Significance of Wildlife and Wildlife Day 2021

Animals that live or grow in the wild without any human interference are known as wildlife. Wildlife found in all ecosystems conventionally refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all plants, fungi, and other organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife in distinct forms is observed in deserts, forests, rain forests, plains, grasslands and other areas including the most developed urban areas. It is believed that the Stone Age people and hunter-gathers depended wildlife, both animals and plants, for their food. Today hunting, fishing, and gathering wildlife is still a significant food source in some countries of world. Historically, humans have tended to separate civilization from wildlife in a number of ways including the legal, social, and moral sense. Has anyone thought that how would the globe look without nature and wildlife? It would be as dead as barren fields. The beauty that one gets to explore on his/her holidays will be turned into giant desolate place. Wildlife enriches the ambience with its exceptional way of existence and beauty. All major religions of the world viewed animals as a special part of God’s creation and worthy of consideration and respect. Historically, humans have tended to separate civilization from wildlife in a number of ways including the legal, social, and moral sense. Mankind is responsible for whatever it has at its disposal, including animals, plants, environment whose rights must be respected. The Holy Qur’an, the Hadith, and the history of Islamic civilization offer many good examples of kindness, mercy, and compassion for animals. According to Islamic principles, animals have their own position in the creation hierarchy and humans are responsible for their well-being and food. It is sad that global wildlife population has decreased according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund since 1970. In recent years the growing concern with environmental issues and their impact on general awareness is one of the most noticeable phenomena worldwide. The wildlife comprises all living organism (plants, animals, microorganisms) in their natural habitats which are neither cultivated or domesticated nor tamed. But in its strictest sense, it includes uncultivated mammals, reptiles, birds and fishes etc. The importance of wildlife are as (a) Ecological Balance: The Wildlife maintains balance of nature through‐ (i) Regulation of population of different species. (ii) Food‐chains or passage of food and energy through series of populations comprising producers, consumers and micro‐organisms. (iii) Natural cycles or circulation of inorganic nutrients between biotic and abiotic environments. (b) Gene Bank: The Wildlife serves as a gene banks for breeding improved varieties in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery. Plant and animal breeders have been able to produce high‐yielding and disease‐and‐stress resistant varieties which form the backbone of modern agriculture. Hence, gene bank maintenance is essential. (c) Pollination in certain plants is performed by wild animals like birds; insects etc .and thus help in plants propagation, which is very essential. (d) Cleaning of Environment: Scavengers and decomposers wild animals (like vultures, eagles, jackals, hyaenas etc.) as well as micro‐organisms, which feed upon dead animals, convert them into different nutrients and release energy back to the nature increasing fertility of the soil. They do very important work of cleaning the environment; otherwise what the fate of this planet will be, can be assumed. (e) The wildlife is very important for Scientific purpose. Wildlife is useful for research purposes and studies of anatomy, physiology, ecology, evolutionary aspects (f) The wildlife is very important for Soil Erosion. It is prevented by plant cover, litter, mixing of litter by movement of wild animals and conversion to spongy humus by micro‐organisms. (g) The wildlife is very important for Control of Pollution (h) The wildlife is very important for Perennial Fresh Water (i) The wildlife is very important for Maintenance of Climate (j) The wildlife is very important for research experiments as we get support from experimental animals like Monkeys, Rabbits, Guinea‐pigs, Rats etc. (j) The wildlife has economic importance as many products of wildlife that folks enjoy in everyday life. Timber, firewood, paper, gum, resins, tannins, several drugs, essential oils, spices, silk, honey, wax, hair, feathers, guano (the dung of sea‐fishes used as manure or the manure made from fish), leather, musk, ivory etc. are obtained from wildlife. Besides these, benefits are also obtained from: Tourists, Exports, Hide, ivory etc. after death of wild animals; though now‐a days it is legally banned and not in practices. (k) Presently cultivated/domesticated plants and animals are derived from wildlife; new foods, beverages (A beverage is a type of plant product used by everyone daily which contains analkaloid called caffeine having the stimulative action in the human body e.g. tea, coffee, cocoa etc. It is also fragmented product of the plant), drugs and other useful products may be obtained in future from wildlife. Wildlife and nature have largely been associated with humans for numerous emotional and social reasons. A simple stroll around the park amidst some birds provides a fresh breath of life and charges our batteries. Apart from a bird feeder in the backyard, we can also take up other active pastimes, such as hiking, hunting, canoeing or wildlife photographing to relieve our parched nerves. Since prehistoric times, animals have been highly useful to us in providing food, clothing and source of income. Wildlife plays an essential role in the ecological and biological processes that are yet again significant to life. The normal functioning of the biosphere depends on endless interactions amongst animals, plants, and micro organisms. This, in turn, maintains and enhances human life further. To add on, these ecological processes are vital for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and other endeavors that support human life. Besides, there are several biological processes where in wildlife plays a key role, such as pollinization, germination, seed dispersal, soil generation, nutrient cycling, predation, habitat maintenance, waste breakdown, and pest control. Benefits to Science, Agriculture, & Medicine Studies indicate that wood peckers are capable of destroying 90% of codling moth