India is a conglomeration of different species of animals and birds, reptiles and insects. The humongous elephants from Kerala, the clouded leopards from Meghalaya, the ferocious tigers from Bengal, and the nimble spotted deer in Telangana. The list goes on but the counts of these wildlife ecosystems are dwindling due to a number of reasons. The growing population, the requirement of building of roads and buildings, the need of farmlands to provide inevitable needs of food to satiate the hunger. The number of animals are also reducing due to illegal acts like poaching, illegal wildlife trade that range from ivory, medicines from animals, animal skin for tourists and sometimes they are sold as pets. Amongst these animals, the tigers are on the verge of extinction.
India’s national animal – The Tiger won’t be extant in the next few years. In the beginning of the 20th century there were 40,000 tigers in the world. We lost 97% tigers in a century. Reports say that the number of tigers that existed in the country was 3400 in 2002. The number fell drastically to 1400 in 2008. Fortunately because of the growing awareness among the people for the need of tigers the numbers have again risen to 2226 in 2014. Why has the numbers taken such a toll? Is it because of the awareness or the vigilance of the forest guards and the growing non – governmental organisations that are taking so much sheer inclination for the preservation of tigers?
India has 70 percent of the total number of tigers in the world. The major tiger reserves are Kaziranga, Sunderban, Jim Corbett, Sahyadri located in different states of India. The reserves initially had an area of 9,000 km in 1980, which waxed to 53,000 km and a tiger population of 3400 in 2002. But due to the increasing number of tigers by 2002, the poaching of wildlife and incessant killing became inexorable. The market for tiger skin and bones increased considerably. The charge of killing a tiger by a poison is around 1$ and steel traps for 9$, and the average pay for a killer is 15$. The body parts are used in Chinese medicine and also for brewing wines. The older the better – costs around 5000$. The tiger skin is sold for 35,000$. The present population of tigers in China is meagre, so it started poaching in different parts of the world.
India has worked persistently to reduce the malpractices of poaching and illegal wildlife trade with heedful patrolling on the reserves, creating many non – governmental organisations like Traffic, WWF(World Wide Fund) India, WPSI(Wildlife Protection Society of India), WII and NTCA which has raised its concern over the deteriorating numbers of tigers and other wildlife. To retain this, different international organisations like EIA (Environmental Protection Agency) and United States have joined hands with India to protect and preserve the wildlife. It will combat and annihilate the roots of poaching in India, illegal trade and strengthen law for conservation policy, and also maintain the reproduction rate for a safer future of tigers.
Protection, management, forensics, monitoring and research are the fields necessary for any wildlife conservation. Different technologies have been implemented in our forests which include metal detectors for locating the traps of tigers, infrared beam alarms, thermal and visual imaging which will detect the trespassing of locals and poachers in the reserves. Biometrics have been used for data-basing the offenders for the protection of wildlife. For finding out the death of the wildlife, genetic entomology which includes taking imprints of the metamorphosis of the beetle to draw back the time of death can be used in the near future.
We hope the different organisations come together and achieve the pivotal goal of increasing the wildlife reserves, as the absence of one element of the food cycle will ultimately impact the other elements which may have adverse effects on mankind. Be vigilant, and take care of the ecosystem which you are living in, as the better you keep it the longer you will survive.