Here is a compilation of essays on ‘Wildlife’ for class 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Wildlife’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Wildlife
- Essay on the Introduction to Wildlife
- Essay on Wildlife as Land-Use/Land-Use Planning/Multiple-Use Concept
- Essay on the Basic Requirements of Wildlife
- Essay on the Biotic and Abiotic Factors Affecting Wildlife
- Essay on the Importance of Wildlife
- Essay on the Conservation of Wildlife
1. Essay on the Introduction to Wildlife:
Wildlife comprises all living organisms (plants, animals, micro-organisms) in their natural habitats which are neither cultivated/domesticated nor tamed. But in its strictest sense, it includes uncultivated mammals, reptiles, birds and fishes etc. which are generally hunted.
In broad sense, wildlife includes whole fauna and flora found in wilderness zone (natural habitat).
According to Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL), 1970:
“Wildlife is the whole native and uncultivated fauna and flora of a particular country.”
According to Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972:
“Wildlife includes any animal, bees, butterflies, crustacea, fish and moths; and aquatic or land vegetation which form part of any habitat”.
In this definition, the word “animal” has come which according to the same Act means “Animals includes amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles and their young, and also includes in the cases of birds and reptiles, their eggs.”
Again in the same definition, the word “habitat” has come which according to the same Act means “Habitat includes land, water or vegetation which is the natural home of any wild animal.”
Again in the same Act “Wild animals” means “Any animal found wild in nature and includes any animal specified in Schedule I, II, III, IV or V wherever found”.
According to Indian Forest Records (1965) “Wildlife are living things that are neither human nor domesticated and are applied specially to mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes which are hunted.”
Hence, in broad sense, wildlife includes whole flora and fauna found in its natural habitat (wilderness zone) which embraces all living organisms. But in strict sense, it includes animal, birds, amphibians, mammals, reptiles, bees, butterflies, fish, their young and eggs and their habitat (i.e. land, water and vegetation which are their natural home).
But again in the strictest sense, wildlife includes mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes which are uncultivated (not domesticated, not tamed) and generally hunted.
2. Essay on Wildlife as Land-Use/Land-Use Planning/Multiple-Use Concept:
The present world, especially developing countries including India, is facing problems of over-population, poverty and illiteracy. There is tremendous growth in human population at a very fast pace and consequently causing depletion of natural resources day-by-day. The land and the natural resources are limited but the numbers of mouths to feed are going up and up.
Under such circumstances, it is really very difficult task to protect, propagate and strive for place to the wildlife. Thus, realizing the conditions of various sectors of our country particularly socio-economic life, the wildlife must be managed and guided by the efficient and intensive land-use concept.
We should propagate the wildlife through the concept of various ways by educating and motivating the public taking economical benefits from the wildlife, the renewable natural resources, for the common mass. This is possible through the concept of multiple-use of the land. Hence, multiple-use concept means that the resources not only keeping in only one use, should be utilized or used in multiple uses or directions so that maximum productions or benefits may be taken from it.
The soil is the most important resource of this earth. We cannot imagine life without it. If soil is used only for agriculture, horticulture and forestry, there will be only one type of production at a time; but if it is utilized for multiple-uses, we will get more than one production at a time.
For example, if in the lands suited for agricultural crops, the fast growing trees (forest crops) are planted on bunds (which remain vacant) then we will get fuel food, fodder for livestock, wood for agricultural implements, poles etc. in addition to the agricultural crops.
It along with this tree planting on bunds, some game birds like quails, partridge, and jungle fowl etc. which are harmless to the agricultural crops and live in agricultural fields are reared or left there; then after sometimes the villagers may be allowed to hunt them and taking fees. In this way; from agricultural fields, in addition to agricultural crops, benefits may be taken as fuel wood, fodder, wood timber, hunting etc. also.
The land is classified on the basis of the fertility and texture of the soil. On this very basis, the land is divided and distributed into various sectors such as agriculture, horticulture, forestry and so on for its proper utilization. The last type of land which is unfertile, degraded, marginal and which cannot be used for any other purpose should be merely earmarked for wildlife including forest.
Applying modern wildlife management techniques on such land, we can get benefits through tourism; trade in general and scientific field etc. and at the same time preservation and propagation of wildlife will also be achieved. Thus, it will serve the purposes of conservation of rare and threatened species, soil and water conservation, and enhancement of our economy up to a certain extent.
Since wildlife is also a kind of land-use as a renewable crop; soil, water, air etc. are needed for them. If this land-use is also kept separate like other land-uses (agriculture, horticulture etc.), there will be problem in meeting the land for them as land is limited and upon this the first priority is of agriculture to feed the human-beings (to solve food problems of mankind).
The lands which are not suitable for agriculture and horticulture, they are lastly used for forestry and wildlife. But when there is scarcity of agricultural/horticultural lands, wherefrom the land will come for wildlife. Under such circumstances; seeing the importance of wildlife, it may be linked with other land-uses in such a way that the revenue from the main land-use may be meeting and simultaneously the wildlife may also be conserved and propagated imparting benefits to the mankind.
