotic. Comparing these two definitions, environment can be defined as the sum total of all ecosystems on this planet.
Inside an ecosystem, creatures are in a state of delicate equilibrium with themselves and their surroundings – discharges from one creature or one process in the system are gainfully used by other creatures and processes in the ecosystem. There is also loose association and balance between different ecosystems that provides the total environmental equilibrium.
Disturbance of even one species or process in the system can destroy the delicate balance with calamitous consequences. It is believed disorders such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Bird Flu are a result of ecosystem collapse. The causative organisms were balanced in the ecosystem, the destruction of which released them outside.
Similarly, the extinction of tigers will mean an explosion in the number of herbivores. These will then eat up forest after forest. Diminishing green cover will cause contamination of all the pollutable entities viz. land, air, and water.
Successful Wildlife Conservation Model
Among the successful models for wildlife conservation is the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation. The movement for this model started in the 1860s when indiscriminate hunting brought many species on the verge of extinction and forced a rethink by hunter groups.
This model rests on two fundamental principles:
- Collective, Non-Commercial Ownership of wildlife and fish by all North Americans
- Sustainable Management of fish and wildlife
Seven doctrines that supplement the basics are:
- Scientific Approach
- Public Trust Doctrine implies wildlife to be a right and a responsibility of all
- Public Participation in Hunting-Fishing Laws
- Equal Opportunity in Hunting-Fishing
- Equal Liability by funding wildlife management from the proceeds of sale of hunting and fishing licenses and excise tax on hunting-fishing equipment
- Regulation of Commerce in Wildlife
- Wildlife as an International Resource