4 Largest Wildlife Conservation Project in India

14 Mar 2023
7 min read

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According to Section 2(37) of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, "wildlife" is defined as any animal, whether it be aquatic or terrestrial, as well as any vegetation that is a part of any habitat.

Wildlife is important to the ecosystem. It is essential to maintaining the environment's balance. The significance also encompasses areas such as economic significance, scientific significance, gene bank, preservation of biological diversity, cultural significance, etc.

For the preservation and protection of wildlife and overall biodiversity, India has a number of laws. The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is a legislative act that has been put into place to safeguard India's ecological and environmental security through the protection of wild animals, birds, and plants. To stop the illegal trade in wildlife, including endangered species, a Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has also been set up.

In this post, we'll talk about the 4 Largest Wildlife Conservation Projects that India has implemented.


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India has had an ignorant attitude toward the environment and environmental preservation. This ignorant attitude has led to much of the damage that India has procured over the years. Nature is hugely exploited in our land and there are no two ways about it. The government, for a long time, didn't do anything to heal the damage that was done. It was after much outrage from many environmental activists that the government began to undertake wildlife preservation or conservation projects.

Over the past decade, a lot has changed. The environment has become an election issue now and there is a lot more awareness of our environment and Global warming in India. Even a lot of common citizens are aware of their duty towards the environment. The biggest example is that of the Aarey forest in Maharashtra. The famous Aarey in Mumbai is one of the few green areas left in the city. In 2020, the government of Maharashtra decided to pass a metro line through Aarey and that led to a huge public outcry. After a huge protest and online outrage, the government had to shift the metro line to a different area. This was completely done by the common citizens. So there definitely has been a huge change in the attitude of the public. Let's now look at the 4 largest Wildlife Conservation projects in India.

India's wildlife is governed by legal provisions

The citizens of India have a fundamental duty to safeguard wildlife and show compassion for all living things under Article 51A(g) of the Constitution of India, 1950. In addition, Article 48A stipulates that it is the responsibility of the State to defend and seek to improve the nation's forests and wildlife. The Constitution's Concurrent List, or Schedule VII List III, includes the subject of protecting wild animals and birds. This shows that the subject can be governed by both the Union and the State Government.

Regulation of Wildlife through International Treaties

The improvement of wildlife conservation may benefit from the use of international wildlife legislation. For the conservation of wildlife, there are numerous national and international instruments. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and others are a few of them.

This article talks about the conservation projects that have been put into place in India.

Conservation projects

Indian legislation does not specifically define conservation, but it is generally understood to entail "preserving, protecting, or restoring the natural environment and wildlife."

The deterioration of the natural world, the ecosystem, and wildlife is blatantly obvious in this era of the climate crisis. Natural resources are being permanently destroyed as a result of industrialization and globalization.

Sustainable maintenance and utilization of natural resources are the goals of conservation projects. This will guarantee that these resources are available to future generations. Since wildlife is an integral element of nature, it is important to safeguard it.

In order to reconcile evolutionary theory with environmental realities, conservation projects are formed. This aids in forecasting the responses of wildlife to recent and upcoming environmental changes. It was created to ensure their survival because hunting, farming, population growth, pollution, and climate change all pose serious threats to them.

Need for conservation projects

Wildlife was traditionally hunted in the past, which caused the population of many species to decrease.

It was decided in the 1989 case of State of Bihar v. Murad Ali Khan that hunting is against the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972's Section 2(16) provides a thorough definition of hunting. In this instance, it was stated that the defendants had shot and killed an elephant in the Kundurugutu Range Forest. The elephant's ivory tusks were also removed. The Forest Range Officer then filed a complaint in accordance with Section 51 of the Wildlife Act.

The aforementioned example demonstrates that despite laws, people proceeded with destructive actions. As a result, there was a need for conservation projects, and India established numerous of them.

Also Read: What Are The Objectives And Strategy For Sustainable Agriculture In India

4 Largest Wildlife Conservation Project in India

1. Project Snow Leopard

Snow Leopards are a rare breed of Leopard that are found in the Himalayan landscape. The cold atmosphere of the region suits these beautiful striped creatures. The government of India has declared this species as a highly vulnerable species, that, if not saved, is on the brink of extinction. India launched a program called 'Project Snow Leopard' in the year 2009. Since Snow Leopards are most vulnerable to poaching, loss of habitat and man-animal conflict, the aim of the program was to launch a participatory approach to save the species from getting extinct.

