Sunday, 30 June 2019



Man has interfered into wildlife so intensely that the very existence of it has come under threat. Many species of wildlife are becoming endangered and extinct with each passing day, and this does not bode well for the future of the environment, earth and man. In such a situation, wildlife conservation has become a need of the hour.

Most of the endangered and wildlife species are considered to be priceless, therefore laws have been enacted to prohibit any commercial use of these species. The point to ponder us whether it is helping the number of such endangered species decrease from their present strength, or is it leading to the process of including more endangered species in the list of endangered species in the world in general and in India in particular. The government is of the view that commercial use of these species would put many species to extinction. But such thinkers in the government are not ready to think that commercialization, in contrast, may help in their conservation.

Just imagine how many millions of cattle, sheep, and other farm animals are slaughtered every year, yet their number has continued to soar. It is because if selling flesh and limbs of animals begets profit, the persons indulging in its commercial use also know that if they are to remain in the trade, they, in fact, need to preserve them too. So they put their wholehearted effort to preserve such animals.

Just converse is the case with wildlife. It has great economic potential but there are strict laws as regards its handling. The government just would not allow wildlife and endangered species to be used for commercial purposes which could contribute economically. Law-breakers are always there. There are people who would hunt and poach wildlife for personal excitement and commercial purpose stealthily. Now, if the prohibiting law was not there, the same man would have endeavoured to preserve it too because it would have been in his own economic use. A lesson can be drawn from the countries like the United States, South Africa and Australia where crocodile farming for commercial pruposes has benefitted the crocodiles. There crocodiles are in larger number because their exotic flesh begets the hoteliers exorbitant prices.

Zoos have always played a role in wildlife conservation, but they are more of a tourist spot than any scientific activity. They should take upon themselves the duty of evolving scientific research which would in effect benefit wildlife and endangered species. This will help most of the zoos becoming economically independent and viable, and they would be able to act in a commercial way.

Of late, tourist traffic has moved towards visiting wildlife sanctuaries. It is but natural that a tiger or deer in a forest is grander than it is in a zoo. The tourists are ready to pay more to see wildlife in its natural surroundings, and to pay still more for hunting. Thus they help to boost the local economy. The villagers living in the areas of sanctuaries can be allowed to breed wildlife animals and they can share in the revenue that the tourists pay. These villagers will be more alert than the government machinery because their economic interests would be at stake, in turn, they would help wildlife, After all, nobody like to kill the only goose that lays golden eggs.

Unless wildlife conservation is mooted on commercial lines with economic interest in view, it cannot help to increase the number of animals. If its commercial use is not allowed, vested interest in continuing the crisis would become active and the greatest loser would be none else but wildlife and endangered species for whose safety various laws exist, mostly in futility. We have tried other means of prohibiting commercial use, now is the time to make commercial use. Of course, suitable restrictions can always be placed.



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