When commemoration of a host of days on various issues internationally has become a tradition for long, the World Wildlife Day just made its first tentative step on March 03 this year. The United Nations made the declaration only in December last. This undue delay speaks volumes about the kind of attention the world's flora and fauna receive across the globe. Sure enough, the adoption on March 03, 1973 of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) should be considered a precursor to this 2014 move because the convention was the first attempt to address the concern about species on the verge of extinction. The word 'trade in engendered species' says it all. It is a clear indication that man alone was and still is responsible for depletion of forests, habitats of many of the endangered species, and also direct annihilation of a number of these diverse animals and plants.
What needs to be recognised is that each plant or animal species is a unique creation without any replacement. When one such species disappears once for all, not only does the Earth become less diverse but also its loss can trigger a chain reaction of unpredictable proportion. Evolution is a slow process that has given rise to many species through a process of selection and rejection. There is no short cut. The predator-prey relationship is governed by subtle rules in order to maintain natural balance. Carnivores kill not for sport but for survival. It is the man who alone has hunted animals for the fun of it. Of course, he also kills for food but there is no limit to his act of mayhem. No other animal, not even the fiercest is driven by such an instinct to invite disaster on its food chain. Man spoils, according to one report, no less than one third of foods he prepares. It is this culture of wastage that has made of human beings a super predatory animal. Besides, explosives, poison and the arsenals they use during wars and even the fertiliser and insecticide they use for growing crops have pushed many faunas and floras either on to the brink of extinction or simply eliminated quite a large number already.
Against such a background, the pace of awareness building about saving the wildlife has to be speeded up in double quick time in order to make up for the lost time. Happily, simple people in a number of villages in this country have not only become inspired to protect birds but also provided shelter for them despite the fact of some inconveniences caused to their surroundings on account of the feathery friends' mass settling on trees, orchards or bamboo groves. But there is also an opposite picture elsewhere where bird hunters use poisonous baits to immobilise or kill migratory birds or people kill animals that sometimes come to villages because of lack of food in the sparse forests. The message is that effective wildlife campaigns are likely to be successful in refraining people from poaching. If people come to appreciate that their survival is interrelated with the survival of wildlife, they will treat all kinds of species with care.