Wildlife conservation- Assistance by local communities

Wildlife conservation- Assistance by local communities

Question:-Man and animals coexisted in the past and the need for a coexistence has risen in recent times in light of increased danger to animals and their habitat. Analyze citing examples how have local communities contributed to conserving wildlife.

- Humans are known to have coexisted with animals in the past. Animal habitat has been destructed for human use giving rise to animal man conflict and thus creating a gap between animals and humans. The most susceptible to changes are the tribes and local communities living close to wildlife. The conservation strategies around the world are making efforts to involve local communities to conserve wildlife and the habitat. According to some, while it is wise to have their involvement, it could be harmful to their lives. It may result in distress migration and loss of livelihood since there is dependence on forests for food etc.

Ways in which local communities are assisting

- There has been a seemingly increase in lion population of Gir forests and in tiger population, which shows successful effort of a proactive involvement of local communities in and around forests. They have protected the animals from poachers and building walls around farm wells to avoid accidental deaths and resisting retaliation when animals attack cattle. It is beneficial for the local people as well since the carnivores control the population of the herbivores that destroy crops.

- The poacher of Zambia's Luangwa Valley are being trained in farming, beekeeping and other livelihood skills in exchange of them leaving their illegal snares and guns. Kalahari and African Massai's bushmen have been trained to serve as forest rangers and guides.

- Eastern Mongolia's herders and volunteer rangers are trained to rotate their pastures enforcing wildlife protection laws against illegal hunting.

- A proactive involvement of local communities to establish early warning in Valparai, TN has caused a reduction in man-elephant conflicts which has in turn reduced causalities.

- The Bishnoi community in Rajasthan has led conservation efforts, resisting poachers and have made the region a safe haven for wild animals like migratory birds and black buck.

- Thus an active participation of local communities, NGOs and Forest Department along with early warning systems, conservation strategies could change man-animal conflicts to coexistence, the way it used to be in the past.

Facts and figures

- In 1972, the Government of India enacted a law called the Wildlife Conservation Act.

- The Madras Board of Revenue started local conservation efforts in 1842, headed by Alexander Gibson, a professional botanist.

- Project Elephant (PE), a centrally sponsored scheme, was launched in February 1992.
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