Developed countries have already taken steps in this direction and wildlife is viewed as a land-use and most of the wildlife in these countries are seen in the individual farms, trade centres, national parks, sanctuaries and zoos. It shows the outlook of developed countries towards the wildlife. Similar sectors of economic activities in India can be identified in each area of the country depending upon land-use pattern.
The selection also depends upon the potential and type of wild fauna present in that particular area. For instance, breeding of suitable birds should be encouraged in certain area which should be closed for a certain period and then opened up so that people may be allowed hunting, if necessary, and government may get revenue. Similarly, trade may be dealt in silk, lac, feathers, wool, fats and oils, wild meat etc. if individual farms are set-up.
Along with main land-uses like the agriculture and forestry, wildlife as land-use may be linked as follows:
(i) In Forestry:
First of all; the forest should be divided as per the objectives such as protected forest, production forest, less productive and in the form of rivers and nallahs. Therefore, the forest area which is not so important from timber production point of view is very much important from wildlife management point of view and should be the main objective for wildlife in such area.
The forest area which is important for timber production point of view, wildlife management may be less important. But this area may also be managed which can meet the demands of wildlife propagation without hampering forest production.
(ii) In Agriculture:
In villages, there are some barren and degraded lands, village roads, rivers and nallahs which are not suitable for agricultural crops. In such areas, management should be done in such a way that it may suit for certain wildlife. Bushes may be grown in degraded and barren lands.
These will help as shelter for small wild animals, birds etc. as well as will provide fodder for livestock. In such areas, game birds like partridge, quails, jungle fowls etc. may be grown which will give revenue after some time by allowing hunting through paying fees. Apart from this, pisciculture may also be developed in ponds of the villages to get handsome revenue.
Hence, in our country, there is ample chance to link wildlife as land-use with the other land-uses on the basis of the multiple-use concept by understanding wildlife as important land-use for nature, environment, eco-balance and ultimately human-life.
It involves a challenging task of wildlife resource mobilization, efficient land-use and integration of wildlife economics with the basic planning objectives. This prospective should form a part of our overall developmental strategy so that we can save, preserve, conserve and propagate our remaining national valuable wildlife heritage up to the mark.
In nutshell, it can be said that we must divide the land into several categories depending upon the quality of land and its uses for various purposes such as agriculture, horticulture, forestry etc. The land; which is unfertile, degraded and where the land cannot be used otherwise for any other purpose should be exclusively utilized for wildlife.
By applying modern management techniques, we can get economical profit from such kinds of lands by promoting tourism, scientific trade and other related business. It will serve the twin purposes like conservation of rare and threatened species as well as conservation of soil and water, and thus dragging our economy towards-prosperity.
Overall; in our country, there is urgent need of different sectors/departments like forestry, agriculture, veterinary, watershed management, fishery etc. to be interlinked in order to come together and work in full collaboration for finalizing and suggesting the proper utility and suitability of the particular piece of land so that each and every piece of land may be utilized in proper way to avoid future anomalies or complications and in getting balance in every walk of human life.
3. Essay on the Basic Requirements of Wildlife:
Food is the most important basic requirement to get energy and subsequently for proper growth, breeding, propagation and other metabolic-activities. The green plants manufacture their food by own by the process of photosynthesis and, thus, called as autotrophs.
The animal-communities do not have such type of mechanism and, thus, have to depend upon others called as heterotrophs. In this respect, the consumers like herbivorous animals depend upon plants (producers) deriving food-energy from them and, in turn, carnivores ultimately trap their food and energy from them, in this way, food-chain and food-web have been formed and ecological-balance is maintained.
Though, each animal requires nutritive elements but the food requirements of all the animals are not alike. The different species are differently adopted for their food as per their environment or habitat and, thus, have different kinds of food-habits to suit in a particular environment. That’s why; some foods are edible while others are non-edible.
A particular food may be edible for a particular species whereas it may be non-edible for others. Therefore, quality and quantity of food available in the habitat affects a lotto the number and status of the wild animals. Hence, the assessment of characteristics, quality, quantity and status of the vegetation available in the habitat and its improvement is an important and primary stage of wildlife management.
The necessity of food may be divided into two categories:
(a) Physiological Need:
Some animals fulfill their required nutrients by eating the plants itself; while in some animals, like ruminants, it is synthesized by certain bacteria etc. found in their digestive tract which make it available in useful forms of elements for the body. In some special period, such as in pregnancy and milking period, the females require more food or some special food than the normal period for proper growth of the fetus and young ones.
(b) Psychological Need:
As per food-habit, there is adaptation in the digestive system of the species and they prefer the food in that manner. For example, herbivores become instinct towards vegetarian food while carnivores towards non-vegetarian food. Deer become tempted to see grasses whereas tigers will not.
For the sustenance of life, the animals consume different types of food in the variable seasons and in this way their food-choice may be said as primary, secondary and so on.
Thus, the food may be categorized in the following kinds:
(i) Preferred Food:
The most tasteful and liked food is called preferred-food of the species.
(ii) Staple Food:
After preferred-food, the staple-food comes in the series. Generally, this food is important for the living of the animal being available for long time.
(iii) Emergency Food:
When there is scarcity of staple food, the species depends upon certain food which is neither so tasteful nor nutritive and called as emergency-food. Such food cannot sustain the animal for a long period because it induces malnutrition.
