Essay on !
It has already been discussed in the previous chapter that wild life is a renewable resource like soils, water and forests as it can be used time and again without being destroyed and there is a great need of conservation of these renewable resources.
By conservation, we do not mean merely preservation. Conservation, in contrast to preservation, means the utilisation of renewable natural resources in such a way that they are not destroyed but are to be used later.
Wild life management which is an important branch of conservation is concerned with assuring the maximum possible populations of game animals consistent with other land uses in the same area and with the number that the given habitat will support.
This is attained by manipulating the balance of nature in such a way that the desired game species are favored. Many sportsmen have the idea that the way to increase game animals is to kill off all of their predators.
Wild life managers, of course, are well aware that predator elimination may well be the very thing that should not be done. Successful game management depends upon a number of factors including an understanding of ecological principles, an appreciation of the conflicts between game species and agricultural uses of land, and educating both the landowner and the hunter concerning the objectives, techniques and limitations of game management.
The idea of wild life management is not new to Indians. The Vedas contain hymns in praise of animals. Sanatan Dharma have sought the best way of conservation of wild life by linking some animal with the specific god or goddess 2nd thereby rendering it pious and protected.
For example, python has been associated with god Vishnu, snake with god Shiva, peacock with godess Saraswati and Lord Krishna, owl with godess Laxmi, lion with godess Kali and Narsing and so on. Maliabliarata contain many references indicating how rishis and munis conserved wild life fauna (mostly deer and birds) around their ashrams.
In the classical book Arth Shastra Chanakya had imposed severe penalties for killing, entrapping or molesting deer, bison, birds and fish in protected areas. Certain other indigenous religions of India like Budhism and Jalnism strongly advocated the idea of non-violence and thus, partially check the destruction of wild life by hunting Ashoka’s Fifth Pillar Edict declared game and fisheries laws as early as third century B.C.
During the medieval period, even Mughal Emperors exhibited their deep interest in wild life of India. For the protection and preservation of game animals, they created hunting reserves called “Shikar Gaha.” However, British rulers and certain Indian rulers caused ruthless destruction of Indian wild life during 18th and 19th centuries.
Thus, unscrupulous hunting of game animals throughout the man’s cultural evolution and growth of civilization for recreation, food, hide, horn, musk and tusk ; and deforestation (i.e., the act of destruction of natural abode of game animals) for crop culture, building of roads, dams or human dwellings, etc., have caused gross destruction of Indian wild life. About 200 species of wild animals of India have already been extincted and 250 species are at the verge of extinction, if not saved.