Wild Life Conservation

Category : 12th Class

Wild animal means any non-domesticated animal found wild in nature. It includes both vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) and invertebrates (bees, butterflies, moths, crustaceans, etc.) the term “wild life” includes animals as well as plants, which from part of any habitat in nature. Some wild animals are so characteristic that they become symbols of their home countries. Thus, tiger is associated with India, white bear with Russia, Giant Panda with China, kangaroo with Australia, kiwi with New Zealand and springbok with South Africa.

(1) Importance (Values) of Wild Life : Wild life is a source of danger to human life. It is a nuisance to a farmer because it often destroys his crops. The domestic livestock is denied grazing ground in sanctuaries and reserves for wild life. Similarly, the hunters are denied recreation by shooting wild life. Even then conservation of wild life becomes necessary and of great importance due to its many values to mankind.

(i) Ecological value : For a millennium, man and wild animals have evolved together on this planet, called Earth. All life on earth is one and all living things are inextricably interlinked (food chains) forming ecosystems. Destruction of wild life may cause upset in the ecological balance or equilibrium resulting in severe consequences. Thus, protection of every animal species is of great importance to the quality of life and to the survival of man himself. By rendering the planet uninhabitable for animals, we will not be able to avoid extinction ourselves.

(ii) Commercial value : Wild life forms an important natural resource. Unlike coal or petroleum which is nonrenewable, wild life is a renewable resource. With proper care and management, it can yield good dividends and even earn foreign exchange. The commercial value of wild life is best seen in the world’s marine fisheries, with an annual output of about 100 million tons of sea food worth billions of rupees.

Freshwater fish and other aquatic creatures also provide large amount of food for people. Wild life of dry land mainly contributes to the food of the so-called primitive people of the world. An entire industry, the fur trade is supported by fur-bearing animals. Trade in live as well as dead animals supports thousands of people and also earns foreign exchange.

For example, an Indian rhino may fetch equivalent of Rs. 1,25,000 in the world market. Similarly, the ivory of elephants, the horns of rhinoceros, the glands of must deer, the antlers of deer etc., all command high prices. Wild life of a country may even attract people from abroad and earn foreign exchange. Thus, the tourist industry of Kenya (East Afria), based on its wild life, ranks third after coffee and sisal.

(iii) Game value : Wild life has its worth as game also. In several European and American countries, millions of people hunt or fish for recreation, spending billions of dollars on these sports.

(iv) Scientific value : Scientific studies of many of the wild life species are of direct value to humans. Thus, sea urchins have helped greatly in the understanding of human embryology. A desert load has helped in early determination of pregnancy. Rhesus monkeys have contributed to the present knowledge of human blood groups. Antlers of deer help in determining the degree of radioactive contamination of natural environments. We do not know when some obscure wild animal species may be shot to prominence by providing a clue to human health and survival.

(v) Aesthetic value : There is a great world wide aesthetic value of wild life because of their sheer beauty and appeal to the human spirit. A world without melodious birds, graceful beasts and rupturous forests would be a poorer place for humans to live in. Without wild animals, a country side looks dead, static, monotonous and like a picture postcard. People feel pleasure, satisfaction and happiness in the presence of wild life.

(vi) Ethical value : Generally people think that they have no right to destroy wild animals; rather they feel an obligation for the conservation of nature and protection of wild life. In fact all religions preach a healthy respect and reverence for life and consider it wrong to take the life of an animal.

(2) Sanctuaries and National Parks :

(i) Definitions : One of the best methods to save a wild life species, which is on the road to extinction, is to put it in a special enclosure to reproduce. This is best illustrated by sanctuaries and national parks whose legal definition varies from country to country. A Sanctuary or a National Park may be defined “as an area, declared by statute, for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wild life therein, or its natural environment, for their scientific, educational and recreational value.”

The difference between a sanctuary and a national park is subtle and even confusing. Hunting without permit is prohibited and grazing or movement of cattle regulated in a sanctuary. But hunting and grazing are absolutely prohibited in a national park which may be established within or outside a sanctuary.

(ii) Famous national park of world : The first national park in the world, the Yellostone National Park, was founded in 1872 in U.S.A. Since then, about 2,000 parks have been established all over the world. These offer protection to thousands of endangered species in their natural habitats. Some parks have been created for specific and very rare endangered species to be saved from extinction. Table provides a list of some of such famous parks of the world.

