NEET Biology Notes Biodiversity and Wildlife Conservation-Wildlife
It refers to any living organism present in its natural habitat. Wildlife includes all plants, animals and microorganisms other than the cultivated plants and domesticated animals. Wildlife week (October 1-7) is celebrated to create awareness in the public about the wildlife. Six values of wildlife are commercial, recreational, biological, aesthetic, scientific and social. Wildlife Institute of India is situated in Dehradun.
Wildlife in India
- India has varied climatic and geographical conditions with luxuriant tropical forests.
- Indian wildlife comprises about 75000 species of animals including about 350 species of mammals, 2100 species of birds and plenty of reptiles like lizards and snakes.
- Important Wildlife Projects of India
(a) Project tiger [Panthera tigris) The project was started in 1973 in order to check depletion in population of tiger. Initially, it was undertaken in 17 National Parks. But recently the project has been extended to more National Parks, (a total of 23).
- Lion project (Panthera leo persica) The project was started in 1972. It is located in Gir National Park, Junagarh (Gujarat).
- Snow leopard project (Panthera ungia) Throughout Himalayas, e.g. Khangchendzbriga ‘ National Park (Gangtok).
- Musk deer project (Moschus moschiferus) Kedarnath sanctuary (Uttarakhand), Manali Sanctuary (HP) and Shikari Devi sanctuary (HP).
- Project elephant It was launched in 1992 and it covers both wild and domestic elephants.
The concept of biosphere reserves was launched under MAB programme of UNESCO (started in 1975). Biosphere reserve programme was started in India in 1986. Total biosphere reserves in India are 14.
- The first biosphere reserve established in 1986 was Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
- A biosphere reserve is made of core, buffer and manipulation zone.
- MAB stands for Man and Biosphere programme.
- Man and Biosphere Programme was launched by UNESCO in 1971.
- National Parks
A national park is an area strictly reserved for the protection and welfare of wildlife. In India, there are 96 national parks (April 2007) covering an area of 38029.18 square kilometers, i.e. 1.16% of India’s total surface area. The first national park in the world, the Yellostone National Park, was founded in 1872 in USA.
In 1935, the first national park of India was established in the foothills of the Himalayas (Hailey National Park) presently known as Corbett National Park. A total of 166 National 1 ks have been authorised. Plans are underway to establish the remaining scheduled parks.
These are notified for the protection of wild animal and fauna. In India, there are over 500 sanctuaries in different states. Among these, the 28 tiger reserves are governed by Project Tiger, one of special significance in the conservation of the tiger. Some wildlife sanctuaries are specifically named bird sanctuary.
The convention was opened for signature at Earth Summit in Rio de on Janeiro on 5th June, 1992 and entered into force on 29th December, 1993.
- Sacred Forests
- India has history of religious and cultural traditions that emphasised protection of nature.
- Sacred forests f -âè’1. undisturbed forests ,! without any human intervention and highly surrounded by degraded lanseales.
- These forests contain number of rare, endangered and mic species.
- Such sacred groves are found in
- Khasi and Jaintja Hills in Meghalaya
- Aravalli Hills of Rajasthan
- Western Ghat Regions of Karnataka and Maharashtra
- Sarguja, Chanda and Bastar areas of Madhya Pradesh
It is a place, where wild animals are kept for public showing. They have recorded success with captive breeding of animals
Ex-Situ Conservation (Off-Site Conservation)
It means, conservation outside the habitats by perpetuating sample population in genetic resource centres,
e.g. zoos, botanical gardens, culture collections, gene pools, seed banks, etc.
Botanical garden is a collection of living plants maintained for both pure and applied studies. These play an important role in the conservation of plant species so much, that there are several instances when plants believed to be extinct, were found living only in botanical gardens.
In seed banks, germplasm is stored as seeds of various accessions. Under suitable conditions, seeds of many species can be stored for up to 50-100 year.
It is considerably important in the conservation of genetic diversity. The life of pollen has been reported 3 years in some species.
Earth Summit 1800
- Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development.
- The World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. 190 countries
pledged their commitment to achieve a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss at global, regional and local levels by the year 2010.
It can be extended to endangered species as well as those which may otherwise require very rapid climatic condition and can be maintained at one place in aseptic cultures.
This technique helps in the genetic manipulation of an organism and increasing its usefulness to people.
These are areas that are extremely rich in species diversity, have high endemism and are under constant threat. These areas are particularly in floral wealth and endemic, not only in flowering plants but also in reptiles, amphibians, swallow-tailed butterflies and some mammals.
Ecologically, hot spots are determined by four factors
- Numbers of species/species diversity.
- Degree of endemism.
- Degree of threat to habitat due to its degradation and fragmentation.
- Degree of exploitation.
There are 25 hot spots of the world, two are found in India extending into neighbouring countries, i.e. Western Ghats/Sri Lanka and Indo-Burma region (covering the Eastern Himalayas also known as cradle of spéciation). There are 15 hot spots in tropical forests, 5 in mediterranean type forests and 9 in islands. The total number of hot spots in tropics 16, 15 mainland and 1 island.
Important Wildlife Organisations of the World
- MNHS Mumbai Natural History Society
- CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora
- IBWL Indian Board for Wildlife
- IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
- NWAP National Wildlife Action Plan
- UNCED United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
- WPSI Wildlife Preservation Society of India
- WWF World Wildlife Fund
- NEERI National Environment Engineering Research Institute