Read this essay to learn about the government and non-government organisations concerning wildlife conservation.
Essay on Government Organisations (GOs) Concerning Wildlife Conservation:
1. CITES: (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora):
One of the principal causes of the decline of wildlife throughout the world, next only to habitat destruction, is unregulated commercial exploitation. In India, jackal exploited for the fur, musk deer for the musk-pod, and rhinoceros for its horn and so on for fantastic prices in the world market by poachers, traders, and smugglers.
The great demand on the international market for rhinoceros horns, musk-pods, crocodile skins, rugs and pelts of different endangered species, monkeys etc. resulted in poachers and smugglers continuing to engage in their trade with other nations.
The international trade continued due to high returns compared to the strict penal provisions adapted by the wildlife-legislation (Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972) and there was also little check on imports of such products into other nations. This was a major problem confronting not only India but also other nations which had substantial wildlife-resources.
In order to prevent over-exploitation of wild fauna and flora through international trade, a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed at Washington on 3rd March, 1973 and after ratification by ten countries, came into effect on 1stJuly, 1975. The Government of India signed this Convection in July, 1974 and became a party to it from 18th October, 1976.
Under this Convention, the Inspector General of Forests and the Director of Wildlife Preservation are the Management Authorities in India, supported by three Scientific Authorities namely, the Director, Zoological Survey of India (ZSI); the Director, Botanical Survey of India (BSD); and the Director, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.
The representatives of the parties meet every two years to review the Convention and its implementation.
Aims & Objectives:
(i) That wild fauna and flora in their many beautiful and varied forms are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth.
(ii) That they are conscious of the ever-growing value of wild fauna and flora from aesthetic, scientific, cultural, recreational and economic point of view.
(iii) That people and states are and should be the best protectors of their own wild fauna and flora.
(iv) That international co-operation is essential for the protection of certain species of wild fauna and flora against over-exploitation through international trade.
(v) That there is an urgency of taking appropriate measures to this end.
Keeping the above mentioned objectives in view, the contracting nations of the Convention framed rules and regulations to control the worldwide trade in endangered wildlife and its products. It consists of 25 articles listing endangered etc. species and rules regarding international trade etc.
In general; the export, import and re-export of any specimen of the species listed in the Appendices require the prior grant and presentation of permits relating to the export, import and re-export subject to the other provisions, restrictions and exemptions under the Convention.
2. GTF (Global Tiger Forum):
India established this association or Forum in March, 1993 in a meeting at Delhi under the Chairmanship of Mr. Kamalnath Choudhary, the then Minister for Environment & Forests, India. It is an international platform to discuss about the protection of tiger-population in the world.
Presently, the tiger is an endangered species as its population is not optimum. Unfortunately, smuggling of tiger skin, meat and bones is going on very fastly. Bones of tiger are used in medicine and wine preparations in China, Taiwan, and other eastern countries.
The bones are powdered and sold at very high cost. Such illegal trade has become very difficult to control. It the present trade of hunting of tigers continues; it is sure that within a few decades, tiger will become extinct. Keeping this view, the GIF has been formed by India with genuine and appropriate interest.
(a) International co-operation among the countries where tiger species exist and illegal traffic is going on.
(b) Voluntary participation and raising of funds.
(c) To improve the habitat condition and to promote conservation programme.
(d) To establish new wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
(e) To establish special squad to discover illegal hunting and poaching of tiger.
Essay on Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) Concerning Wildlife Conservation:
(1) WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature):
It was set up in 1961 which is the world’s largest voluntary organization. Since October, 1979 its headquarters is at Gland, Switzerland. The Giant Panda is the official symbol of WWF. Previously, it was known as World Wildlife Fund (WWF); but in 1990 it was renamed as Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).
This organization raises funds for urgent conservation requirements and promoting conservation through the worldwide education campaign and public consciousness. An executive committee, comprising the President and ten members of the Board of Trustee of WWF, is responsible to the Board for the administration of the fund.