(iii) Indian sanctuaries and national parks : At present, 19 national parks and 202 sanctuaries are scattered throughout India. They comprise a total area of about 75,000 sq. km., which roughly comes to 19% of reserve forest area and 2.3% of total geographical area of the country. Sanctuaries and parks not only protect wild life but safeguard varied ecosystems, prevent soil erosion and help in recycling of wastes. Many of them are accessible to the Indian as well as foreign tourists and therefore of economic value. A glimpse of some important Indian national parks and sanctuaries is provided by the table.


Famous National Parks of World Created for Specific Endangered Species

S. No.

Name of National Park


Specific Endangered Animal


Alberta National Parks

Congo, Africa

Mountain Gorilla


Mt. Simien National Park

Ethiopia, Africa

Abyssinian Ibex or Steinbok


Bontebok National Park

South Africa, Africa

Bontebok antelope


Everglades National Park

Florida, U.S.A.



Rifugio di Los Padres

California, U.S.A.

Californian Condor


Ordesa National Park

Spain, Europe

Steinbok of pyrenees


Bialowieska National Park

Poland, Europe

Europian Bison


Corbett National Park

Uttar Pradesh, India

Kashmir Stag


Dachigam National Park

Kashmir, India

Kashmir Stag


Gir National Park

Gujarat, India

Asiatic Lion


Kaziranga National Park

Assam, India

One-homed Rhinoceros


Ghana bird sanctuary  (Keoladeo National Park)

Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India



(3) Wild Life Conservation : A few voluntary organizations, like the Bombay Natural History Society (1883) have been involved in wildlife conservation in India since last century. Most of the British officers were fond of game hunting, but a few right-thinking officers who were concerned about the need for wildlife conservation wrote books about Indian wildlife and declared certain forests as protected areas. Mild legislative steps were also taken by the British Rule in 1873. However, an earnest effort for wildlife conservation through legislation was made only after independence. In 1952, the Central Government of India constituted the Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL) for advising the Government for conserving our varied and fascinating natural bounty of wildlife. Subsequently, State Wildlife boards were also constituted in several Indian states.

A comprehensive Wildlife (Protection) Act, enacted by the Central Government in 1972, provided for legal protection of our wildlife, for nationalisation of already declared reserves, for setting up of National Parks and Sanctuaries for this purpose, and for severe punishment to poachers. Another important legislative step was the 42nd Amendement in Indian Constitution empowering the Central Government to ensure wildlife protection and to acquire forests for this purpose. Later, the Forest (Conservation) Bill of 1980 forbade deforestation of any forest for non-forestry purpose without the permission of the Central Government. In the meanwhile, India also became an important signatory to several International bodies like the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), etc.

In accordance with the conservation strategies recommended by the World Convention of Conservationists mentioned earlier, wildlife conservation may be ex situ (i.e., in artificial habitats) or in situ (i.e., in natural habitats).

(i) Ex-Situ conservation in India : Ex-situ conservation requires establishment of rehabilitation centres for highly endangered species of wild animals. In accordance with the National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) of 1983, the activities of these centres include:

(a) to capture some individuals of concerned species from their natural habitats and bring these to the centre,

(b) to thoroughly study the feeding, breeding and other habits, and the diseases of these animals,

(c) to provide all facilities to these animals for captive breeding and healthy growth of their brood, and

(d) to release and rehabilitate the young ones of these animals after a certain safe age into their natural habitats.

Several rehabilitation centres have been established in various states all over the country during the past decade. For instance, the Uttar Pradesh Government has established a rehabilitation centre for Musk deer at Kanchula Kharak near Chamoli. Similarly, a big rehabilitation centre has been established in Kukrail forest near Lucknow with a comprehensive plan for rehabilitation of a number of wild animal types (swamp deer, chinkara, chausingha, black deer, foxes, wild dogs, jackal, wild fowls, falcon etc.). Rehabilitation of turtles and crocodiles has so far been achieved here.

(ii) In-Situ conservation in India : In-situ conservation requires protection of wild animals in their natural habitats. Obviously, it necessitates conservation of terrestrial and aquatic natural habitats of the wild animals. These habitats are, therefore, declared as prohibited reserves.

According to the degree of environmental protection afforded, we have four types of reserves in our country as follows:

(a) National Parks (N.Ps) : They are areas maintained by government and reserved for betterment of wildlife. Cultivation, grazing, forestry and habitat manipulation are not allowed. There are 89 national parks (66 in 1988) in India, occupying nearly 1.1% of geographical area. The first national park of India was Jim Corbett National Park (1936). Some early national parks of world are Yellowstone Park (USA) and Royal Park (near Sydney, Australia).

