As man learnt about nature he started to interfere with the laws of nature. He cut off the forests for agriculture and tamed wild animals for his food and clothing. Man was able to conquer nature, yet he can't control it. A balance exists between all living and non-living things in nature. Ecological disasters are bound to happen if there is any disturbance in the natural equilibrium. Increased industrialization and human requirements have led to the destruction of our forests and wildlife, which are interdependent in more than one ways.
Forests are indispensable to mankind. They provide us with wood, raw materials; prevent floods and soil erosion; increase underground water supply and humidity of air; provide an abode for the wildlife, check air pollution, etc. On a sunny day a large elm tree gives off vapor which is equivalent to 1500 gallons of water. Annual world production of forest products exceeds US $ 150 billion, thus playing a vital role in the economy of a nation. According to a UN report, rain forests have been destroyed to a large extent. Man has mercilessly chopped off trees without paying any attention to the destruction he is causing to his own life and future. Hillsides have been stripped off its vegetation cover in the Himalayas, which has become a major cause for the earthquakes, avalanches, and landslides. Deforestation not only diminishes the natural beauty of any place but also upsets the ecological balance of that place. It is believed that the Thar Desert is a man-made desert. Yes! Emperor Akbar went for hunting there.
Wildlife is at the brink of destruction! Due to destruction of forests, pollution, climatic changes and extensive hunting of animals, many species of wildlife have become extinct. With extension, when a species disappears, it is gone forever! Wildlife destruction has upset the whole mechanism of natural regulation and balance, which could endanger our very existence. Animals are being used widely in drug research nowadays. Scientists believe that animal experimentation is necessary for the progress of medical sciences. They may be right but what we need is a balance between biomedical research and animal welfare.
The day is not far away when sighting a tusker will be a rare occurrence in India. The world famous Hangul, a reindeer species found only in Kashmir, is endangered. Maybe the future generation will not know what a Hangul was! Chiru, the Tibetan antelope, is also facing the threat of extinction due to its extensive hunting for the fleece, which is required to weave the famous Kashmiri Shahtoosh shawls. India is one of the world extensive networks of officially Protected Areas. These areas a re a place of biological diversity and harmony but are now under a ruthless assault due to urbanization, population pressure, industrialization, etc. trade in wildlife products is a vast business involving billions of dollars! Some of the facts that point out the urgent need to save our national wealth are:
*A national survey in India in 1980s revealed that humans inhibited 69% of Protected Areas. *It is believed that an area of tropical forest 4 times the size of Switzerland disappears every year! *Forest lands in the developing countries have declined to half of the original! *Destruction of forests leads to the destruction of wildlife. For every plant species that becomes extinct upto 30 dependent animals and insects die. *Earlier in this century there were about 50,000 tigers in India, but there are now less than 2000! *Sri Lanka is a classic example, which can be cited while mentioning a place where the tusker population has been reduced to zero! *95% of the elephants that were killed in India were tuskers whose existence has been endangered due to poaching for ivory. According to the estimate provided by Airport, Bangalore Asian Elephant Conservation Center, on an average 250 tuskers are killed every year in India. *In a period of about...