It supervises for raising and disbursement of funds etc. The Board can also include influential individual from a wide variety of professions such as science, finance, medicine, art, advertising, trade and diplomates to utilize their talents.
WWF depends entirely upon voluntary contributions for raising its fund. It is collected by National Organisations of five continents and through International Headquarters in Switzerland.
WWF raises money through:
(a) Interest on an endowment fund of more than 10 million dollars contributed by 1001 persons from all parts of the world.
(b) Donations from the general public.
(c) Contributions from its over one million regular members.
(d) Grants from several charitable foundations etc.
WWF works in collaboration with IUCN and is- supported by UNO, UNESCO, UNEP, and FAO. Conservation objectives are reviewed twice a year by the Conservation Programme Committee, composed of members from leading WWF National Organisations, Trustees and Senior staff of WWF and IUCN.
WWF represents a board spectrum of activities. They support conservation projects in their own territories as well as internationally.
WWF-India was formed in 1969 having Board of 8 Trustees with the Headquarters in Bombay and three Regional Offices in Calcutta, Delhi, and Madras.
Its functions are as follows:
(i) It focuses attention of the Government of India and State Governments on the problems of concern in the field of wildlife conservation.
(ii) It organises Conservation Education Programme both in educational institutions and for general public.
(iii) It supports research projects on wildlife conservation in India. The foremost being the Project Tiger (1973), Gir Ecological Research Project (1968), Project Hangul (1970), Himalayan Musk Deer Project (1979) and Lesser Cats Project (1981). Besides funds, WWF also provides them vehicles, telecommunication equipment etc.
(iv) From publicity point of view, it also publishes bulletin, wildlife posters, calendars etc. with message on conservation. More than 400 “Nature Clubs” have been set up in four different regions (North, South, East, and West) of India.
(2) BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society):
The society was formed as a private organisation in 1983 by seven residents of Bombay. The society is actively engaged in collecting information’s and specimens of flora and fauna throughout India, Burma, and Ceylon. The society has also become instrumental in focusing official and public attention to the need for proper understanding, conserving, and development of the rich biodiversity of wildlife of India specially through publications, lectures, films, field visits etc.
The society has collected so many rare and endangered fauna. Specimens of flora and fauna are sent to it also for identification and preservation.
The society is always busy in carrying research work in collaboration with foreign and other agencies. It has done tremendous work in surveying mammals of India from 1911 to 1923 and ornithological survey as well.
An international investigation in the role of birds in spreading arthropod-borne viruses, valuable information’s were obtained by ringing two lakhs birds. The society is under the affiliation of University of Bombay (Mumbai) and provides M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees.
The society is the representative of IBWL and Wildlife Advisory Boards of many States. It also gives financial assistance for field work in natural history to the workers such as students and the scientists/ researchers.
(3) WPSI (Wildlife Preservation Society of India):
It is a nongovernment organisation founded in 1958 at Dehradun by a group of wildlife conservationists realizing the alarming condition of national heritage.
WPSI was formed in 1994 with the specific aim of providing additional support and information to combat the escalating illegal wildlife trade. The society has established a network of informers throughout India, a comprehensive database on wildlife crimes and a legal cell which pursues the prosecution of important wildlife cases particularly those concerning the tiger.
The Society assists and liaises with government enforcement authorities to bring about the arrest of offenders and seizure of wildlife products. With field projects and awareness compaigns, WPSI is actively involved in major wildlife conservation issues in the country.
It has following main objectives:
(i) To promote interest and knowledge among the people in the field of preservation and conservation of all kinds of fauna and flora, water and environment.
(ii) To co-operate with Government of India and States as well as other societies and institutions for the interest of wildlife.
(iii) To support in enforcing Wild Life (Protection) Act.
(iv) To promote wildlife tourism.