(b) Sanctuaries : A sanctuary is an area, which is reserved for the conservation of animals only. Operations such as harvesting of timber, collection of minor forest products and private ownership rights are allowed provided they do not affect the animals adversely. At present, there are 492 wild life sancturaries in our country covering over one lac square kilometres, i.e., about 3% of India geographical area.

(c) Tiger Reserves : Fast decreasing census of the Royal Bengal Tiger prompted the Indian Government in 1972 to declare the tiger as National Animal, and to launch a special “Project Tiger” to save this magnificent member of our natural bounty from extinction. The project was spearheaded in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) with substantial financial help from this international body. Some of the national parks and sanctuaries were declared as special “Tiger Reserves" under this project by central legislation. These reserves are controlled by state governments, but funded by both central and state governments. Each reserve has a highly protected and strictly prohibited central, core area of about 300 or more sq. km., and a sizable, peripheral, buffer zone with permission of limited, conservation-oriented human activities. Originally, 9 reserves were declared, but 10 more have since been added. Besides tigers, these reserves are also protecting other threatened species. The 19 reserves are as follows :


The National Parks and Sanctuaries of India

S. No.



Special characteristics


Corbett national Park

Around Ramganga river, Ramnagar, Dhikola, Distt. Nainital. U.P.

First and Finest N.P.; Richest in biodiversity of threatened species.


Manas National Park

Around Manas river, Barpeta Road, Assam,

Largest population of elephants. Hispid hare and pigmy hog are found only here.


Sunderbans National Park

Estuarine and highly saline marshy forest between Hoogly and Tetulia rivers in West Bengal.

Largest tiger population. World-famous man-eating tigers.


Palamu National Park

Around Koel river near Chhota Nagpur, Daltenganj, Bihar

Presence of tuskless male elephants is a speciality


Ranthambhor National Park

Around Aravali and Vindhyachal ranges, Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan

Smallest tiger reserve.


Melghat National Park

Near Tapti river, Ghaurilagarh hills, Maharashtra



Kanha National Park

Around Sarpan river in Kanha valley,Mandla, Distt. Belaghat, Madhya Pradesh

Swamp deers or barahsingha are the jewels of this reserve.


Bandipur National Park

Between Negarhole, Wynad and Mudumalai parks along west coast, Karnataka

Known as best habitat for elephants.


Simlipal National Park

Around 12 rivers in Mayur Bhanj, Bihar



Namdapha National Park

Around 3 hill rivers, Miao Distt. Tirap, Arunachal Pradesh

Known for rare leopards. Easternmost abods of many threatened species


Sariska National Park

Aravali range, Thana Gazi, Sariska, Alwar, Rajasthan



Dudhwa National Park

Near Sohali-Neora river, Dudhwa, Lakhimpur Kheri, U.P.

Rhinoceros reintroduced and is surviving.


Buxa National Park

Near Sunkosi river and Manas tiger reserve, West Bengal



Periyar National Park

Around Periyar river, Nilliampatti on Western Ghats, Kottayam, Kerala

Only abode of Nilgiri Tahr.


Indravati National Park

Around Indravati river, Bijapur, Distt Bustar, Madhya Pradesh

Ideal for wild buffalo.


Nagarjunasagar Sanctuary

Near Nagarjunasagar reservoir of Krishna river, Mallamalai Hills, Andhra Pradesh



Pench National Park

Pench, Distt, Seoni, Madhya Pradesh



Valmiki Sanctuary

At Indo-Nepal border to west of Gandak river, Distt. Champaran, Bihar



Kallakaddu Mundanthurai Sanctuary

Near Tambaravarni river, Distt. Tiruneveli, Tamil Nadu



Some Wild Life Sanctuaries and National Parks of India

S. No.

Name and Location

Area in Sq. Km.

