Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Maintaining Biodiversity clashes with human settlements

We wish to give preserve the tiger and the elephant and make laws to protect them. But when a tiger enters a human settlement and kills people, we have no rights for the protection of the people. Similarly elephants enter sugarcane fields or banana orchards and destroy crops, we have laws which prevent the people from harming them. They also stamp on people in their escapades into human settlements, and we cannot harm them as they are protected by law.(if one shoots an elephant,one can be prosecuted by law). But human persons are not protected by any law if he is harmed by an animal; for example tigers attack people as they are easy targets. Now, if we have to maintain the biodiversity of India, we must protect the tiger and the elephant. But can we allow wild animals to attack people? We are allowing that to happen now.Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act,1972 protects the tiger.Human settlements invariably come into contact with wild animals. Many kill little woodland creatures for food.Few forest dwellers use trip wires to protect themselves from wild hunters (like the big cats). Living on the edge,survival is more important than conservation of the wild life for the poor forest dweller. We neither gave him a space to survive in urban jungle nor did we provide him with a means of livelihood.There is a constant on-going battle for living space with forest dwellers and wild animals. The Forest rights Act 2006, recognises the right to protect regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest reserve which people have been conserving for sustainable use. In future, we may have to keep the wild animals only in zoos and not in National Parks. De-extinction is now possible.As it is the population of tigers has been reduced to 1706 individual animals,they can be saved in zoos only. It is at this time in history that we can see the lion, the tiger, and other animals of the Indian subcontinent in the wild. Soon they will be in only captivity. Indian people are in constant battle with nature for they have to survive too. Natural resources like natural forests are replaced by fields and settlements. We cannot help it, we cannot destroy ourselves to protect the beauty of the natural world. As 'de-extinction' is possible, one day we will revive the native animals and recreate a bigger National Park, when we can afford it. That is possible when we use science to preserve and serve humanity in the pursuit of progress and for eradicating poverty. We must investigate impact of policies  power, access to owning forest lands and the rights to control its resources. Can we hold the tribals accountable for loss of natural resources? No we cannot, they are having a sustainable economy. If we control their livelihoods, we are denying them their rights. We cannot eliminate their democratic rights. What is "right way of life" for the people may be not "the right thing to do" for preserving biodiversity We must build homes which would protect us from forest animals but at the same time not encroach on the forest lands or the forest cover. 

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