We all know the magnificence wildlife has around the world. We all are aware of the important role they play in maintaining the balance required in our ecosystem. We all are not unknown to the absolute danger some species are in. But what do we choose to do about it? Nothing.
It was only when I was researching this topic that I came to an acute realization of how real this danger is. It is not just a snippet from the news that we read and see, 'tch-tch' on the conditions of state and forget. It is not just a fact or figure that slips out of our memory as per our convenience. It is something that every human on the face of this earth is responsible for.
You don't murder someone and let the fact slip your mind, do you? And in the context of wildlife on the brink of extinction, we are pretty much the murderers because it is us and only us who are responsible for what is known as the 'sixth greatest extinction wave'on our earth.
Though the selection of which specie should be protected is based upon various of factors like its economic value, its public perception and sometimes, pure chance, I strongly feel that each and every specie labeled as endangered should be conserved while there is still time.
Following is my top three list of animals which need to be saved immediately-
1. Asiatic Lioness-
This is a Lion specie found only and only in India now. History has it that they were formerly living in many countries like Persia, Arabia, Mesopotamia but heavy hunting eradicated their numbers in all of them. In India, before the colonial rule, Asiatic Lioness were found in many states like Bengal, Rajasthan, Maharashtra but ruthless hunting reduced their population to dangerous levels. During the revolt of 1957 in India, a single British officer shot about 300 lions.
And we claim that humans are the most intelligent beings on earth. What is the purpose of such intelligence that shows no humanity towards beings that are as much part of the planet as we are?
The unfortunate fact is that its number as dwindled so much that it exists as a single population in Gujarat. There are approximately 201 Lioness left now. Naturally, it is labelled as 'EN' or Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
2. Indian Wild Ass-
The fate of Indian Wild Ass, also known as 'Khur' seems to be similar to that of Asiatic Lioness. Previously having a healthy population in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, the last remaining herd of this specie is found only in Gujarat and Rajasthan now.
Though the British officers and Indian Maharajas had spared this poor animal from hunting as they did not find it interesting enough', the Mughal Emperors took their place instead and hunted it till it was driven into near extinction. Accounts of History show that the Mughal emperors took great pleasure in hunting this animal and there is even a painting of Akbar surrounded by Wild Asses shot by him in the Akbarnama.
With Gujarat as its only habitat now, Wild Asses is also categorized as Endangered by the IUCN. Though their population has been carefully increased in the recent times, ecologists fear that a massive death might take place due to the weather of their current habitat. Conservation therefore, is a major concern now.
Gharial is a crocodile specie native to India. It is characterized by its long body and a long, thin snout which it uses for catching fish. Its population met with a horrifically drastic decline in the past 70 years where its number fell from 10,000 to approximately 200 individuals. The main reasons of this were killings for skin and eggs, by fishermen etc. A large number of Gharials were killed in the recent times due to depletion of water bodies and the fishing nets used in them.
It is labelled as 'Critically Endangered' by the IUCN. Do we need any more reasons to save this animal?
It is high time that we took our share of responsibility and started worrying about the plight of our planet. We won't be sitting so peacefully if there were 200-300 number of humans left on this earth, would we? Then why the negligence shown to the animals?
Despite the conservation efforts taken up by every country in the world, the endangered animals have their numbers dwindling. The major reason is the loss of their habitat and natural conditions required for them to live in. This is the extent of damage that we have done to our planet. And if we are under the illusion that we would survive in this epidemic, then we can't me more wrong.
Steve Irwin has said, "If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”
Let us start loving wildlife now. Let us start saving wildlife now.