Important Animals found


Nagarjuna Sagar (Ikshawaka Sanctuary)

Guntur, Prakasham, Kamool, Mahbubnagar & Nalgonda Distt. Andhra Pradesh


Tiger, panther, slothbear, wild bear, nilgai, chital, sambar, black buck, jackal, fox, wolf, muggar crocodile


Pulicat (Lake) Sanctuary

Nelore Distt, Andhra Pradesh


Flamingo, pelican, duck, teal, stork, crane, heron


Kaziranga National Park

Sibsagar, Jorhat Distt, Assam


Rhinoceros, elephant, wild buffalo, gaur, sambar, swamp deer, hog deer, wild boar, tiger, leopard, gibbon, python, pelican, stork, florican


Manas Sanctuary

Barpeta Distt, Assam


As in Kaziranga. Also wild dog, panther, golden langur, water monitor, great pied hombill


Hazaribagh Sanctuary

Hazaribagh, Bihar


Tiger, leopard, hyaena, wild boar, gaur, sambar, chital, nilgai, peafowl


Palamau Sanctuary

Daltongunj, Bihar


Elephant, panthor, leopard, wild boar, barking deer, gaur, chital, sambar, peafowl


Kaimur Sanctuary

Rohtas, Bihar


Tiger, leopard, chinkara, sambar, nilgai, crocodiles


Gir National park

Sasan-Gir, Junagarh Distt, Gujrat


Asiatic lion, panther, striped hyaena, sambar nilgai, chital, 4-horned antelope, chinkara


Sultanpur (Lake) Bird Sanctuary

Gurgaon, Haryana


Wild boar, crocodiles, python, green pigeon Sarus crane, spot bill, ducks, ruddy shell


Dachigam Sanctuary

Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir


Snow leopard, black & brown bears, hangul, musk deer, serow.


Shikari Devi Sanctuary

Mandi, Himachal Pradesh


Black bear, panther, snow leopard, goral, barking & musk deers, serow, flying fox, monal, chir, chukor, partridge


Govind Sagar Bird Sanctuary

Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh


Teal, ducks, goose,crane


Bandipur National Park

Mysore Distt. Karnataka


Elephant, tiger, panther, wild boar, wild dog, sloth bear, gaur, barking deer, 4-horned antelope, sambar, chital, malabar squirrel, green pigeon


Periyar Sanctuary

Idukki Distt. Kerala


Elephant, tiger, panther, wild boar, wild dog, sloth bear, gaur, nilgai, sambar, barking deer, black nilgiri langur, grey hornbill, egret


Kanha National Park

Mandla & Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh


Tiger, panther, wild boar, wild dog, gaur, barasingha, sambar, chital, black buck, nilgai, barking & mouse deers


Tadoba National Park

Chandrapur, Maharashtra


Tigar, panther, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, chital, nilgai, chinkara, crocodiles.


Pench National Park

Nagpur, Maharashtra


Tiger, panther, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, chital, nilgai, chinkara, barking deer, peafowl


Bhitar Kanika Sanctuary

Cuttack, Orissa


Salt water crocodile, leopard, hyaena, chital, sambar, giant squirrel, water monitor king cobra, python, storks, ibis.


Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary

Balagaon, Orissa


Flamingo, pelican, egret, ibis, cormorant crane, duck, sandpiper, curlew


Simlipal Sanctuary

Baripad, Mayurbhanj, Orissa


Tiger, leopard, elephant, wild boar, gaur, sambar, mouse deer, flying squirrel, mugger


Sariska (Project Tiger)

Alwar, Rajasthan


Tiger, Panther, wild boar, hyaena, sambar, chinkara, nilgai, 4-horned antelope, langur


Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary

Bharatpur, Rajasthan


Siberian crane, storks, herons, cormorant, spoon bill, egret, ibis, etc., sambar, chital, boar, python


Desert National Park

Jaiselmer, Barmer, Rajasthan


Great Indian bustard, black buck, chinkara


Annamalai Sanctuary

Coimbatore, Tamailnadu


Elephant, tiger, panther, sloth bear, wild dog, gaur, chital, sambar


Corbett National Park

Nainital Distt. Uttar Pradesh


Elephant, tiger, panther, sloth bear, wild boar, nilgai, sambar, chital, crocodiles, python, king cobra, peafowl, partridge


Jaldapara Sanctuary

Madarihat, West bengal


Rhino, elephant, tiger, leopard, gaur, deers, sambar, variety of birds


Sajnakhali Sanctuary

24-Parganas, West Bengal


Tiger, Wild boar, chital, storks, cormorant, herons, ibis, pelican, bittern, darter


Sundarbans (Tiger Reserve)

24-Parganas, West Bengal


Tiger, Wild boar, deers estuarine crocodile, gangetic dolphin.


(4) Threatened Species : Species of wild animals whose normal survival upon the earth is jeoparadised due to their destruction or destruction of their habitats by human beings are called threatened species.