(v) To protect, conserve and propagate wildlife in the country, the society has to advise and help the Government and the wildlife administrators in the formation, maintenance and protection of sanctuaries and national parks; preservation of wildlife in general and rare species; introduction of exotic species; rehabilitation of rare species; revision of shooting and fishing rules etc.
(vi) To carry on such other activities which will, serve the above objectives.
(vii) To establish and maintain museums, libraries of natural history etc. to promote knowledge in the field of wildlife.
(viii) Raising of funds to carry out the above aims and objectives.
To fulfill its objectives, the society is publishing a journal namely “Cheetal” together with BNHS. The ideas of the society are spreading day-by-day promoting awareness among the people in wildlife conservation.
(4) IBWL (Indian Board for Wildlife):
It is the main advisory body for advising Government of India in regard to wildlife policy in the country. It was first constituted in 1952 as an Advisory Body under the Chairmanship of the Inspector General of Forests under the name as “Central Board for Wildlife” to suggest how India’s wildlife could be safeguarded. The Board was later re-designated as the Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL).
It has following functions:
(i) To devise ways and means for the conservation and control of wildlife through co-ordinated legislative and practical measures with particular reference to seasonal and regional closures and the declaration of certain species of animals as protected animals and for the prevention of indiscriminate killings.
(ii) To sponsor the setting up of national parks, sanctuaries, zoological gardens and parks.
(iii) To promote public interest in wildlife and its preservation in harmony with the natural and human environment.
(iv) To advise the government on policy in respect of export of living animals, trophies, skins, furs, feathers and other wildlife products.
(v) To prevent cruelty against birds and beasts caught alive.
(vi) To review from time to-time the progress in the field of wildlife conservation in the country and to suggest such measures for improvement which are considered necessary.
(vii) To assist and encourage the formation of wildlife societies and to act as Central Coordinating Agency for all such bodies.
(viii) To advise the Central Government on any matter that it may refer to the Board provided the subject matter of the reference falls within the prescribed functions of the Board.
(ix) To do all such other things either alone or in conjugation with other or on the direction of the Government of India to preserve and conserve wildlife.
The IBWL discharged its responsibilities very efficiently.
Some of the main achievements are as follows:
(a) The most important achievement is promulgation of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act in 1972 for providing special legal protection to our wildlife and to the endangered species of fauna particularly.
(b) A Zoological Park was set up in Delhi in 1955 reflecting the latest ideas of exhibiting animals in open air enclosures. The number of wildlife reserves has been increased.
(c) Forests and protection of wild animals and birds have been included in the concurrent list in the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976.
(d) On the recommendation of IBWL, India became a party to the CITES in 1976 due to which the illegal trade in wildlife and its products has declined drastically in our country.
(e) On the recommendation of IBWL, an National Environmental Conservation Policy and a National Forest Policy have been formulated. In the latter, emphasis has been given on the conservation rather than the exploitation of the forest resources.
(5) IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources):
The history of the modern wildlife conservation movement really starts from the International Conference for the Protection of Nature held at Paris in 1931 which led to formation of the IUCN. This was followed by the International Conference on African fauna held at London in 1933 which resulted in the London Convention for the Protection of the Fauna and Flora of Africa (1933).
After the last war and in collaboration with the UNESCO (United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organisation), the IUCN General Assembly met at Paris in 1948 and at Finland in 1952. Such general meetings alternate with meetings of its Technical Committee. In 1953, the Second International Conference on African fauna was held in the Belgian Congo.
IUCN was founded in 1948. It is the leading international, nongovernment organisation concerned with conservation. It is a network of government and non-governmental organisations as well as scientists and conservations experts dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of living-resources. Now, it is called WCU (World Conservation Union).
IUCN has more than 475 member-organisations and 116 governmental agencies in 110 countries.
(i) Monitoring the status of conservation.
(ii) Developing plans for dealing with conservation problems such as the World Conservation Strategy.