(iv) Stuffing Food:
The food which is totally non-nutritive and is consumed by the animal only to fulfill its stomach is called stuffing-food. Such food is taken in by the animals when there is no alternative.
(v) Miscellaneous Food:
Sometimes, certain animals take unusual food which is not in their habit. For example, sometimes bark eaten by sambhar and cheetal, grass by tiger (as found in its pellet sometimes) etc.
The period in which the food is not sufficiently available and causes trouble to the animal, is called pinch-period. This period may be for other basic requirements also such as water etc. The period varies as per the habitat, climate, country etc. The management part is very essential and plays important role for such period.
Selection of food by the animals depends upon the following factors:
The selection of food by the animal depends upon the season and period of the habitat, it depends upon the fact that in which season or period, which type of food is available, and how much labour is to be done to procure it by the animal; because season is responsible for the availability and quantity of the food in a particular habitat.
Hence; the food, which is easily and sufficiently found in a season, is consumed in enough quantity by the animal. It can be said that plenty of food is directly related with its consumption.
Palatability of food for animal is related with its taste, easy availability and digestibility etc.
Physiological regions is also responsible in the selection of food as per need of the animal.
Since its evolution and habit, the animal selects its food accordingly as it is capable of digestion as well as has habitual instinct for such food.
Hence; by considering all these situations, it can be said that the quantity and quality of food serve a lot in the survival and propagation of the animals. For their survival, different kinds of animals take different kinds of food as per their adapted habit and habitat.
For example; some species survive by eating seeds of the plants which is very nutritive while some are living on grasses and leaves of the trees, some are habituated on dry grasses and leaves, some take tender leaves and grass while some prefer hard grasses and so on. Some are grazers whereas some are browsers.
All these depend upon the condition of the habitat and adaptations of the animals. Climate, soil and other natural as well as biotic-factors are responsible for outcome of the condition of the habitat to which the animal adapts it accordingly.
The aquatic animals have developed various adaptations morphologically as well as physiologically, terrestrial animals have also modified and adapted themselves to suit their living environment and the desert animals have likewise adaptations in all means to conserves water and reducing the loss of water less and less for their survival.
In each and every type of environment and habitat, the animals are having adaptations to be suited and survive nicely. Selection of food, its quality and quantity, palatability etc.; all these depend upon the conditions and adaptations of the habitat and the species concerned respectively.
Water is another basic requirement of the wild animals. It varies with food, weather, environment, habitat and the animal’s ability to conserve it. Since water is essential for metabolic activities, it is required up to a certain extent by the animals for their survival, growth and propagation. All animals preserve metabolic water.
The desert animals conserve water to exist indefinitely on metabolic water and for this they have various adaptations in their morphology as well as physiology. Water conservation is also provided for by habits; such as the nocturnal or burrowing habit that escapes from diurnal heat and low humidity by the adaptations like possession of chitin, scales as the morphological protection and excretion of dry faeces as physiological adaptations.
Thus, the necessity of water is different in different types of animals. The size of the waterholes is not so important for wildlife rather its proper distribution in the entire habitat throughout the year is very important. Its spatial-distribution and availability with sufficient numbers have great importance for the survival and propagation of the animals.
If the number of waterholes is very few, there will be crowd and pressure of the animals around it and hard competition will arise for the survival and will not be utilized properly by them.
On the other hand, if it is properly distributed throughout the area, it will sustain the total animals as per the carrying-capacity. Therefore, management of water sources or waterholes plays an important role in the field of wildlife management.
The place or area which gives protection and serves other biological needs of the species is known as shelter.
It can be divided into:
(a) Cover and
Covers are those vegetation or plants which save the animals from causal-factors and provide safety, resting, shade as well as protecting from adverse environmental-effects.
The cover can be classified as:
(i) Escape Cover:
Where, the wild animals escape themselves to protect from predators or hunters. Its shape and size depends upon the size of the animals.
(ii) Nesting Cover (Breeding-Cover):
Here the birds hide themselves for breeding, laying and nursing the eggs. Likewise, the larger animals also require such cover to deliver the litters. Its size and shape also depend upon the size and requirements of the animals.
(iii) Shelter Cover:
It is that cover which protects the animals from the problematic season etc. It may be bushes or the trees in accordance with the size of the animals.
(iv) Roosting Cover (Resting-Cover):
The cover under which, shade the animals take rest after taking the food and use as perch. This may be bush, tree or cave.
There should be sufficient space for living of the animals. Therefore, space is the important characteristic of the habitat. Without it, the animals cannot survive. Space is multi-dimensional. It is not only horizontal, but also includes vertical dimension. The horizontal dimension requires sufficient space as per the need of the animals like home-range, territory etc.
In vertical dimension in any field, the wild animals are living in six-seven levels such as at the peak height vulture etc. fly; then eagle, crows etc.; then other birds fly and live on the trees; below them some birds and animals like small birds, squirrels, monkeys etc. live on the branches of the trees; just above the ground, some animals dwell in the bushes and grasses; on the ground, the terrestrial animals like small and large mammals roam; and lastly inside the soil, wild soil-dwelling animals live.
