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India's Wildlife Heritage

India's Wildlife Heritage

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Authored by PRATHEEK PRAVEEN KUMAR. Comments welcome at prytheek@yahoo.com.
Authored by PRATHEEK PRAVEEN KUMAR. Comments welcome at prytheek@yahoo.com.

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Published by: Pratheek Praveen Kumar on Mar 10, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/28/2013

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INDIA’S WILDLIFE HERITAGE
India is fortunate to have been blessed with a myriad of wild flora and fauna byMother Nature. If not in gold or green-bucks, at least in green wealth, India is certainlyrich. From ages past, scientists, poets, writers and others have marveled at and extolledIndia’s wildlife heritage. Various animals and plants of various sizes have made Indiatheir home. The protection of these various, marvelous creatures is our bounden duty.However, of late, with the effects of globalization and industrialization, we have begun toignore these indispensable assets of ours. We will certainly regret this action in the longerrun. Or if not us, our descendents certainly will. Protecting it has to become our priority.In these days of indiscriminate deforestation and usage of natural resources, weshould make sure that our wildlife heritage is not lost. A sustainable use of resources insuch a way that it will not endanger the very survival of a species is the need of the hour.The delicate mechanisms of nature bring to mind the proverbial Damocles’s sword whichhangs from a single horse-hair. If it breaks, it falls down point-first onto the head of humanity. A dangerous thing indeed! If a single species is lost, then because of the natureof nature, all the organisms in its food web are adversely or favorably affected. This inturn has other consequences and in the end, the overall effect will be always negative.Negativity, unfortunately is a lot like the thermo-dynamical concept of entropy.Especially when it comes to nature. It always increases. If someone or something disturbsnature, the total effect is always negative. It however differs from entropy in a singularway; it is possible to reverse the flow of negativity, though with a large number of difficulties and tribulations. The haphazard and capricious way in which we are disposingof our biosphere is causing a huge increase in negativity which, needless to say will bedifficult to erase.India has about 350 different species of mammals, 1200 different species of birdswhich cover 14 percent of the world’s avifauna, 453 different species of reptiles, 182
 
different species of amphibians and 14500 different species of angiosperms. Also Indiaboasts 45000 plant species that constitute 6.4 percent of plant species on earth. TheAndaman and Nicobar islands alone house 2200 species of flowering plants and 120species of ferns. When all's said and done, India has 77000 species of animals, about50000 species of insects and about 13000 species of butterflies and moths. The sixteenmajor forest types of India are distributed in 10 distinctive biogeographic zones, having25 subdivisions and a much larger variety of ecosystems. All these facts and figures giveus just a bland, insipid view of the total richness of India’s ecosystem. The true picturecan come only when we visit the green, thriving forests of India.Visitors to India say that India has a particular ‘smell’. A dusty, inspiring odorfilled with adventure. Or something like that. One runs across similar words in variousaccounts of foreigners who have visited and lived in India for an extended period of time;especially in the hill stations. This ‘smell of India’ is nothing more than the odor of India’s forests. An odor that has led many of different countries to choose India over theirhomes. When people from other countries have done so, it must be but a ‘no-contest’ thatIndians feel too the same way about things, right? But no. Many in India, living right inour midst think and feel differently and resort to destroying the life of India via varied,cunning means that has made the Indian Government and the Indian people look onhelpless. A sad state of affairs, indeed.“A thing of beauty is a joy forever” said the great English poet John Keats,perhaps the greatest of the second generation of English Romantic poets. Reviled as a badpoet during his lifetime, his subtle prominence was acknowledged only much later. Atrue worshipper of beauty as noticed in his poems, he had given up a possible career insurgery to write poems and so would have been hit hard by this lackadaisical attitudetowards his work. He however had an eerie knack of hitting a nail on its head as can beevinced from the above quote. The aesthetic brilliance, beauty and peace provided by therichness of our wildlife heritage just cannot be overstated. According to our old Hinducustoms, man has to spend one-fourth of his life - the last part, incidentally, in our forests.This is to provide ourselves with a serene backdrop in which to analyze our life and

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