Here is an essay on the ‘Conservation of Wildlife’ for class 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on the ‘Conservation of Wildlife’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on the Conservation of Wildlife
- Essay on the Introduction to Conservation of Wildlife
- Essay on the Need for Conservation of Wildlife
- Essay on the Objectives of Conservation of Wildlife
- Essay on the Strategies for Conservation of Wildlife
- Essay on the Methods Used for Conservation of Wildlife
- Essay on the Extinction of Species
Essay # 1. Introduction to the Conservation of Wildlife:
It is well-established fact that the concern for wildlife is the concern for man himself. All forms of live viz. human, animal and plant are so closely interlinked that disturbance in one gives rise to imbalance in the others. If species of plants or animals become endangered, they signify degradation in the environment which may threaten man’s own existence.
From ecosystem point of view, all organic life on earth are organized as a series of energy transfers called trophic-level in a closed system of living and non-living parts in the forms of producers, consumers and decomposers. Producer, consumer and decomposer are linked together in food-chain and again various food-chains are joined at different trophic-levels forming complicated food-web.
In this intricate web of relationships, the existence of one organism is dependent upon the other. The process of “natural selection” has led to species specialising in the performance of certain functions in the food-chains. These are the niches which organisms occupy. The entire trophic structure is delicately balanced on these niches.
In these interrelationships, one form of life is dependent upon the other for its existence and species of plants and animals keep a check on their numbers through such food-chains. Destruction of any particular link in the chain or different stands in the web may lead to imbalances which may threaten the existence of man himself on this planet.
Nature maintains this vast diversity of animals and plants in
a complex organization in which the various life processes of production, consumption and disposal of waste are maintained in well-balanced cycles. Plants and animals constitute the world’s living resources and the various food-chains and cycles constitute life-support-systems essential for their survival, including the survival of man.
These living resources are also renewable. Any process of development by human societies with varying levels of their technology in harvesting natural resources is an intervention in nature and its life-support-system.
To be sustainable, it requires that the renewability of the resources and life-support-system is maintained in perpetuity. This, in its turn, needs an understanding of the ability of species to adapt themselves to changing environment and to integrate these considerations in the development planning process. This is the crux for “wildlife-conservation”.
Unfortunately, due to lack of awareness among the people about the benefits of conservation of wild fauna and flora, selfishness for commercial exploitation as well as ornamental purposes, habitat destruction through deforestation for various purposes etc. are the main reasons of depletion in wild life-population.
Today we are facing the problem of under-populated wild animals resulting rare, endangered, threatened species and so on. A basic consideration is the balance between mortality and reproduction. Some of the endangered forms are handicapped by having a naturally low reproductive-rate.
Under optimum conditions, this may be of no great disadvantage, but it can create serious repercussions if normal reproduction is checked by undue disturbance or by such factors as weakening of species vitality through fragmentation of the population.
It has been very correctly said that no natural resource is more sensitive to conservation than wildlife and no natural resource has suffered more from lack of conservation. The human race has a long record of shameful over-exploitation of the earth’s natural resources particularly wildlife and large number of species had been made extinct and endangered.
Hence, now-a-days alarming condition has come up before us due to depletion of wild animals which haunted all corners of the society like educationists, scientists, public, government officials as well as non- government officials to save wildlife. Therefore, in order to save them; conservation, preservation and protection are required to propagate their population so that healthy and pollution-free atmosphere may give eco-balance on this planet.
The wildlife management is the resultant to solve this problem having objectives to maintain ecological- balance or to protect the environment by achieving balanced-population of wild fauna and flora by applying scientific technologies.
It is interesting to know how we have gradually developed the awareness of the protection of wildlife. At the turn of the twentieth century, the people perhaps with the idea that wildlife was inexhaustible took pride in boosting the killing of animals. But the British rulers began to appreciate the importance of conservation of wildlife and enforced various acts viz. Rhino Protection Act, Elephant Protection Act, Arms Act etc. from time to time to save the wild animals from ruthless massacre.
However, the first concrete step towards it was taken soon after independence in 1952 with the setting up of a Central Board for Wildlife which was subsequently renamed the Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL). Most of the states also followed it up. In spite of the formation of these boards, much could not be achieved because of working in isolation from the mainstream of planning-process.