In lack of sufficient space, the animals come under stress and there is crowd in the habitat and ultimately leading towards the diseases, casualty, hampering in courtship and mating, improper supply of food, water and so on.
Hence, proper management of the habitat is to provide proper and sufficient basic requirements of the animals (food, water and shelter) as per the carrying-capacity is the most essential and important primary objective of wildlife management.
4. Essay on the Biotic and Abiotic Factors Affecting Wildlife:
The ecosystem is the outcome of two components viz. biotic and abiotic factors. Therefore, the ecological factors are falling under two categories such as biotic or living factors and abiotic or physical factors.
In the context of wildlife, it can be dealt as follows:-
Biotic Factors or Living Factors:
It includes living organisms such as plants and animals as well as other forms of life. These factors are the resultant of the interactions and interrelations of the same species (intraspecific) or different-species (interspecific) because, in the ecosystem, all organisms are interlinked and interdependent on each other and none can live alone or in isolation for getting their basic needs like food, water and shelter and protection.
Not only this, but the animals of one species are related or dependent upon the animals of the same species and vice-versa. Such interdependency exists without considering kind and size, such as big animals or plants are associated with small insects or parasites. Such association is intraspecific (between same species) and interspecific (between different species).
The interspecific relationship is further divided into:
ii. Mutualism (Neutralism),
v. Predation etc.
Abiotic Factors or Physical Factors:
Broadly, the physical factors which has affected and affecting the fauna and flora of an ecosystem can be divided into two parts viz. Medium and Climate. Mainly there are six media where animals and plants live which soil, light, temperature, water, air and parasite are living in or on the body of other organism (host).
Here, we will discuss about soil, light, temperature and water in detail:
The soil, which is formed by weathering of rocks associated with organic matter and the living organisms, is the most essential medium for the survival of plants and animals. It contains various types of nutrients, minerals, water and gases and support for the plants (producers).
Thus, it is essential for the sustenance of any form of life. The dead part of the organism is decayed and transformed by the decomposers dwelling in the soil and contribute also in the soil- formation particularly humus and continue the energy-nutrient-cycle also.
The vigour and hygiene of health of the wild animal depends upon the presence and absence of the minerals in the soil. The mineral-rich soil supports more wildlife than poorly aerated and acidic soil. The animal develops in the particular soil containing materials needed for it; for example, snails are found in the soil which is enriched in calcium required for their shell formation.
That’s why; flora and fauna are different in different types of soil. The soil which is slightly acidic or neutral is generally well-suited for most of the plants and animals. Therefore, status and kinds of wildlife has direct relationship with the soil-condition of an area or habitat.
On good soil, vegetation is luxuriant and nutritious resulting good size and number of the herbivores and subsequently optimum number of carnivores are found there establishing dynamic and viable ecosystem maintaining proper food-chain. Any deterioration, naturally or artificially, changes the characteristics of the soil leading the change in food, shelter and status of wildlife in reverse direction.
Light is also an important factor in influencing growth, behaviour and distribution of flora and fauna. The most important work in this field is the phenomenon of photosynthesis. The green plants (producers/ autotrophs) trap sunlight and act as factory for producing food materials maintaining food-chain of the ecosystem.
The amount of light received by an organism depends upon the intensity and duration of light. The duration of light to which an organism is exposed to receive, is called as photoperiodism.
The effect of light controls various activities of wild animals such as:
(i) Effect on Metabolism:
The intensity of light effects the metabolic rate of the animals resulting the phenomenon like hibernation, aestivation and diapause in certain species like amphibians, reptiles, insects etc. as per the intensity of light in the different seasons.
(ii) Effect on Growth:
Since there is relation between metabolism and growth, the light influences the growth of the animal as per the rate of the metabolic activities. For the growth of plants, light is very essential while certain animals may die or survive in presence or absence of light.
(iii) Effect on Reproduction:
In certain animals, especially birds and mammals, gonads and ultimately reproduction are stimulated by light. To the, intensity or illumination of light, different kinds of animals response in different ways. Sexual activities, migration etc. depend upon the duration of light in certain animals and thus their breeding seasons are also different. Likewise, plants are also effected by the relative length of day light.
(iv) Effect of Photoperiodism:
The length of day and night light affects reproduction, behaviour, migration, hibernation, and aestivation etc. of the animals. Hence, photoperiodism influences the various activities of the animals. Perhaps, the sense organs are stimulated by the photoperiodism and required physiological changes occur in the animals to response to the desired performance.
(v) Other Effects:
Light is also responsible for changing the colour of the skin of certain animals. Mimicry is the example of that which is a kind of protective measure to suit in the environment. Eyes of certain deep water aquatic animals are enlarged while nocturnal animals, as in owls, have enlarged eyes to see in night. In certain lower animals, locomotion is influenced by light known as photokinesis. Butterflies move in day period while moths in the night.
Temperature is also one of the important factors controlling distribution and behaviour of the animals. Like light, it also controls the various activities of the animals like reproduction, embryonic development, migration, diapause and other metabolic activities. The temperature at which the body activities, physiological and metabolic, are at maximum is called as Optimum-temperature.
