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Essay on Sanctuary and National Parks
- Introduction to Sanctuary and National Parks
- Definition of Sanctuary and National Parks
- Aims of Establishment of National Parks and Sanctuaries (Protected Areas PAs)
- Management of Sanctuary and National Parks
- Wildlife Management Outside Sanctuary and National Parks
Essay # 1. Introduction to Sanctuary and National Parks:
Wildlife is a vital part of the life-support systems for the human race. Hence, existence of all life forms is essential for the maintenance of delicate ecological-system. Sanctuaries and National Parks have been created which are the final insurance against the total disappearance of species.
The original idea of a sanctuary in India was closing of shooting-block for shooting and it is declared as such by the Conservator of Forests from time to time. But now as per the modern conception of a sanctuary as a part or whole of government forest permanently closed to shooting and in some cases prohibited to forest exploitation, grazing and other such revenue operations. The definition of National Park which was evolved in 1933 in London Conference on African fauna is the one which is universally accepted.
According to it, a National Parks is an area:
(i) Placed under public control, the boundaries of which shall not be altered except by competent legislative authority.
(ii) Set aside for the protection and preservation for all time of wild animal life and wild vegetation for the benefit, advantage and enjoyment of the general public; and
(iii) In which hunting of fauna or collection of flora is prohibited except under direction of the park authority.
In England, national parks are mostly area or sites of great natural beauty or a historical or archeological importance. In Europe, they are preserves of natural wildlife, while in America they are mainly areas of outstanding scenic beauty and remarkable natural phenomena. In Africa, they are almost entirely faunal in character.
In India, the emphasis so far has been on the faunal character, and the shape that the present movement is taking is to convert certain sanctuaries or suitable reserves or protected forest, where there is sufficiency of wildlife and beautiful scenery, into national parks.
These areas are expected to be really worthy of being called national parks and must justify the appellation; both from the scenic and faunal aspects. In the former respect, India probably has the advantage over many countries as most of her sanctuaries are set in beautiful surroundings and have varied types of vegetation with an adequacy of wild life. The sanctuaries and national parks are called as “Protected Area (PA)”.
Every national park must have the minimum requisites of fauna, flora, scenery etc.; and in the case of sanctuary which is to be upgraded there must be basic needs and essentialities from management and protection point of view. Provision should be made for core-zone, buffer-zone and legal boundary.
The ideal approach should be “non-intervention by human agency” except in special circumstances such as maintenance and research. There must be improvement of basic needs like food, water and shelter. Attention must be given towards fire, salt-licks, watch-towers, roads etc.
A national park before coming into its existence in India, it must be confirmed that the area is of such importance and status to deserve the same. Administration of the area must be improved and simultaneously illegalities such as poaching, hunting, killing and unauthorized grazing etc. should be eliminated.
There should be adequate size of the park, well demarcated boundary, core-zone and buffer-zone. Both sanctuaries and national parks may be formed out of reserved or protected forests.
There should not be extraction of forest produce or other forms of revenue operations which are disturbing to wildlife. To provide privacy to the animals, it must have an inner sanctuary (Abhayaranya) or core-zone/sanctum-sanctorum where no disturbance is allowed.
In addition to sanctuaries and national parks, there should be certain areas in which wildlife is to be protected; such as places like in and around towns and sacred places, near lakes and in catchment areas of river etc. In addition; such protection is necessary to enable a species, which is on the verge of extinction, to re-establish itself. Such areas or species must be declared as “protected” either temporarily or permanently as per the situation.
From management point of view, the first essential for sanctuaries and parks is the preservation of the environment, to avoid destruction/disappearance of the wildlife within it. There should be no exploitation of forest in these areas. They should be accessible to the public giving every facility to enjoy the experience of seeing wildlife at close quarters such as rest house, roads, paths vehicles, elephant-riding, watch-towers etc.
Protection of the boundaries of sanctuaries and parks is an important requirement both for protection and non-disturbance of wildlife within the areas. For this purpose, creation of core and buffer zones is necessary against cultivation, grazing, shooting, hunting, poaching and other kinds of illegal activities.
