Do Homo sapiens truly show their generous, compassionate and sympathetic behaviour towards animals? With growing urbanisation, reckless usage of resources and human encroachment in the natural habitat of animals, several species are on the verge of extinction or are endangered. On the occasion of World Animal Day (October 4) and Wildlife week in India (October 2 to 8), The EarthView spoke to the experts who highlighted the importance of conservation of natural habitats for the welfare of animals and urged to restrict the needs that are fulfilled from animals.
Umesh Vaghela, Ornithologist and Founder President of Alive Nature Trust, an NGO said, “ Wildlife is important part of this universe. It is important to conserve them. However, increasing urbanization is destroying their natural habitats. This destruction of their natural habitat often endangers various species as their natural food chain is damaged. Excessive concreting in urban areas results in endangering the urban wildlife. To save the animals, we humans should reduce our needs and benefits we obtain from animals. However, we have a wildlife week, which is recognized for our wild animals. A time to spread much-needed awareness about animal preservation."
He also suggested that focus should be on the protection of the natural habitat and the wildlife. Wildlife Week is celebrated in India from October 2 to 8 every year with an aim to preserve the animal life. It was started in 1952 with a vision to initiate planning to save animal extinction of any species in the country. There are many species of animals that are endangered such as Asiatic Lions, Bengal Tigers, Blackbuck, Red Panda, one-horned rhinoceros, Indian Bison among others. Though Government has taken various measures to help in conservation of these endangered species such as conservation work of Asiatic lions in Gir forest or Tiger Conservation is praiseworthy. However, still, with increasing man-animal conflicts and more species becoming extinct, it is important to take firm steps in conservation.
October month is just not restricted to Wildlife week in India, an international day of action for animal rights and welfare is also celebrated annually on October 4. According to the records, Heinrich Zimmermann a cynologist, on 24th March 1925 first organized World Animal Day at sports palace in Berlin. However, it was initiated with the mission "to raise the status of animals to improve welfare standards around the globe”. To retain the animals status globally organizations, community groups, youth and children’s clubs, businesses and individuals to organize events in celebration of World Animal Day.
Dr Sachin Founder-President of Biosphere, an NGO based out of Pune also echoes the same sentiment as Vaghela about the preservation of natural habitat. He said, “Something worthy that took place in our history is the introduction of International day for animal right. It spreads awareness via various platforms. These days are supposed to create awareness among people and our aim should be to focus on conserving and preserving the natural habitat."
He also added saying as an initiative their NGO has set up various conferences, panel discussions interviews with experts to resolve the human-animal conflict. With same zeal, Biosphere NGO has started an activity named as “Symbolic Nature Denizens of Pune District”, which spreads awareness about extinct and endangered species. They conduct workshops for spreading knowledge about such species.
As we celebrate the wildlife week and World Animals Day, it is important to sensitize people about the importance of conservation of animals and become more emphatic towards them.
Written by: Vaishnavi Jawalkar