As per the capacity of tolerance of temperature by the animals, they are of following types:-
The animals, which can tolerate, wide range of temperature such as mammals etc.
The animals which can tolerate narrow range of temperature like Pisces, snakes etc.
(iii) Poikilothermic or Cold-Blooded:
The animals, whose body temperature varies/fluctuates with the changes in temperature of the environment such as pieces, amphibians, reptiles etc.
(iv) Homoiothermic or Warm-Blooded:
The animals whose body temperature do not fluctuate with the changes in temperature of the environment and are able to regulate and maintain the body temperature at a constant level like birds and mammals.
The effects of temperature upon the animals are as follows:
(a) Effect on Metabolism:
Temperature influences metabolism of the animals by influencing the enzymatic-activities of the body. Increase or decrease of temperature, up to a certain limits, increases and decreases enzymatic-activities and subsequently the metabolism of the animals.
(b) Effect on Reproduction:
Like other factors, temperature also affects the activities and behaviour or reproduction of the animals. It also controls or induces sex-cells maturation and their liberation in certain animals. The outbreak of grasshopper, sex-ratio of rotifers, and production of fertilized and unfertilized eggs in daphnia is governed by the temperature or period of temperature.
(c) Effects on Growth:
Growth and development of animals are also effected and controlled by the temperature. It affects them at the different stages of their life-cycle.
(d) Effects on Distribution:
Specially cold-blooded and warm blooded animal’s distributions are related with the temperature. The animals having narrow range of tolerance of temperature are restricted to the specific areas only, whereas the animals having greater range of tolerance of temperature are widely distributed.
(e) Effect on Structure and Behaviour:
Temperature is also responsible for animal’s structure and their behaviour such as the animals living in colder region has more life span than the warmer areas.
There are certain theories in this regard like:
(i) Bergmann’s Rule:
According to this, the animals living in cold region are much larger than the warmer region. For example, the largest polar bears are found in far north in cold climate whereas the smaller black bears are living in warmer climate.
Furthermore; it is well known that of a given species, the races which inhabit desert areas are always pale or sandy-coloured whereas those living under the influence of heavy rainfall, in well-wooded or humid tracts, tend to be darker in colouration. It is assumed that the reduced force of ultraviolet rays due to water vapour suspended in the air may account for the darkening.
(ii) Gloger’s Rule:
The rule says that the temperature together with light and moisture governs the colour of many animals. In warm humid climate, majority of birds and mammals are darker than the animals living in cold or dry climate.
(iii) Jordan’s Rule:
Temperature has apparent control on the number of vertebrae in certain species of fishes. The fishes living in low water temperature have more vertebrae than those living in warm water as found in cool-fish.
(iv) Allen’s Rule:
As per this rule; the tail, neck and other external parts of the animals living in colder parts are compact as well as shorter in comparison with the animals living in warmer parts. For example, the ear sizes of three different species of fox (Arctic fox, Red fox and Desert fox) have different sizes of the pinna.
Their ear-sizes (pinna) are found increasing from arctic to desert fox. Arctic fox has smallest ear-size, Red-fox has bigger and Desert fox has the biggest size. It is assumed that the shorter ear-size will reduce the area of exposure and, thus, help in reduction in loss of heat from the body.
We know that water plays an important role in the existence of the living organisms and comes under basic need of the animals for all types of metabolic-reactions of the body. Even various animals have adopted for aquatic-life (fresh water or salt water). The animals which can tolerate narrow fluctuation of the salt-concentration are called as stenohaline and which can tolerate wide range is called as euryhaline.
Of course; all the animals, whether aquatic or terrestrial, require water. On the hand, there are various aquatic-adaptations in aquatic animals; on the other hand, there are various adaptive-features to conserve water in the animals living in dry and desert places. For such particular mode of life; animals have developed morphological, anatomical and physiological adaptations.
Thus, water acts as a limiting-factor for the animals living in any ecosystem. Any factor, which approaches or exceeds the limits of tolerance, is said to be limiting-factor. If in a particular habitat, the scarcity of food, water or shelter arises at any stage or time then it is called the limiting-factor for that particular thing of that habitat.
For example; the scarcity of food will be limiting-factor for food, scarcity of water will be limiting-factor for water and likewise scarcity of shelter will be the limiting-factor for shelter and soon. The period in which limiting-factor – arises is called as pinch-period. In case of aquatic animals, oxygen acts as a limiting-factor because it is in scarce in water but the same is not as a limiting-factor for the terrestrial animals where it is in abundance.
The distribution of water also determines the carrying-capacity of a habitat. By creating more waterholes in an area, carrying-capacity can be enhanced. The wildlife is more concentrated at the watery areas.
Besides this, relative-humidity also determines the occurrence of specific vegetation as well as distribution and availability of the animals. It is clear that the animals depend upon the vegetation for food and the vegetation is dependent upon the water and its distribution.
Hence; the ecological factors, abiotic and biotic, act as limiting- factors with respect to that organism. It is the established fact that the amount of a substance below or above the certain limits may also limit the abundance or distribution of a species. For example, carbon-dioxide is necessary for growth of green plants through photosynthesis.