(iii) Promoting action on their plans by government or organisations as appropriate.
(iv) Providing advice and assistance to implement conservation measures.
(v) Co-ordinating communication between the members and the commissions as well as the development.
(vi) Selection and management of WWF, Conservation Projects around the world.
(vii) Managing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the CITES Secretariat.
(viii) Performing the continuing bureau duties under the Conservation of Wetlands of International Importance, specially of waterfowl- habitats.
IUCN receives financial support from its own members, from WWF, UNEP and a number of other sources.
SSC of IUCN prepares Red Data Book for endangered species which is modified every year and addition or deletion of the animal is done in the list of the Book as per its status.
(6) CBSG (Conservation Breeding Specialist Group):
Previously, it was known as Captive Breeding Specialist Group and the name was changed as “Conservation Breeding Specialist Group” in 1994.
CBSG is the most active specialist group in SSC incorporating principles of conservation-biology and small population-dynamics with species-conservation both in-situ and ex-situ. It has been an integrating influence on the global-conservation-community.
The CBSG processes of Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA), Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) and Global Captive Action Plan (G-CAP), Global Captive Action Recommendation (G-CAR) have brought together scientists and field managers, zoo-personnel, politicians, sociologists, educationists, industrialists and a great variety of other relevant experts and enthusiasts.
The processes are dynamic and interactive events which consider all aspects of conservation from the ego problems between individuals. The most advanced scientific methods assisted reproduction and genetic analysis. The group of processes (CAMP, PHVA, G-CAR) can be described as a set of interactive catalysts because they are all interconnected and interdependent.
Mission of CBSG:
(i) To conserve and establish viable populations of threatened species through captive-propagation programmes and through intensive protection and management of small and fragmented populations in the wild.
(ii) To advise IUCN, SSC and the SSC Specialist Groups on the uses of captive-propagation for conservation and to organize, facilitate and monitor International Captive Propagation Programmes.
(iii) To establish a global network of zoo-professionals and also to provide facilities and personnel for International Collaborative Captive Programmes for the species in danger of extinction.
(iv) To establish a global network of professionals in captive- management, wildlife-management, population-biology, reproductive-biology and technology, and other disciplines to advise on the establishment, development and conduct of recommended captive-propagation programmes of endangered species.
(v) To conduct Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) workshops and to prepare Captive Breeding Action Plans in collaboration with the appropriate Specialist Groups of SSC and ICBP for all the vertebrates and selected non-vertebrates. These plans are to provide analysis of the status of the species in captivity, information on the status of the species in wild, and recommendations for captive- propagation programmes.
(vi) To assist in the organisation of captive-programmes for species as recommended by the plans. This would include coordination of studbooks and captive-breeding programmes at the global level. Besides, these would include recommendations to the regional zoo-organisations for selection of species, assisting in arrangements for field studies and working with relevant Specialist Groups and responsible management agencies to obtain animals from the wild, if needed.
(vii) To assist the adoption and use of effective systems for assembling local and global captive data (such as ISIS, ARKS) and regional systems for support of collaborative captive-breeding programmes.
(viii) To use global system for continuing collection of information on the status of species in the wild to assist in establishing priorities on a timely basis. This information system would provide a database for SSC Action Plans, Heritage Species Plans and assignment of IUCN Categories of Threat.
(ix) To assist SSC and International Union of Directors of Zoological Gardens with the Heritage Species Programme, specially the aspects relating to the conservation-biology.
(x) To prepare and distribute a Newsletter to provide a means of communication between all members of the CBSG and the world’s zoos. To, arrange and hold meetings to facilitate the selection, development, maintenance and monitoring of collaborative programmes.
(xi) To conduct PHVA workshop in conjunction with other SSC and ICBP Specialist Groups, as needed to establish the extinction risks for a taxon and to develop the scenarios and recommendations for management actions needed to prevent extinction and to achieve recovery (removal from the threatened species list).
