Lush green Manipur has been facing acute environmental degradation and new challenges in wildlife conservation for quite some years now. Its rich wildlife has brought threats to its survival and the ecosystem. However, many may not be aware of the several existing threats to our plants and animals. Amid the rising concern, as the Wildlife Week 2022 begins, the need for wildlife restoration is being felt stronger than ever before.
Wildlife in Manipur includes about 1200 medicinal plants, 500 species of orchids, 55 species of bamboo, 695 birds, 160 fish species, 21 migratory aquatic birds and several big animals, 52 edible fruits and 75 each of woody plants.
The state supports nearly 40 per cent of the total flowering plants recorded in India, out of which 31.58 per cent are endemic. But environmental degradation in recent years has been threatening permanent loss of exotic flora and fauna. Thus, wildlife restoration and bringing back our lost animals such as tiger, leopards, elephants and Javan Rhinocerus is becoming a near impossible task.
In view of the threats to wildlife, the Wildlife Week was launched in 1955 with the aim to raise awareness and create a general awakening among the people to protect and preserve the flora and fauna of the country and to take some critical steps.
The country as a whole owns 7.8 per cent of the recorded species of biodiversity reserved in the planet, though we share only 2.4 per cent of the world’s geographical area.
The country also harbours 20 per cent or 136 crore population and 30 per cent of world cattle population. The country is in the five hot spots of the world. Over 500 species of mammals, 1220 species of birds, 1600 species of reptiles and amphibians populate this subcontinent.
India owns 80 per cent of the world's wild tiger population, 60 per cent of Asian elephants, 80 per cent of one-horned rhinoceros and the entire remaining population of the Asiatic lion.
The good news is, we got eight cheetahs, five females and three males at Kono NP from Namibia after 70 years of our extinction.
The country also has 1065 protected areas, including 104 National parks, 566 Wildlife sanctuaries, 32 Elephant reserves, 52 Tiger Reserves, 97 Conservation reserves and 214 Community reserves covering 171921 sq. km which is 5.03% of our geographical area. We also have 75 Ramsar sites of wetland importance.
However, in view of the environmental degradation posing critical threats to the survival of our wildlife and our ecological balance, there’s an urgent need for mankind to facilitate a deeper relationship with the environment in the effort in wildlife conservation. As much we love ourselves and our family, we also should love our nature, environment and wildlife as well.
It is not very hard for the world to protect wildlife if we start to act accordingly with the celebration of the 67th Wildlife Week 2022 from October 2 to 8.
The role played by wildlife in maintaining the ecological balance of nature is undeniable. Any harm to our biodiversity can pose a threat to the entire ecosystem. The animals and plants that live in the wild have an intrinsic value and contribution to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of the human well-being.
A symbiotic relationship exists between the forest, forest-dwelling wildlife species, ecosystem services and people, especially the indigenous people who manage around 28 per cent of the forest land, making the goal of wildlife week relevant and significant. These spaces are not only their economic resources, but also their cultural identities.
Wildlife preservation is a management for human progress also as both are interconnected.
However, our rich wildlife brings with itself several threats as well. We may not be aware of the potential harms caused to this wildlife owing to various reasons. It is thus necessary for us to take part in wildlife week initiatives.
During this week, seminars, lectures, awareness programmes, workshops, public meetings, slogan, spot painting and essay writing competitions are organised at various schools and institutions to make people and students understand the importance of wildlife conservation.
Wildlife week celebration is an opportunity to many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that their conservation provides to mankind. It also reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, the fourth largest crime after arms, drugs and human trafficking.
It is the need of the hour to be aware about the causes threatening the staggering wildlife that inhabit on this planet. It is also necessary to understand that humans are not the only species that have the right to live on this earth and her resources.
With rapid urbanization, decreasing forest covers, irregular seasonal changes and forest fires, our wildlife is threatened like never before with different plaguing to cohabitants such as man-wildlife conflict.
The future of wildlife conservation and our survival depends on the critical action and values of people. The children and youth are the future leaders of wildlife conservation. They deserve a future where humans live in harmony with wildlife that shares the planet with us. In this way we would be able to change the entire human mind towards wildlife conservation this week-long celebration.
A trip with students can easily help promote learning about the wildlife conservation and maintenance. They must understand the important aspects of the wildlife in their own life. They also should understand that wildlife is the most beautiful gift of God which we need to be preserved and honored.
Before green house gases and global warming, wildlife species were able to survive in their natural habitats. Though we have also the never ending challenges from population explosion, deforestation, climate change, pollution and habitat lost, etc, over the past few years, a considerable change has been noticed.
Over the past few years, more and more calls have been received from different sectors, asking for help in rescuing and relocating the wild animals. It is important to note that the people’s mindset have gradually moved from “find and kill” to “rescue and release”.