Small increase in its concentration increases the rate of plant growth; but if the concentration is increased significantly, it becomes toxic. Sheldford (1913) postulated the theory called as “Law of Tolerance”. According to him, all environmental-factors have a tolerable limit, the critical- minimum and critical-maximum.
The range between the critical- minimum and critical-maximum is known as “Limit of Tolerance”. If for a particular species, the tolerance exceeds its limit, the species will disappear from that particular area, as long as such condition exists. But, before this range is crossed on either sides and the limits of tolerance are reached, there is stress upon the animals and called as “Zone of Physiological Stress.”
Generally, it is difficult to identify a single limiting- factor because presence and absence of an organism or a group of organisms in an ecosystem depends upon a complex of factors and entire complex of conditions involved.
Therefore, the approach towards the limiting-factor should cover all the aspects of ecosystem and a single species approach may not be helpful in proper understanding of the various interactions in population, factors, habitat etc. For wildlife management, we should follow wholestic concept of the ecosystem.
5. Essay on the Importance of Wildlife:
If we view wildlife from close quarters and juxtapose our observations and all the major disciplines, we simply cannot believe how important wildlife is.
We may nail down the following cardinal points:
(i) Ecological Balance:
Wildlife maintains nonetheless balance of nature through:
(a) Regulation of population of different species by self-regulation and feedback,
(b) Food-chains or passage of food and energy through series of populations comprising producers, consumers and micro-organisms, and
(c) Natural cycles or circulation of inorganic nutrients between biotic and abiotic environments, prevention of leaching and run-off.
Thus it preserves the environment as a self-sustaining system. It balances population and maintains food-chains and natural-cycles.
(ii) Gene Bank:
The most direct relationship of preservation of wildlife to human progress is its significance as gene banks for breeding programmes in agricultural, animal husbandry and fishery. Wildlife serves as a gene banks for breeding improved varieties in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery.
Plant and animal breeders have been able to produce high-yielding and disease-and-stress resistant varieties which form the backbone of modern agriculture. Average life of a crop variety is 5-15 years.
More application of fertilizers, irrigation and pesticides cannot raise production unless a variety of a crop or of an animal has the genetic potentiality to respond to improved inputs. To develop such varieties, a very wide range of plants or animals has to be screened and selected.
Scientists have been constantly examining the wild relatives of crop plants for the presence of useful genes that can be introduced to breeding programmes. Hence, gene- bank maintenance is essential.
Let us see how this point has held well in practice:
(i) Some old rice varieties from Kerala saved rice cultivation when Nilaparvata lugens (Brown Plant Hopper) attacked all modern rice varieties.
(ii) Wild rice (Oryza nivara) provided the resistance to the grassy stunt virus which has threatened rice cultivation in 1970’s. It was incorporated in IR-36 by Dr. Khush and others.
(iii) In potatoes, resistance to late blight has been incorporated from Solanum demissum, mosaic virus and leaf roll virus from Solanum acaule, mosaic virus Y from Solanum stoloniferum damping-off and nematodes from Solanum spegazzini.
The production of high-yielding, disease-resistant crops, livestock and fish cannot continue without the wild relatives of the cultivated varieties. This is because of pests and pathogens evolve new strains; climates change; soils vary; and consumers’ demands change with time. Since the average life of a crop variety is only 5-15 years, new varieties are constantly being produced to meet the changing demands.
We cannot predict which species become useful to us in the future. With increasing knowledge and skills, man is busy finding new uses for the traditionally used species. If penicillium had been eliminated from the earth before man could discover its antibiotic properties or Cinchona had become extinct from Peru before quinine was discovered, some of the severest infectious diseases would have continued to savage the world.
Man is the only species who has widely used the hidden values of a wide range of species around him. He is aware that the rich diversity of organisms today is the product of natural evolution stretching unbroken through 3.5 billion years.
A species once lost cannot be retrieved. Therefore, it would be unethical to be responsible for the destruction of a species. We have an evolutionary responsibility to conserve biological diversity for our descendants.
(iii) Plant Propagation:
Pollination in certain plants is performed by wild animals like birds; insects etc., and thus help in plants propagation, which is very essential.
(iv) Cleaning of Environment:
Scavengers and decomposers wild animals (like vultures, eagles, jackals, hyaenas etc.) as well as micro-organisms, which feed upon dead animals, convert them into different nutrients and release energy back to the nature increasing fertility of the soil. They do very important work of cleaning the environment; otherwise what the fate of this planet will be, can be assumed.
(v) Scientific Importance:
For research purposes and studies of anatomy, physiology, ecology, evolutionary aspects; wild animals are used, which help in saving human life.
(vi) Soil Erosion:
It is prevented by plant cover, litter, mixing of litter by movement of wild animals and conversion to spongy humus by micro-organisms.
(vii) Experimental Animals:
Monkeys, Rabbits, Guinea-pigs, Rats etc.
(viii) Economic Importance:
Timber, firewood, paper, gum, resins, tannins, several drugs, essential oils, spices, lac, silk, honey, hair, feathers, guano (the dung of sea-fishes used as manure or the manure made from fish), leather, musk, ivory etc. are obtained from wildlife.
