Causes of wild Life Depletion : During the recent past, there has been a sudden decline in the number of wild animals. The hunting leopard or Cheetah is now extinct. The one horned Rhinoceros has survived because of the protective steps taken by the Government. The sanctuary of Givr forest has saved the lions from extinction. The great Indian Bustard is now facing extinction. Many ducks have become extinct in recent years.
1. Habitat Alterations:
(a) Absence of cover or shelter: The forest vegetation, tall grasses, margins of rivers, uneven ground etc. are used as cover of shelter by the wild animals. For example, the tall grass in the Kaziranga Sanctuary are used as cover by the Rhinos. Once cover is absent animals will not survive even if food and water are available in plenty.
(b) Pollution : The rivers and streams that run through the forests and plains contain untreated effluents of many factories which make the river waters unsafe for drinking and may even act as killing agents. Drinking. polluted water exposes them to disease and predation.
(c) Reduction in the area of Movement: The forest area is being increasingly converted into cultivable lands. This reduces the freedom of movement of the wild animals to a large extent. Animals like deer, bison, tiger, rhino etc. are unable to maintain their numbers when confined to relatively small areas. This is one of the reasons why the wild animals in the zoo rarely reproduce.
(d) Destruction of wild plants : In order to get more timber, charcoal and firewood man has cut and destroyed many wild plants which form the main food of these animals Food is one of the major factors of the habitat which controls distribution and numbers of wild animals. The absence of the chief food may even end in ultimate depletion and extinction of some wild animals.
(e) Building roads and railways : For the improvement of our transport system a net work of roads and railways are built up. Most of the road and railway routes pass through the dense forests. This delimits the area of movement for the animals. Moreover, the timid animals shun away from the noise of passing vehicles.
2. Nature of Man : In the words of the Late pandit Nehru “In spite of our culture and civilization man continues to be wild but more dangerous than any of the so called wild animals.” Even rules and regulation may not help if people don’t improve in their attitude. The ignorance of the common man regarding the value of our wild life and the consequential indifference to what happens to them disappear. The day must come when man must feel that it is more exciting to shoot with a camera than with a gun.
(a) Hunting for pleasure : Among the rich people of India it was and is still a pastime to go hunting for pleasure. With the improvement of the nature of fire arms today and with modern aids like jeeps, binoculars and flash lights the number of animals shot for pleasure seems to be increasing beyond leaps and bounds.
(b) Bad hunting methods : Some primitive tribes use poison as a method for hunting. This results in the death of may animals. Other bad methods of hunting include setting fire to forest areas to drive away animals in one direction for being shot.
(c) Hunting for money : In a poor country like India there is always a great clamour for quick easy money. Hunting offers good prospects in this regard. The prices of animal products are always spiraling. A good tiger skin is worth three to five thousands rupees. Similarly, the tusks of elephants, and the skins of other big cats are also costly. The horns of rhinoceros carry fancy price. This has lead to the unlimited slaugher of these animals. Many big snakes are now reduced in number due to the export of snake skins. The meat of many animals like deer, will boar and Nilgai has always been in great demand and attracting many professional hunters.
4. Legal Lapse : The protection of wild life is a state subject and many state governments are unable to protect the wild life by suitable laws. The existing laws are inadequate and there is lack of enforcement of the