IBWL is the main advisory board for advising the Government of India regarding wildlife policy in the country. Some of its important achievements are the enacting of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972; establishment of national parks, sanctuaries and zoological gardens; promoting public interest and education in wildlife and its products; formulation of a national environmental conservation policy; revision of the national forest policy etc.
To restrict and regulate the thriving global trade in endangered species, India became a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1976.
Afterwards, many of the international bodies like International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP) etc. have come up for the purposes of safeguarding conservation, management and creation of awareness. India is the member of all these bodies.
For effective conservation of wildlife, there are three basic needs such as:
(a) Adequate food and water,
(b) Place of living, and
(c) Place to breed in safety.
To achieve these, the following measures are in practice:
1. Reserve forests, national parks, sanctuaries are left unexploited. Where total un-exploitation is not possible, the cutting-operation of the forests is done in limited blocks at a time.
2. Growing of a single variety of plant is discouraged as far as possible, instead mixed vegetation is encouraged.
3. Natural opening of the forest, waterholes and riversides are guarded against poachers.
4. Control-burning of grassland, to increase forage and to preserve organic materials in the soil, is done in block with un-burnt area in between.
5. Provisions for dust-baths and artificial salt-licks are made in the forests for maintaining the normal health of the animals.
6. Grazing of domestic livestock is dangerous to wild animals, as the latter can never compete successfully with the domestic stock. Moreover, the domestic stock may be responsible for transmitting several contagious diseases. Hence, grazing by the domestic stock is avoided as far as possible.
7. Cultivation near the sanctuaries/parks is also avoided to prevent ecological-hazards due to pesticides.
8. Scientific studies by qualified personnel specially on threatened species of wild animals are encouraged in order to assess and improve their status, even by breeding them in captivity and rehabilitating them in suitable habitats.
Several such measures have been undertaken and many more are needed to halt the decline of wildlife and to create conditions in which it can flourish with its diversity in natural settings. But nothing could be fruitful without educational and publicity programmes for a change in the human-outlook, especially in the school children who are the builders of the future society.
There is a general lack of knowledge in the conservation of nature and the value of wildlife in our country. Nature has been treated as a milch cow. Anything of use to man is exploited indiscriminately and inevitably leading to its depletion. Sometimes beyond redemption, unless economy is tempered by ecology, there is no possibility of halting the present trend.
The only permanent solution to the problems of protection of wildlife, which is a part of the macro-problem of protection of biosphere and its component ecosystems, lies in proper understanding of the living world and in the reorientation of the human-outlook.
To find the goals of the above said objectives, government as well as public sector were attracted their attention as an issue of national concern. As a result, Government Organisations, Non-Government Organizations/Voluntary Organisations as well as Advisory Bodies actively dedicated to the cause of wildlife-conservation.
Essay # 2. Need for the Conservation of Wildlife:
Conservation embraces the positive and dynamic science of ecology (the study of living processes and their interdependences on each-other and their habitat). According to Noel Simon, conservation means “the maintenance of a reasonable number of members of every species from the largest mammals to the smallest invertebrates in their own habitat without destroying that habitat”.
Again according to Indian Forest Record (1965), conservation means “planned management and wide use of natural resources, so as to prevent over-exploitation, destruction or neglect i.e. wildlife conservation. Originally the term was used to denote strict preservation leading to locking-up of resources and prevention of their use. This meaning has become antiquated. In a broader sense, conservation implies the field of knowledge concerned with the co-ordination and practical application of data from the science with a view to increasing and sustaining the availability of natural resources”.
In broad sense, conservation is defined as the management of human-use of the biosphere so that it may yield the greatest sustainable benefit to present generation while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations.
However, in strict sense; wildlife conservation denotes that wildlife is to be conserved is such a way that it may remain in the nature in peak status and to get the benefit is not the main objective but maintain natural-balance, while in wildlife management along with the conservation of wildlife they are to be managed in such a way that they can meet the specific objectives of human beings.
It is now recognized world over that biological diversity is insurance for food and ecological security. Biological diversity is threatened by encroachment on natural ecosystems by the activities of the ever-growing human population. Creation of new species and elimination of a few others are the results of organic evolution.
