ENDANGERED SPECIES: An Earnest Endeavour?

An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters. The main threats to the species are poaching, predation, habitat destruction, overgrazing, diseases and inbreeding. Many nations have laws offering protection to conservation of these species, India being one of them. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has taken the initiative to ensure that these animals are not completely wiped off the face of the earth. Under the IUCN Categories and Criteria, endangered species is between critically endangered and vulnerable.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List) is the list of globally threatened plants and animals . The future for India’s endangered creatures does not appear bright There are over 130,000 animal species in India making it one of the best places in the world to see wildlife. Sadly however, many of India’s bird and animal species are already endangered, some critically endangered and some, for example the Sumatran rhinoceros, may even already be extinct in India. Probably the most charismatic and recognised endangered animals in India are the Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, Indian one-horned rhino, Asiatic lion and Snow leopard but there are many smaller but no less important mammals such as shrews, bats and squirrels that are under threat.

Some of the government initiatives carried out to preserve this natural heritage include Project Tiger, one of the most successful efforts in preserving and protecting the Tiger population. Gir National Park in Gujarat is the only existing habitat for the nearly extinct Asiatic Lions in India. The Kaziranga Sanctuary in Assam is a prime example of an effort to save the endangered Rhinoceros. Likewise, Periyar in Kerala is doing appreciable work to preserve the wild Elephants while Dachigam National Park is fast at work to save the Hangul or Kashmiri Stag. In the latest census, Karnataka has overtaken Madhya Pradesh, as the state with the most tigers.

Even though much effort is being put into the conservation of wildlife, the endangered species still face a major threat. It is our duty being the future generation to spread awareness and do our part to preserve India’s natural heritage!

Ritika Paul, II PCMB B

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