‘Wild animal’ means any non-domesticated animal found wild in nature. It includes both vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) and invertebrates (bees, butterflies, moths, crustaceans, etc.). Also Importance of Wildlife :- Wildlife helps in maintaining the balance of nature.. In Webster’s Dictionary, ‘wild life’ is defined as ‘living things that are neither human nor domesticated, especially mammals, birds and fishes hunted by man.” The term ‘wild life’ includes animals as well as plants which form part of any habitat in nature.
Some wild animals are so characteristic that they become symbols of their home countries. Thus, tiger is associated with India, white bear with Russia, Giant Panda with China, Kangaroo with Australia, Kiwi with New Zealand and springbok with South Africa.
To Save our planet from destruction we really need to understand the importance of wildlife.
Importance of Wildlife
1. Ecological importance
- Wildlife helps in maintaining the balance of nature. Killing of carnivores leads to an increase in the number of herbivores which in turn affect the forest vegetation, thus due to lack of food in the forest they come out from the forest to agriculture land and destroy our crops. Therefore, once the equilibrium is disturbed it leads to many problems.
2. Economic importance
- The wild life can be used to earn money. Wild plant products like food, medicine, timber, fibres, etc. are of economic value and the wild animal products such as meat, medicines, hide, ivory, lac, silk, etc. are of tremendous economic value.
3. Investigatory importance
- Some wild organisms are used for scientific experiments such as to test effect of medicine. Generally monkey, chimpanzee, etc. are used for scientific experiments.
4. Conservation of biological diversities
- By conserving wildlife, diversity in the environment can be conserved. According to some scientists an ecosystem with more diversity is more stable.
5. As a gene bank
- Group of genes of a population of any particular area is called as gene bank. To produce disease resistant variety diversity in gene bank is necessary.
- A visit to the parks and sanctuaries is an enjoyable proposition for children as well as adult. Thus, wildlife is best means of recreation.
7. Cultural importance
- The wildlife of India has rooted effects on religion, art, sculpture and literature. Many mythological stories and children’s stories are based on wildlife.
8. Importance in agriculture
- Wild organisms are very important for modern agriculture. Importance of wildlife in agriculture field are as follows :
1. Production of new hybrid variety using wild plants.
2. Production of better hybrid variety of animals used for agriculture using wild animals.
3. New species of plants and animals can be produced by them.
Brief History of Indian WildLife
- Man has been interested in wild animals since the dawn of civilization. He hunted them for food and clothing, observed them for joy and heard the melodious notes of birds for pleasure.
- In India, the idea of protection and preservation and importance of wildlife has been an integral part of religion and culture since very ancient times.
- The Vedas include hymns in praise of animals and the Indian Mythology is full of references to several Animal-like Gods such as the monkey headed Hanuman, elephant-headed Ganesh, boar headed Varahavatar, lion-headed Narasinghavatar, turtle-like Koormavatar, fish-like Matsyavatar, snake-like Shesh Nag, etc.
- We also learn about snake worship (Nag Pooja), eagle worship (Garud), cow worship (Lord Krishna), and vehicles of Shiva (Bull Nandi), Saraswati (swan), Ganesh (rat), etc. In ancient India, hermitages (ashrams) were the sanctum sanctorums (holy retreats) in the holy environs of which the hunting of animals was totally prohibited.
- Kautilya’s Arth shastra of third century B.C. proclaims severe punishment for killing, entrapping or molesting animals in protected areas (sanctuaries). Ashoka the Great enacted laws for the protection of fauna in his kingdom as early as the third century B.C. However, the condition of our wild life rapidly deteriorated first under the Moghul rule and later under the British rule, when mad slaughter of animals became the fashion of die day. Temur and Babar killed thousands of rhinoceroses which were abundant in Kashmir and Northern India. Colonel Pollock, a military engineer of British East India Company in Assam, shot a rhino or buffalo almost daily for breakfast. A former Raja of a state in Madhya Pradesh, probably held the world record for killing the highest number of tigers (1170).