Threatened species in India about 81 species of wild mammals, about 30 wild birds, about 15 bird reptiles and amphibians and many invertebrates are presently on the verge of extinction. Some important animals are following.

(i) Wild mammals on the verge of extinction include the lion, tiger, wolves, jackals, foxes, bears, civets, loris, most species of monkeys, scaly anteater (manis), snow leopard, rhinoceros, wild ass, wild pigs, musk deer. Kashmir stag and several other species of deers, black buck and other species of antelopes, flying squirrels, dolphins, porcupine, gaur, wild sheeps and goats, Gibbon, elephant, wild buffalo, etc.

(ii) Wild birds of our fauna at the verge of extinction mainly include white-winged ducks, swans, falcon, sea eagle, bamboo partridge, mountain quail, Indian skimmer, painted spur fowls, hornbill, bustard, pheasant, Sarus crane, etc.

(iii) Wild reptiles on the verge of extinction include several species of turtles, tortoises, crocodiles, gharial, monitor lizard, and poisonous snakes and python.

(iv) Wild amphibians on the verge of extinction include viviparous toad and Himalayan newt.


List of Some Protected Indian Wild Life



Bharal (Ovis nahura)


Bison or gaur or mithun (Bos gaurus)


Black buck (Antelope cervicapra)


Capped langur (Presbytis pileatus)


Caracal (Felis caracal)


Chinkara or Indian Gazelle (Gazella gazella bennetti)


Chital (Axis axis)


Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)


Crab-eating macaque (Macaca irus umbrosa)


Fishing cat (Felis viverrina)


Flying squirrels (Petaurista, Eupetaurus, Belomys, Hylopetes. All species)


Four-horned antelope (Tetraceros quadricornis)


Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica)


Gaint squirrels (Ratufa macroura, R. indica, R. bicolor)


Golden cat (Felis temmincki)


Golden langur (Presbytis geei)


Gorals (Nemorhaedus goral, N.hodgsoni)


Himalayan black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus)


Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos)


Himalayan ibex (Capra ibex)


Himalayan crestless porcupine (Hystrix hodgsoni)


Hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus)


Hoolock or gibbon (Hylobates hoolock)


Hyaena (Hyaena hyaena)


Indian elephant (Elephas maximus)


Indian lion (Panthera leo persica)


Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata)


Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur)


Indian wolf (Canis lupus)


Kashmir stag or hangul (Cervus elaphus hanglu)


Leopard or panther (Panthera pardus)


Leopard cat (Felis bengalensis)


Lesser or red panda (Ailurus fulgens)


Lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus)


Loris (Loris tardigradus)


Malabar civet (Viverra megaspila)


Markhor (Capra falconeri)


Musk deer (Moschus moschiferus)


Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus)


Nilgiri langur (Presbytis johni)


Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius)


Otters (Lutra lutra, L. perspicillata, Aonyx cinerea)


Pallas?s cat (Felis manul)


Pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina)


Pigmy hog (Sus sulvanius)


Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)


Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)


Sambar (Cervus unicolor)


Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus)


Slow loris (Nycticebus coucang)


Snow leopard (Panthera uncia)


Swamp deer or gond (Cervus duvauceli, all species)


Tibetan antelope or chiru (Panthelope hodgsoni)


Tibetan fox (Vulpes ferrilatus)


Tibetan gazelle (Procapra picticaudata)


Tibetan wild ass (Equus heminonus kiang)


Tiger (Panthera tigris)


Wild buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)


Wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus)


Wild pig (Sus scrofa)


Wild yak (Bos grunniens)



Estuarine crocodile (crocodilus porosus)


Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)


Leathery turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)


Marsh crocodile (Crocodilus palustris)


Monitor lizards (Varanus griseus, V. bengalensis, V. flavescens, V. salvator, V. nebulosus)


Pythons (Python molurus, P. reticulatus)



Cheer pheasant (Catreus wallichii)


Great Indian bustard (Choriostis nigriceps)


Great Indian hornbill (Buceros bicornis)


Jerdons?s courser (Cursorius bitorquatus)


Large falcons (Falco peregrinus, F. biarmicus, F. chicquera)


Mountain Quail (Oppassia superciliosa)


Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)


Pink-headed duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea)


Sclater?s monal (Lophophorus sclateri)


Siberian white crane (Grus leucogeranus)


Tragopan pheasants (Tragopan species)

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