Besides these, benefits are also obtained from:
iii) Hunting of surplus stock
iv) Procurement of food materials
v) Hide, ivory etc. after death of wild animals; though now-a-days it is legally banned and not in practices.
(ix) Potential Uses:
Just as all present day cultivated/domesticated plants and animals are derived from wildlife; new foods, beverages (A beverage is a type of plant product used by everyone daily which contains an alkaloid called caffeine having the stimulative action in the human body; e.g., tea, coffee, cocoa etc. It is also fragmented product of the plant), drugs and other useful products may be obtained in future from wildlife.
6. Essay on the Conservation of Wildlife:
India is rich in biodiversity including the wildlife. Its wildlife includes rare animals like the lion in Gir forests of Gujarat, elephants in Kerala and Assam jungles, rhinoceros is found in Assam and northern West Bengal. The Bengal tiger of Sunderbans is really ferocious to look at. Rewa in Madhya Pradesh is known for the White tigers. Gaur or Indian bison is another big animal common in Central parts of India.
The Rann of Kutch has the wild ass. Rajasthan has cranes and Indian bustard. The country has a large species of deer and antelope. It has crocodiles and gharials in rivers and salt water. There is a large variety of monkeys, snakes and other reptiles. Tortoises are also very common. Besides these animals, it has very large varieties of birds and fishes. Tiger is our National Animal and Peacock is our National Bird.
Many of these species have become rare. Some are almost on the way to extinction. With growing population, forests are recklessly cut down. The hunger for cultivated land, for building, big dams and hydel power projects has snatched the homeland of wild animals. Many people kill them for fun of hunting. Indian Cheetah and other so many animals have become extinct (in recent years).
It is high time that we give up our arrogance and carelessness towards the wildlife. The Government has setup several sanctuaries, national parks, projects etc. Hunting of animals is prohibited so that they may thrive in peace. Such sanctuaries and national parks have now become centres of tourists’ interest. They are a source of income and employment to a large number of people, serving domestic and international tourists.
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.
It is scientific management of wildlife so as to maintain it at its optimum level and derive sustainable benefit for the present as well as future generations. The conservation of wildlife is directly related to healthy and better forests. Wildlife conservation includes protection, preservation, perpetuation of rare species of plants and animals in their natural habitats.
Conservation of living resources has three specific objectives:-
(i) To maintain essential ecological processes and lite-supporting systems.
(ii) To preserve the diversity of species or the range of genetic material found in the world’s organisms.
(iii) To ensure sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems which support millions of rural communities as well as major industries. Thus, conservation of living resources is a complex operation which is specifically concerned with plants, animals and the microorganisms; and with those non-living elements of the environment on which they depend.
Wildlife conservation as well as its propagation through the proper management techniques is a must. Sanctuaries, national parks, biosphere reserves, projects etc. have been created for exclusively protecting the wild flora and fauna in all parts of the world as a part of broad wildlife management prospective.
Scientists representing 100 countries of the world have evolved a comprehensive “World Conservation Strategies” (national and international conservation strategies) for the judicious use of resources.
Some of the steps proposed to save the existing species of the wildlife are as follows:-
(i) All efforts should be made to preserve the species that are endangered throughout the range. The species that are sole representative of their family or genus should receive special attention. An endangered species should be given priority over vulnerable one, a vulnerable species over a rare one and a rare species over other categories.
All the threatened species is protected. Priority is given belonging to monotypic genera, endangered over vulnerable, vulnerable over rare and rare over other species.
(ii) Prevention of extinction requires sound planning and management of land and water uses. The wildlife should be protected both in their natural habitat (in situ) and in zoo and botanical gardens (ex situ).
The threatened species be provided with both in situ conservation (under natural habitat in forest/national park/sanctuary/biosphere reserve) and ex situ conservation (in zoo/botanical garden/biological garden/arboureta/channelling into trade).
(iii) As many varieties as possible of food crops, forage plants, timber trees, livestock, animals for aquaculture, and their wild relatives and microbes should be preserved. Priority should be given to those varieties that are most threatened and are most needed for national and international breeding programmes.
All the possible varieties, old or new of food, forage and timber plants, livestock, aquaculture animals and microbes are conserved.
(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 (sanctuaries, national parks, and biosphere reserves).
Wild relatives of all the economically important organisms be identified and conserved in protected areas.
(v) The critical habitats (the feeding, breeding, nursery and resting areas) of the species should be safeguarded.
(vi) In case of migratory or wide-ranging animals, a network of protected areas should be established to preserve the habitat of the species.
Resting/feeding places of migratory/wide-ranging animals are protected.
(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 migration routes should also be regulated.
For migratory/wide-ranging animals, pollution and exploitation should be controlled. Bilateral and multilateral agreements be made where required.
(viii) Unique eco-system should be protected as a matter of priority. Only those uses which are compatible with their preservation should be permitted.
The national protection programmes have to be coordinated with the international programmes, particularly the biosphere reserve (unique ecosystem) programme of the UNESCO’S Man and the Biosphere Project and National Parks and Protected Areas of International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
The international network of biosphere reserve programme aims to conserve and use the diversity and integrity of plant and animal communities for the present and the future within natural ecosystem. This would safeguard the genetic diversity of species and their continuing evolution.
