Government of India and State Governments are also becoming conscious of the deteriorating wildlife situation and have acted towards creating sager zones to the wild life within the Reserve Forests by way of creating what are called 'Protected Area'.
Elephant Safari, Indian WildlifeProtected area is a board term given primarily to National Parks and Sanctuaries meant for affording protection to wild animals and their habitat. They also include game reserves and biosphere reserves. Protected areas have been set up all over the world with the specific aim of protecting and conserving animals and plants. In India too these have been set up in various parts of the country.
The country's first wildlife sanctuary was set up towards the close of the last century as the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Tamilnadu.
At the time of Independence there were only a few National Parks and Sanctuaries in India. In the year 1987, there were 54 national parks covering an area of 21,300 Sq.Km and 372 wildlife sanctuaries with 88,649 Sq.Km. Thus with the combined coverage of 109652sq.km about 3.3% of the total geographical area of the country has been accorded the status of protected areas. Wildlife and forests are state subjects under a single administration setup i.e., Forest Department of each State. The role of the Central Government 9 meaning the Government of India) is mainly advisory. Two developments have had a greater bearing on the status of wildlife conservation in different states. The first was the of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 as a unified piece of legislation. The legislation interalia requires the creation of the post of Chief Wildlife Wardens and Wildlife Wardens in the states to exercise statutory power under the Act. The states have to set up state Wildlife Advisory Boards, on the lines of the Indian Board for Wildlife as the apex advisory body to advise the State Government on the conservation of wildlife. The second is the inclusion of protection of wild animals and birds in the concurrent list of the union in the Constitution of India. This gives the Centre a degree of legislative control over the States in the conservation of wildlife.
Jeep Safari, Indian WildlifeThe Government of India have enacted comprehensive legislature in1972 called the Wildlife (Protection) Act for providing legal protection to the wildlife and to the endangered species of fauna in particular as the protection of wild animals and birds and their habitat assumed national importance. This was done at the time when forest and protection of wild animals and birds were under the State list. It has a provision of setting up National Parks and sanctuaries where wildlife can receive fullest protection. This act has been adopted by all the states except Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland. The former have enacted their own legislation largely on the same lines of the Central Act.
Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, the State Governments are empowered to declare any area as a sanctuary or a National Park for the purpose of protection, propagating, or developing wildlife their in or its environment.
Many protected areas have been created after the enactment of Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. It is aimed that at least 5% of the total geographical area of India should be set aside as protected area for best results so far as wildlife conservation is concerned.
Elephant, India WildlifeBut a committee appointed by the Government of India in 1984 has summarized that the protected areas notified are not well distributed across all states/biogeographic zones/provinces, and so some endangered animals are being protected in some special areas. It was also observed that these protected areas were selected on local consideration earlier rather than on sound ecological reasons. So, It has been suggested that the network of protected areas proposed should ensure adequate representation of all biogeographic regions in the country.
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