(xii) To develop, in conjunction with other SSC and ICBP Specialist Groups, Global Master Plans for species as needed and as a basis for providing a focus on the conservation of species in the wild. This would include specific identification of reserves that are in need of support, development of pre-release programmes for species that are to be returned to the wild, and the coordination of the captive-programmes.
(xiii) To develop and assist the use Genome Resource Banking for the conservation of threatened species.
(7) SSC (Species Survival Commission):
The SSC is one of the commissions of IUCN, the World Conservation Union. Its aim is to conserve biological-diversity by developing and executing programmes of study, save, restore and manage wisely the species and their habitats.
The main goals are:
(i) To assess the conservation status and threats to species worldwide, so as to generate the recommendations and strategies necessary for the conservation of biological-diversity.
(ii) To identify conservation priorities for species and their habitats.
(iii) To promote the implementation of specific recommended actions for the survival of species.
(iv) To develop and promote policies for the conservation of species and their habitats.
(v) To enhance the efforts of individuals working on biodiversity- conservation by linking them and providing access to an international forum.
(vi) To promote an understanding of the importance of the conservation of species to the well-being of the people.
(vii) It prepares Red Data Book for endangered species which is modified every year as per the status of the animal. It means the animal whose status becomes improved and comes out of endangered category, is removed from the list of the Book (addition or deletion is done in the list every year as per the status of the animal).
(8) PHVA (Population & Habitat Viability Assessments):
Population and Habitat Viability Assessments (PHVA) is the enhanced version of Population Viability Analysis (PVA). It is an intensive analysis of a particular taxon or one of its populations.
PHVA use computer models to explore extinction processes that operate on small and often fragmented populations of threatened taxa, and to examine the probable consequences for the viability of the population of various management actions or inactions. The models incorporate information on genetic and demographic characteristics of the population and on conditions in the environment to simulate probable fates (specially probability of extinction and loss of genetic variation) under these circumstances.
It also uses models to evaluate a range of scenarios for the populations under a variety of management (or non-management) regimes. As a result of the different scenarios modelled, it is possible to recommend Management Actions that maximize the probability of survival or recovery of the population.
The Management Actions May Include:
(a) Establishment, enlargement, or more management of protected areas.
(b) Poaching control.
(c) Reintroduction or translocation.
(e) Sustainable-use programmes.
(f) Educational efforts.
Thus PHVA provides an important resource for development of comprehensive conservation and recovery programmes for threatened taxa. Moreover, while the PHVA process commences with an initial workshop, the process normally continues in the light to the results reviewed and refined.
The process frequently entails one or more follow- up workshops. Since PHVA has an important step in the development of an overall recovery programme for a threatened taxa, it has been SSC policy to conduct the workshops in the area of all the species in question.
It also considers invitation of the appropriate wildlife agencies (those with management responsibility and authority).
PHVA normally considers one taxon (single species) at a time and single species is taken up at a time about which there is doubt, for whatever region, about its ability to sustain long-term survival. Its workshop analyses the degree of risk to the species using the information and expertise from a very wide range of participants from both in-situ and ex-situ professional communities as well as other related disciplines.
PHVA is becoming more and more effective. It has emerged as one of the very effective tools for evaluating species and habitat conservation needs and catalyzing specific management action towards reducing the probability of risk of species extinction.
(9) CAMP (Conservation Assessment & Management Plan):
As populations of many species of animals are reduced and fragmented in the wild, more “Intensive Management” has become necessary for their survival and recovery. This intensive – management includes, but it is not limited to, captive-breeding.
CAMP is needed to provide strategic guidance for application of intensive-management techniques to the threatened taxa.
It is conducted as collaborative ventures of particular animal Specialist Group and the CBSG.
The process undertaken in the CAMP workshop reviews both wild and captive status of all individuals (animals) in the taxonomic group under consideration. For this purpose, the process utilizes information from SSC Action Plans that may already have been formulated by the Animal Specialist Groups.
