With 2 percent of the world's land and 16 percent of its people, India is fast losing
its wildlife habitat.
With about 100 million people living off forests, which are also home to more than
3,000 species of birds and animals, India's wildlife conservation program has the
monumental goal of balancing the interests of man and animals. Next to tigers, one-horned
rhino, leopard and Asiatic elephant are endangered species. The Indian cheetah was
declared extinct in 1948 .
A $25 billion a year worldwide illegal trade in wildlife lures poachers to resort
to any means to procure animals and birds live or dead. Tigers, leopards and rhino
in particular, face continuing threat posed by 'traditional' Oriental medicine practiced
in China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. There is however no scientific evidence
so far for the efficacy of such remedies.
India's first wildlife park, Jim Corbett National Park, was formed in 1936. Today
India has 80 national parks and 441 wildlife sanctuaries. The preserves are committed
to maintaining the delicate ecosystems necessary to ensure the survival of both
flora and fauna. Below are the formal projects initiated by Indian government for
- 1970 - Project Hangul - Kashmir stags declined from 3000 in 1940 to 150 in 1970
- 1972 - All-India Wildlife Protection Act
- 1972 - Project Lion Gir Forest, Gujarat. 1974 population increase from 180 to 284
- 1973 - Project Tiger - 21 reserves are spread over 30,000 sq kms across the country.
In 1973 there were 2000 tigers which doubled to 4000 in the mid-80's. Since then
it has declined to 3750.
- 1975 - Project Crocodile - 11 sanctuaries set apart for crocodile protection.
- 1991 - Project Elephant - improved elephant population in the north east. The current
population of elephants is 25,000 (about 50% of the Asiatic wild elephants in the
world and 10% of the wild African elephant population).