The core-area should be large enough for animals to remain completely undisturbed. Preventive inoculation of cattle in the surrounding areas of sanctuaries and park against infectious diseases is essential in the interest of wildlife. In this connection, exclusion of grazing from sanctuaries and parks is necessary to guard against such epidemics.
Indigenous flora must be cared for and they should be preserved and protected as far as possible, because mark able changes may come bringing unsuitable ecological condition after their removal or negligence. Apart from these, scientific management of sanctuaries and national parks is must to achieve the goal within short time.
The undisturbed viewing of wild animals depends up to a large extent on the degree of protection as well as freedom. In addition, added and improved attractions of food, water and shelter, as the basic needs, along with palatable grasses, salt-licks, fire-control etc. should be provided and manipulated accordingly.
By getting such suitable conditions, the animals can be prevented from migrating from area even in the unfavorable period. By such means; it is possible to attract, retain and propagate the animals in a sanctuary or park. There should be permanent and qualified staff for management and enforcement of the rules and to guard against poaching etc. in the sanctuaries and parks.
The basic objective of the management of parks and sanctuaries is to improve, maintain, preserve and protect the environment in and around such areas; so that the natural fauna and flora may occupy their proper natural habitat and to live and flourish up to optimum-level. For the purpose; protection of forest areas, soil conservation, watershed- management, continuous watching and strict security of wild animals are essential factors.
However the management- principles are not similar in all the national parks and sanctuaries because it depends upon the purpose of formation of the particular national park or sanctuary; for example, some of the parks and sanctuaries have been created specially for protecting and preserving rare and endangered species such are Gir National Park and so on. Therefore, there should be compromising approach for maintaining forest-operations and objectives of national parks and sanctuaries.
Hence, sanctuaries and national parks have been created exclusively for protecting the wild fauna and flora in all parts of the world including India as a part of board wildlife-management prospective. Such approach had been adopted even before the independence by creating sanctuaries in the forms of shooting-blocks, game-reserves or hunting- reserves by the Provincial Government or by the native rulers in their respective areas.
In 1936, the first National Park in India was created and named as Hailey National Park in Uttaranchal, now known as Corbett National Park. Under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the State Governments/Central Government are empowered to declare any area as sanctuary or national park as per the procedure laid down for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment.
Essay # 2. Definition of Sanctuary and National Parks:
Sanctuaries and national parks are the final refuge of wildlife and constitute an insurance against the total disappearance of species.
“It is an area where killing and capturing of any species of birds or animals is prohibited except under orders of competent authority and whole boundaries and characters should be sacrosanct (free from outrage) as far as possible”.
The Board (IBWL) has further clarified the position by stating that while the management of sanctuaries does not involve suspension or restriction of normal forest operations, it is desirable to set aside a completely sacrosanct area within a sanctuary to be known as “Abhayaranya”.
It has also indicated that sanctuaries should be made accessible to the public. In these “Ashrams” of wildlife, destruction of the wild animals is prohibited by laws. These areas will be from nurseries of wild animals to replenish areas with depleted stock from time to time.
According to Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 under section 18:
“The State Government may by notification, any area to be a sanctuary if it considers that such area is of adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural or zoological significance, for the propose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife, or its environment”.
After declaration of an area as sanctuary, the Collector shall enquire into and determine the existence, rights of persons, within the limit of the sanctuary and act for its settlement. No person is allowed to move freely inside the sanctuary without the permission of the authority. The permanent residents also have to help the authorities against offences.
The Chief Wildlife Warden may permit any person to enter or reside inside the sanctuary for the purpose of studies on wildlife photography, research work etc. Such permission may be cancelled by him or other authorized authority. Inside the sanctuaries, carrying of weapons without permission, setting fire or candle any fire or leave any fire burning, use of explosives and chemicals are strictly prohibited.
The competent authority can take proper steps from management point of view for the security of wild animals and may regulate, control or prohibit grazing or movement of cattle or fishing in the interest of wild animals.