Where such Action Plans do not yet exist, the CAMP process produces an assessment of the status and prospects of the species so that Global Action Plans for both in-situ and ex-situ efforts can be formulated. Based on these assessments, CAMP comes out with a set of the recommendations about which individual animal groups are in need of what kind of intensive- management attention.
The kinds of attention include:
(a) Population and Habitat Viability Assessment and Conservation Management Plan (PHVA/CMP) workshops.
(b) Intensive (captive type) protection and management in the wild.
(c) In-situ and ex-situ research where the captive community can reasonably assist in taxonomic clarification, some survey support.
(d) Captive-propagation programmes that sooner or later could be linked to interactions with wild populations.
The CAMP process has also been provided with an opportunity to test the applicability of the Mace/Lande Criteria (Conservation Biology) for assessment of threat. The Mace/Lande Criteria are the proposed new IUCN Categories of Threat and are still under active development. The Criteria provide an estimate of the risk of extinction of particular species based on information about size, distribution, trend of their population as well as conditions of their habitat.
An important product of the CAMP process is a Global Captive Action Plan (G-CAP/CAP) which attempts to provide a strategic overview and framework for effective and efficient use of “captive resources” for conservation of the broad group of taxa of concern.
CAP also provides strategic guidance for captive-programmes at both the Global and Regional levels in terms of captive-breeding and also possible other support (technical, financial etc.) for in-situ conservation.
CAP provides recommendations such as:
1. What taxa are most in. need of captive-propagation and, hence,
2. Which taxa is captivity should remain there,
3. Which taxa not yet in captivity should no longer be maintained there.
For the taxa recommended for captivity, the CAP suggests an appropriate level of captive-programme required in terms of demographic and genetic goals and, hence, size of target population to be developed.
Ultimately, CAP will also recommend how responsibilities for captive-programmes might best be distributed among organized regions of the global-captive-community.
While captive-breeding programmes are emphasized in the CAP, the plans also attempt:
(a) To identify where and how the captive-community can assist with transfer of intensive-management information and technology.
(b) To developed priorities for the limited financial support, the captive-community can provide for in-situ conservation (i.e. adopt a sanctuary programmes etc.).
It is the intention of the SSC Steering Committee that, as far as possible, Captive Action Plans be incorporated into the overall Action Plans. The CAMP process obviously facilitates this objective. Action Plans have already published that a Captive Action Plan component should be omitted to continue process of development.
Thus, the CAMP & CAP process assembles the expert’s views on captive and wild management of the taxa under review. It provides for a rational means of assessing priorities for intensive-management including captive-breeding with the context of the broader conservation needs of threatened taxa.
Hence, CAMP aims to:
(i) Review the wild and captive status of each taxon in a defined broad group of taxa (i.e. an Order, Family, Sub-family, and Community).
(ii) Assess the degree of threat for each taxon.
(iii) Recommend “intensive management” and “information collection action” to mitigate the threat.
Thus, the CAMP provides:
(a) Resources for the development of IUCN, SSC and Action Plans.
(b) Strategic guide for intensive conservation action, and
(c) The first step in the Global Captive Action Plan process.
CAMP considers multiple taxa. In CAMP a broad group of living- beings, plants or animals (such as Felidae or Cervidae), a species (such as Crane or Hornbill) or an eco-taxa (such as Hawaiian Forest Birds) or an eco-system (such as a Particular Island) are evaluated. Based on their status and distribution in-situ, global priorities for intensive- conservation-management are considered.
At CAMP, it is possible to assess the direction needed for future programmes. If a species is thought to be very highly endangered, then another workshop such as PHVA might be recommended including intensive-captive programme.
If it is felt that the species is relatively safe, the recommendation might be that the species should not be in captivity at all. And further, there might even be a recommendation that the species should be phased out of captivity and the same space should be allocated to a more needy species.