National Wild Life (Protection) Act, enacted in India in 1972. Wildlife protection strategies formulated in India in 1983 and protection programmes integrated with international programmes. Wildlife Institute of India was located at Dehradun, Uttaranchal. Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL) was established in 1952.
Unique ecosystem is preserved on priority basis.
(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. Industries, communities and countries that are over-exploiting the living resources they depend on, should be convinced that they would be better off if utilization is kept at a sustainable level.
The reproductive capacity of the exploited species and productivity of the ecosystem be determined. Exploitation should not exceed the same.
(x) International trade in wild plants and animals has to be regulated to appropriate legislative and administrative measures. International trade in wildlife should be highly regulated.
India is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
Our late Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi addressed in her inaugural speech of World Conservation Strategy in 1980 – “The interest in conservation is not sentimental one but the rediscovery of a truth well-known to our ancient sages. The Indian tradition teaches us that all forms of life – human, animal and plant – are so closely interlinked that disturbance in one gives rise to imbalance in the other. Nature is beautifully balanced. Each little thing has its own place, its duty and special utility. Any disturbance creates a chain reaction which may not be visible for some time. Taking a fragmentary view of life has created global and national problems.”
Protected Areas in India:
India is richly endowed with various bio-geographical provinces, ranging from the cold deserts of Ladakh and Spiti to the hot deserts of the Thar; the temperate forests in the Himalayas to the lush green tropical rain forests of the low lands. India is also endowed with large fresh water bodies such as the Wular and the Manasbal lakes in Kashmir, the Chilka in Orissa and the Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh and the rugged and rich coastline and coral reefs of the Deccan.
To protect, preserve and propagate these varied natural bounties; the Government of India passed Wild Life (Protection) Act in 1972 under which national parks and sanctuaries could be created. Creation of biosphere reserves has also been put into practice since 1986.
Protected Areas are ecological/bio-geographical area where wildlife is conserved by maintaining habitats, natural resources and preventing poaching. They are delimited to protect biological diversity, i.e. cold desert (Ladakh and Spiti) hot desert (Thar), Wetland (Assam and N.E. States), saline swampy areas (Sunderbans, Rann of Kutch), mangroves, temperate forests, subtropical forests, tropical forests, tropical wet evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forests, tropical dry deciduous forests, tropical thorn, coral reef etc.
Protected Areas include:
a. National parks,
b. Sanctuaries and
c. Biosphere reserves.
a. National Parks:
They are areas which are strictly reserved for the betterment of the wildlife. They are the areas maintained by government and reserved for improvement of wildlife. Cultivation, grazing, forestry-operation and habitat-manipulation are not allowed.
In a sanctuary, protection is given only to the fauna and operations such as harvesting of timber, collection of MFP and private ownership rights are permitted so long as they do not interfere with the well-being of animals.
They are tracts of land where wild animals/fauna can take refuge without being hunted. Other activities like collection of forest products, harvesting of timber, private ownership of land, tilling of land etc. are allowed.
c. Biosphere Reserves:
During the past few decades, the concept of biosphere reserves has been evolved by the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) of the UNESCO.
India has identified 14 areas to be declared as Biosphere Reserves. Of this Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve including parts of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu was declared in 1986.
In a biosphere reserve, multiple land use is permitted by designating various zones. There is the Core Zone (where no human activity is permitted), the Buffer Zone (where limited human activity is allowed) and the Manipulation Zone (where a large number of human activities would go on). In a biosphere reserve, wild population as well as traditional life styles of tribals and varied domesticated plant and animal genetic resources is protected.
Biosphere Reserves are multipurpose protected areas which are meant for preserving genetic diversities in representative ecosystems by protecting wild populations, traditional life style of tribals and domesticated plant/animal genetic resources. There are some 243 biosphere reserves in 65 countries of the world. In India 14 potential sites were identified in 1979 by Core Advisory Group but only 12 biosphere reserves have been set up by now.
Each biosphere reserve has a:
(a) Core Zone: No human activity is allowed.
(b) Buffer Zone: Limited human activity is permitted.
(c) Manipulation Zone: Human activity is allowed but ecology is not permitted to be disturbed.
(d) Restoration Zone: Degraded area for restoration to near natural form.
National parks, sanctuaries and biosphere reserves would be the last refuse (shelter) for wild plants and animals in the coming years.
There are several organizations engaged in conservation of wildlife at national and international levels.
Some of them are mentioned below:
(i) International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
(ii) Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB Programme).
(iii) United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
(iv) Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).
(v) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
(vi) Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
(vii) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
(viii) Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL).
(ix) Wildlife Preservation Society of India (WPSI).
(x) Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, India (CAZRI).
(xi) Crocodile Breeding and Management Training Research Institute (CBMTRI).
(xii) Tiger Conservation Society (TCS).
(xiii) Zoological Survey of World (ZSW).
(xiv) Botanical Survey of World (BSW).
(xv) Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
(xvi) Botanical Survey of India (BSI).
(xvii) International Council for Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN).
(xviii) International Council for Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN).
(xix) Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
(xx) Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun (WII).
(xxi) Global Tiger Forum (GTF).