A national park is a relatively extensive area:
(1) In which one or more ecosystems have not been physically altered by human exploitation and occupation, where plant and animal species, geomorphologic-sites and habitats are of special scientific, educational and recreational interest, or where the natural scenery is of great beauty;
(2) Or eliminate exploitation or occupation of the entire area in the briefest possible time and to effectively complete respect for the ecologic, geomorphologic or aesthetic features which lead to its establishment;
(3) Where visitors are allowed and special condition for inspirational, educational, cultural and recreational purposes (IUCN).
“An area dedicated by statute for all time to conserve scenery, natural and historical objects of national significance and wildlife, and where provision is made for the enjoyment of the same by the public” (IBWL).
According to Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 under section 35:
“Whenever it appears to the State Government that an area, whether within a sanctuary or not is by reason or its ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological or zoological association or importance, needed to be constituted as national park for the purpose of propagating or developing wildlife therein or its environment it may, by notification, declare its intention to constitute such area as a National Park”.
From the definition, the difference between sanctuary and national park viewing Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 shows that the sanctuary should be natural or of zoological significance whereas a national park should be of zoological association or importance. After declaration of an area as national park, the Collector shall enquire and settle the rights of the person.
All types of destruction exploitation, damage of habitat and removal of wild animals are strictly prohibited inside the national park. However; from management point of view; permission may be given for such activities in the interest of wild animals by Chief Wildlife Warden after getting prior approval of the State Government.
But under no circumstances, grazing of cattle is permitted inside the national park. No. alteration of the boundaries of a national park shall be made except on a resolution passed by Legislature of the concerned State.
While the principles underlying a wildlife sanctuary and national park are essentially the same viz. maximum protection, the fundamental difference is that a sanctuary is created by order of a competent authority, who may be the Chief Wildlife Warden/Chief Conservator of Forests or Minister of State; while a national park is created and correspondingly can be abolished, mutated or changed only by the Legislation of State. The status and degree of permanency and protection is, therefore, much higher in a national park than in a sanctuary.
Essay # 3. Aims of Establishment of National Parks and Sanctuaries (Protected Areas PAs):
The sanctuaries and national parks (Protected areas) are established with the view to:
1. Adequate representation of bio-geographic diversity.
2. Proper geographic distributions of PAs across prominent wilderness belts.
3. Setting-up new PAs rationalizing boundaries of existing ones so as to meet the imperative in the above 1 & 2.
4. Overcoming management deficiencies in PAs.
5. Promoting corridor values (conducive to movement of major mammals and long terms, long ranging gene-travel of all species of flora and fauna) through forests and multiple-use areas that lie between PAs in a given wilderness belt.
6. Establishing a monitoring mechanism to access the viability of network of PAs.
Essay # 4. Management of Sanctuary and National Parks:
(i) Proper management plans.
(ii) Trained personnel for management planning and implementation.
(iii) Special programmes for endangered species and ecosystems such as project, biosphere reserve, gene-pool etc.
(iv) Ensuring compatibility between PAs and surrounding multi- use areas by promoting eco-development and control of animal-damage in the latter.
(v) Generation of a sound scientific database for management planning.
(vi) Establishing techniques through well planned utility-oriented wildlife research.
Essay # 5. Wildlife Management Outside Sanctuary and National Parks:
All forests including those being formed under programmes of social forestry and wasteland development are potential wildlife-habitats. With appropriate adjustments, which are possible without prejudice to the primary objectives and economic returns, it is possible to provide significant supplemental wildlife-habitat and movement corridors for wildlife.
This entails the following facts:
(i) Evolving compatible wildlife-management techniques so as to accord with silvicultural requirements of such areas.
(ii) Promoting wildlife-habitats in pre-selected mini-core units between distant PAs in the same forest belt.
(iii) Effective anti-poaching and enforcement or trade regulations.
(iv) Promoting knowledge of wildlife-habitats among forestry personnel and other agencies concerned with the management of government forests and multiple-use areas.
(v) Promoting awareness for wildlife-conservation among public at large and especially among young people forest-side communities and decision makers.