Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Inauguration of Wildlife Week ,2014(October1 to October 7,2014)

On October1,2014(Wednesday), the forest department of government of Uttar Pradesh  began the celebration of Wlidlife Week  .The event was held in Lucknow .The Keynote  speaker was Dr Sejal Bora from WWF , India .The two Ministers of state ,UP,Dr S P Yadav  and Sri Kidwai , were the Chairman and Chief guest respectively.I was present as Principal Secretary , Forests and Environment ,UP. The audience  comprised forest officials , NGOs, Students and media persons.Here is briefly , what I spoke.:
 Wildlife is an international resource and has environmental and economic consequences.Further there is a balance of species in each Eco-system.Both the absolute numbers as well as the balance needs to be maintained in a sustainable manner.But wildlife population is sadly declining .For example , there were about 100 thousand tigers in the world in 1900 , and in about 100 years , their number has declined to mere 3000.(3%).The wildlife population is declining.Between 1970 and 2010,the world wildlife populations fell by 52%, overall.Not only that ,rate of population decline is increasing every year(WWF,Geneva).This is a matter of grave concern.
                          Seven factors have been identified as threats to wildlife.These are:
1.Exploitation through hunting , fishing and poaching:37%
2.Habitat degradation, fragmentation: ......................   :31.4%
3.Habitat loss , destruction          ..                           ...  .13.4%
4.Climate change     . ...................................................  7.1%
5.Invasive Species .. .................................................... ..5.1%
6. Pollution . . .                                         .................... ..4.0%
7 .Diseases  . ... .............................................................. 2.0%
                                                     Total . .. .. ..................100%
Ecological footprints or consumption and wastage of resources , country wise as a percentage of global footprints are as below:
1.China:19%
2.USA :13.7%
3.India: 7.1%
4.Russia :3.7%
5.Brazil :3.7%
6.Rest of the world:52.8%
 We need to have  multipronged strategy ,to ensure conservation of wild animals:
1.Develop sustainably ,in harmony with nature.
2.Enforce Wildlife Protection Act,1972.
3.Adopt sound wildlife management of reserves,sanctuaries and National Parks.
4.Have special projects like Project Tiger, Project Elephant , related to endangered species.
5.We need to protect our wetlands.
6.To control global trade in wildlife ,we have signed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(CITES).We need to enforce its provisions.We need to enforce anti-poaching measures.
7.We need to develop awareness through Eco-tourism and other events.We need to implement Eco-tourism policy.We need to upgrade  green infrastructure in places which are important from Eco-tourism viewpoint.
8.We need to financially assist the families whose members were killed or wounded by wild animals.We need to also assist them if their crops are damaged by wild animals.The idea is to make them less hostile towards wild animals.
9.We need to prevent illicit felling of trees from forests.
10.We need to regulate indiscriminate exploitation of ground water.
11.We must control pollution.
12.We need to employ scientific methods and technology in conducting census of wild animals.
13.We need to identify, study and catalogues all animal species.
14.To track and capture wild animals which stray into human settlements,we need to use more and more equipment and technology , and train officials in their use.
15.Scientific and modern  management of Zoos and safaris as per internationally accepted management practices.
16.We need to train and orient our forest officials and also the community in wildlife conservation.
                              In Uttar Pradesh , state government  initiated action on most of these  points.We have declared Pilibhit as a Tiger Reserve, which to my mind , is an important decision of international importance.The financial assistance in Uttar Pradesh, given to families , whose member is wounded or killed by wild animals , or whose crop is damaged , is the highest in India.
        Let us take a pledge to conserve  wildlife on this planet.