Extinction of a species is also a part of the natural process. But with the gradual emergence of human beings as a major evolutionary force, people have increasingly exploited the wildlife rather callously. The rate of decline has been particularly rapid in the last one hundred years without any corresponding renewal.
It is estimated that about 25000 plant species and 1000 vertebrate species and subspecies are threatened with extinction world over. These figures do not include invertebrates like molluscs, insects, corals and innumerable other forms of life, which are invariably vulnerable. It is believed that at least 10 per cent of the living species are in danger.
The most serious threat to the wildlife comes from habitat destruction. Habitats, which protect wildlife, are being converted to human settlements, harbours, dams, reservoirs, croplands, grazing grounds, plantations and mining sites.
The introduction of exotic species over exploitation, and international trade in increasingly scarce commodities of wild origin, mainly from developing countries, is other causes of destruction of many species. The rare species of plants and animals have been categorized for conservation purposes by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
Majorly the categories like Endangered (E), Vulnerable (V), Rare (R), and Threatened (T) have been identified. The IUCN now called as WCU (World Conservation Union) maintains a “red database” at the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC).
From time to time, thus database is translated into popular document and published as Red list or Red Data Book of species that are facing the risk of extinction. According to IUCN 2000, there are 113 endangered plant species and 54 animal species. In India, Botanical Survey of India (BSI) published a Red Book for endangered plant species which should be provided with conservation.
Essay # 3. Objectives of Conservation of Wildlife:
There are three specific objectives of conservation of biodiversity or wildlife as follows:
(a) To maintain essential ecological process and life-supporting systems (air, water and soil).
(b) To preserve the diversity of species or the range of genetic material of world’s organisms.
(c) To ensure a continuous use of species, in fact ecosystem, that support rural communities and urban industries.
Thus the conservation of wildlife has broad objective, not only concerned with biotic (plants, animals and microorganisms) but also with abiotic factors. Therefore, conservation of biodiversity is a complex operation which is specifically concerned with plants, animals and microorganisms and with these nonliving elements of the environment on which they depend.
Essay # 4. Strategies for the Conservation of Wildlife:
Scientists representing 100 countries of the world have evolved a comprehensive World Conservation Strategy for judicious use of resources.
Some of the important steps are as follows:
(i) Preservation of species which have been marked endangered.
(ii) Sound planning and management of land and water uses. The wildlife should be protected both in their natural habitat (In-situ) and in zoos and botanical/biological gardens (Ex-situ).
(iii) Preservation of as many varieties as possible of food crops, forage plants, timber trees, live-stocks, animals for agriculture and their wild relatives and microbes. Priority should be given to those varieties that are most threatened and most needed for national and international breeding programme.
(iv) Each country should identify the habitats of wild relatives of the economically valuable and useful plants and animals and ensure their preservation in Protected Areas.
(v) Safe guarding of the critical habitats (the feeding, breeding, nursery and resting areas) of the species.
(vi) Establishing a network of Protected Areas for migratory or wide ranging animals to preserve the habitat of the species.
(vii) If a species migrates or ranges from one national jurisdiction to another, bilateral or multilateral agreements should be made to set up the required network. Exploitation of the species and pollution of the environment along the migratory routes should be regulated.
(viii) Unique ecosystems should be protected as a matter of priority. Only those uses which are compatible, with their preservation, should be permitted.
(ix) The productive capacities of exploited species and ecosystems have to be determined and it has to be ensured that utilization does not exceed those capacities.
(x) International trade in wild plants and animals has to be regulated to appropriate legislative and administrative measures.
Essay # 5. Methods Used for the Conservation of Wildlife:
Methods of conservation of faunal and floral species are broadly classified into two methods, such as In-situ conservation and Ex-situ conservation.
In-situ conservation is the most appropriate method. This approach includes protection of total ecosystems through a network of Protected Areas. The common natural habitats (protected areas) that have been set for in-situ conservation of wildlife include national parks, sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, several wetlands (mangroves, coral reefs etc.), sacred groves and lakes.