Every year on October 23, people around the world celebrate Snow Leopard Day. In 2019, the Indian government launched the "First National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment." Technology like camera traps and research questionnaires are used in this. Under the guidelines of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program, this effort was created. Twelve nations that are home to snow leopards—India, Pakistan, Nepal, Russia, China, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia—are involved in this intergovernmental alliance. They worked together on the Population Assessment of the World's Snow Leopard (PAWS).

Loss of habitat, poaching, and human-animal conflict were the main risks to snow leopards. The organized nature of wildlife crime has been underlined in Sansar Chand v. State of Rajasthan (2010). It was mentioned in this case that his younger brother, who was also engaged in the illegal trading of wild animals, was the subject of a FIR. Narayan Chand, the younger brother, had one skin taken from him. In this instance, he was also included as an accused under Section 55 of the Wildlife Act of 1972. He is facing numerous additional lawsuits at the moment.

The 2009 launch of Project Snow Leopard aims to advance inclusion and a collaborative approach to species conservation.

2. Project Tiger

India was known for Tiger hunting. As a matter of fact, hunting was a national sport for many elites back in the day and continues to be so. Many boasts of the number of tigers they have killed and skinned. Soon the cases of hunting soared sky-high and resulted in a huge decrease in the population of tigers. Deforestation also led to a decline in the national tiger population. To fight this, the government launched 'Project Tiger' wherein strict legal actions were taken against those who were found hunting. The act of killing a tiger has become a legal offense. The strict actions of the government have successfully allowed the tiger population to exist in its natural habitat. Recent surveys show that there has been a rise in the tiger population. It's not much but enough to make the project a success.

Around the close of the 20th century, the number of Indian Tigers was rapidly declining. As a result, a national Tiger Census was carried out in 1972 to determine the number of tigers.

Deforestation and subsequent habitat loss were caused by large-scale development activities like dams, mining, railroad projects, and the construction of industries. Tigers were killed in large numbers because their body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The population of tigers decreased as a result of all these factors taken together.

In Sansar Chand v. State of Rajasthan (2010), the appellant was detained in 1974 for tiger poaching and trafficking the animals' body parts to a number of nations, mainly China. Between 1974 and 2005, 57 wildlife cases are said to have involved him. He was found guilty of every charge brought against him. Also, the Supreme Court urged the federal government and each state's government to punish offenders severely.

Sections 428 and 429 of the  Indian Penal Code, 1860 define animal poaching and other related offenses. Two years in prison is the penalty under S.428 and five years is the penalty under S.429.

In the Palamau Tiger Reserve of the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, Project Tiger was launched in 1973. The Ministry of Environment and Forests is funding this initiative from the central government. Mostly, it is governed under the Wildlife Act of 1972. The National Tiger Conservation Authority, which was founded in December 2005, is in charge of overseeing the project.

3. Tiger Task Force

This is basically an extension of 'Project Tiger'. The aim of this project was to ensure that the project becomes a success. Since hunters were stubborn and were scattered across India, there had to be a designated unit to look after the matter. The aim of the Tiger Task Force was to make sure that the various Tiger conservation initiatives are properly implemented.

It is crucial that a statutory authority with adequate legal support be established for the Project's implementation to go as planned. The National Board for Wildlife suggested creating a Task Group to investigate the problems encountered in the implementation of national tiger conservation projects. As a result, the Tiger Task Force was established. The National Tiger Conservation Authority was suggested by the TTF (NTCA).

Buffer and Core Zones

The tiger conservation plan is outlined in Section 38V of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The State Government is required to oversee the overall development of those residing in tiger-bearing forests or tiger reserves under sub-section (4) of the law. The core or key tiger habitat areas are designated in national parks and sanctuaries for this reason under Section 38V(4)(i). The buffer or peripheral area is recognized and formed by Section 38V(4)(ii).

4. Project Elephant

Indians have had a dark past when it comes to how animals were treated. As was the case with tigers, elephants were also popular amongst hunters and were seen as a badge of pride. The tusks of elephants were sold at high prices and their skins were also sold rampantly. Launched in 1992, Project Elephant is a wildlife conservation project that was launched by the center. The aim of the project was to impose strict laws against the hunting of elephants and to see the management of the elephant population in India.

For the conservation of elephants around the nation, the Elephants' Protection Act, 1879 was also implemented. Just 65% of the elephant corridors in India are in protected areas, where they are dispersed throughout 26 elephant reserves.

Elephants must be protected since they are recognized as part of the nation's national heritage. Following the recommendations of the Standing Committee on the National Board of Wildlife, this was carried out by the Indian government in 2010. This action was performed to raise awareness of the decreasing elephant population and encourage people to take an active role in its conservation.

This project is essential because it safeguards elephants from hunters and poachers, reducing the illegal ivory trade in the process.

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