Ex-situ conservation involves cultivation of rare plants and rearing of threatened animal species in zoological and botanical gardens and preservation of the plant species in the form of seeds in seed banks etc. by means of tissue-culture techniques.
Individuals of the species are maintained in artificial conditions under human supervision. These methods include maintaining gene banks, pollen preservation and the most useful is the cryopreservation by with tissue culture and germplasm conservation are made.
Thus, methods of biodiversity conservation may be presented by chart as below:
On contrast to the conservation, preservation is concerned with the strictest protection of a species almost without regard to the consequences.
According to Indian Forest Record (1965):
“Preservation is to save and maintain the wild animals against injury or destruction as well as keeping them safe and undisturbed from private or public use”.
It means guarding the wild species against danger or injury. Partial protection of certain species is achieved by enforcing close-seasons (closed for hunting, fishing etc.) and restricted shooting.
Total protection is achieved by constituting sanctuaries or by legally prohibiting the killing or maiming of a particular species at any time and in any place. Generally, the term protection is used now, only when in referring to species or places which are totally closed to being used in any way, and it implies as locking-up from use.
Essay # 6. Extinction of Species:
Creation of new species and elimination of a few others are the results of organic-evolution, and extinction of a species is also a part of this natural process. Hence, extinction is a “biological reality” because no species has as yet existed for more than a few million years without evolving into something different or dying-out completely.
But with the gradual emergence of human-beings as a major evolutionary force, people have been increasingly exploiting the wildlife rather callously. As many as 500 million kinds of plants, animals and micro-organisms have made this planet as their home since life began over 3.5 billion years ago.
Today, there are more than 30 million species alive. The rate of decline has been particularly rapid in the last one hundred years without any corresponding renewal. It is estimated that about 25,000 plant species and 1000 vertebrate species and subspecies are threatened with extinction.
These figures do not include invertebrates like molluscs, insects, corals and innumerable other forms of life, which are invariably vulnerable. It is believed that at least 10% of the living species are in danger.
Stracey (1963) opined to be biological minimum numbers below which the rebuilding of the species is impossible and extinction results, known as the critical-limit for the particular species. Hence, very important matter which needs special attention is the need for preserving and propagating our living resources in scientific manner.
Extinct refers the species (fauna and flora) which were available or found in past but became disappeared and presently not found. Hence, extinct species are the species that are no longer known to exist in wild, though it may survive in cultivation. According to CITES, a species is said to be extinct, if it is not definitely known in the wild during the past 50 years.
It may be locally, countrywide or worldwide due to the unscientific management, destruction of habitat, merciless and reckless hunting and so on. Extinction results ecological-hazards, imbalances in ecosystem and food-chain/food-web ultimately hampering and affecting present and future generations of the human-beings.
i) Extinction of cheetah from India (the last authentic record in India is of three males wantonly shot together in Korea, Bustar in Chhatisgarh State in 1948).
ii) Two horned rhinoceros from India.
iii) Pink-headed duck.
iv) Mountain quail.
v) Dodo bird from Mauritius etc.
The minimum numbers in a population of a particular species of animals, below which the population numbers are too few for rebuilding the species then extinction results.
When there is a gradual decline in the population of a certain species, a stage may come when the numbers go down below a minimum-level of population needed for survival of the species. This minimum level or the critical-level is known as the Extinction-threshold.
According to Stracey (1963) “there is a biological minimum and if the numbers decrease below this minimum, the rebuilding of the species is impossible and extinction results. This is known as critical-limit for the particular species”.
As stated, about 25,000 plant species, 1000 vertebrates and 10% invertebrate species are in danger of extinction.
Causes of Extinction/Depletion:
Large-scale destruction of the wildlife for food, safety and pleasure started with the use of fire as a means of hunting. It is believed that man-made forest fires have caused the extinction of several species in the past. With the advent of firearms and acceptance of hunting as a sport, needless killing of wild animals assumed dangerous proportions.
Disappearance of Dodo (Didus ineptus) a unique bird of Mauritius, and the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) from India are recent calamities. A number of orchids and medicinal plants have disappeared.
(ii) Destruction of Habitats:
The most serious threat to the wildlife comes from habitat destruction.
It has been destroyed due to:
(a) Establishment of new human settlements, croplands, grazing grounds, quarry in mining sites etc.
(b) Deforestation caused by Jhuming, felling of trees for timber/ firewood, fire and over-grazing etc.
(c) Conversion of forest into agricultural land.
(d) Damages of forest/grasslands by acid rain.
(e) Pollution of water bodies killing aquatic plants and animals.
(f) Building of roads and rail lines through ecologically fragile areas.
(g) Construction of dams/reservoirs destroying habitats of wildlife and block spawning and migration of certain fishes.
Hence, the most serious depletion of wildlife comes from habitat destruction. Habitats which protect wildlife, are being converted for human-settlements, harbours, dams, reservoirs, crop-lands, grazing- grounds, mining-operations etc. Environmental-pollution and deforestation have also resulted in the degradation of important habitats.
Migratory animals are particularly vulnerable to destruction of habitats because disturbance at any point of their migratory-routes affects them. Some of the dams are blocking spawning, migration of fishes by inundating the habitats and by altering the physical environment.
Sometimes, a habitat may be damaged without significantly changing its physical appearance. The California condor, the largest flying bird of today, is a shy scavenger. It is not only the victim of many human activities but also its habitat has been severely affected by human cleanliness. The carcasses of the livestock, which form its food, used to be left in the open in the past, but are presently buried or burnt by the farming community.
The introduction of exotic species deliberately or inadvertently has affected many native species by imposing new factors in competition for food and space, predation, habitat destruction and degradation, transmission of diseases and parasites. The native species of fish of fresh water and of islands are specially affected by the introduction of new species.
For example, exotic trout and bass endangered many species of fish in the U.S.A. Goats and rabbits introduced in the islands of the Pacific and Indian Ocean have destroyed the habitats of several plants, birds and reptiles. The American chestnut trees found in the coastal areas of the U.S.A. have been devastated by a fungus (blight) introduced from China.
Over-exploitation is a serious threat to the wildlife. Over-fishing is seriously depleting the marine living resources and significantly affecting the fresh water ones. Many species of fish and molluscs, whales, sea-cows and sea-turtles are facing total extinction as they are caught by mechanical devices for the sea-food industry.
International trade in increasingly scarce commodities of wild origin, mainly from the developing countries, is the cause of destruction of many species. The use of hides and skins (for luxury), of fur and leather in industry, of exotic meat and fish for special cuisine are serious threats resulting in the dwindling of species.
The use of a wide range of animal and plant products-for the pharmaceuticals, perfumes, cosmetics, aphrodisiacs and decoration souvenirs arid as specimens for museum’s collection and the trade in live plants and animals are other dangers.
Vultures and kites feed on carcasses. Since the carcasses are being buried or burnt now, the population of largest flying bird, California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) has started declining.
(iv) Migratory Routes:
Changes in settling areas and routes of migratory animals resulted in their going astray and perishing.
(v) Exotic Species:
Exotic species or species introduced from outside (often requiring specific environment) produce ecological-imbalance due to removal of biological-control such as:
a) Goats and rabbits introduced in Pacific and Indian Ocean is lands have destroyed habitats of reptiles, birds and plants.
b) Eupatorium odoratum replaced Tectona grandis in N.E.India.
c) Lantana camera in forests of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
d) Parthenium hysterophonus (introduced in 1956) has replaced herbs and shrubs in open spaces.
e) Chestnut Blight (Endothia parasitica) from China has damaged Chestnut tree in coastal areas of U.S.A.
f) Water Hyacinth (Eichhomia crassipes).
(vi) Low Fecundity.
(vii) Industrial and environmental pollution.
(viii) Economic Considerations – Scarce commodities are always in demand i.e. exotic meat/fish, hides/skins, and rare animals/plants.
Endemic species is a species which is found in a particular natural habitat beyond which it is unknown. In other words; the plant and animal species confined to a given region and having originated there (or, a species which occurs continuously in a given area). India has a large number of endemic species such as Elettaria cardamomum, Ficus religiosa, Butea monosperma etc.
A threatened species is the one that is liable to become extinct if not allowed to realize full biotic-potential by protection from exotic- species/human-exploitation/habitat-deterioration/ depletion of food and so on.