larvae residing under the bark of trees. This shows the significance of wildlife and wildlife habitat for preserving genetic diversity. Hence, places where agriculture, forests, and fisheries depend on crops or stocks can ensure that such living resources are enough to withstand the ever‐increasing list of threats. Further, in medicine, development of new drugs and treatments are largely dependent on wildlife and wildlife habitat. Interestingly, most pharmaceutical products are a result of discovering or developing wildlife species and not discoveries through the traditional chemistry principles. Today, most medicinal remedies contain atleast one ingredient derived from a wild plant or animal. Biodiversity is the different variety of living beings within an ecosystem or in our planet. It is a measurement on the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity also take part in the function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical are as are rich in species where as polar are as support lesser species. Biodiversity provide stability to the ecosystem and maintains the ecological balance. Plants and animals in ecosystem are linked to each other through food chain and food web. The loss of one species in the ecosystem affects the survival of other species. Thus the ecosystem becomes fragile. The conservation of biodiversity is in evitable for the survival of men. Wildlife conservation is the preservation, protection, and restoration of the endangered species. Wildlife represents all the wild animals and birds living in their natural habitats. We have many rare animals, birds on earth. However, the pressure of increasing population has led to the extinction of them. The major threats to Wildlife are (a) Loss of habitat: Natural wild life habitat areas are diminishing each year because of human invasion. (b).Climatic changes: Plants and wildlife are sensitive to climates so, they will be harmed by any change in it. (c) Pesticides and toxic chemicals: Pesticides make the environment toxic to certain plants, and animals. In addition to it, many chemicals are toxic to wildlife including mercury, petroleum by‐products, solvents etc. (d) Hunting: Unregulated hunting, mismanagement of forests cause a major threat to wildlife. (e) Natural calamities: Floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, lightning, forest fires etc. destroy wildlife. (f) Pollution: Pollutants released into the environment cause danger to a wide variety of organisms. (g) Over‐exploitation: Exploitation of wild populations for food has resulted in their extinction (over‐ fishing etc). (h) Accidental deaths: Accidental deaths of animals and birds are also a threat to wildlife. (i) wildlife trade continues to pose a real danger to biodiversity, ecosystems and human health. It is appreciating that many steps are taken for wildlife conservation. The aim of wildlife conservation is to ensure that nature will be there for the future generations to live. In addition, another one is to teach the importance of wildlife to human beings. There are many government agencies dedicated for wildlife conservation and they implement policies designed to protect wildlife. A number of independent nongovernment organizations also promote the conservation of wildlife. It is true that tons of the wildlife lovers have put a lot of efforts in saving the endangered species and many other creatures that are on the brink of disappearance. Those who haven’t done their bit in protecting the world from losing its verdant heritage must go through the following points and help the world in retaining the ecosystem that bestow oodles of benefits to the folks.
Today marks World Wildlife Day, a time to celebrate and raise awareness about plants and animals around the world. Wildlife Day which is celebrated every year on 3rd March is an important global annual event dedicated to wildlife. World Wildlife Day will be celebrated in 2021 under the theme “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”, as a way to highlight the central role of forests, forest species and ecosystems services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people globally, and particularly of Indigenous and local communities with historic ties to forested and forest-adjacent areas. This aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 12, 13 and 15, and their wide-ranging commitments on alleviating poverty, ensuring sustainable use of resources, and on conserving life land. The statistics says, between 200 and 350 million people live within or adjacent to forested areas around the world, relying on the various ecosystem services provided by forest and forest species for their livelihoods and to cover their most basic needs, including food, shelter, energy and medicines. Roughly 28% of the world’s land surface is currently managed by indigenous peoples, including some of the most ecologically intact forests on the planet. These spaces are not only central to their economic and personal well-being, but also to their cultural identities. Forests, forests species and the livelihoods that depend on them currently find themselves at the crossroads of the multiple planetary crises we currently face, from climate change, to biodiversity loss and the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This day will celebrate forest-based livelihoods and seek to promote forest and forest wildlife management practices that accommodate both human well-being and the long-term conservation of forests and promote the value of traditional practices that contribute to establishing a more sustainable relationship with these crucial natural systems. The animals and plants that live in the wild have an intrinsic value and contribute to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of human well-being and to sustainable development. World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that their conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human-induced reduction of species, which have wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts. Let us remind ourselves of our duty to preserve and sustainably use the vast variety of life on the planet. Let us push for a more caring, thoughtful and sustainable relationship with nature. It is concluded that on this day we remember like people can’t live without water, food and so many other things, animals and plants can never be fallen apart and their loss is in fact the loss of emerald heritage. Moreover, nature reserve authorities should strengthen propaganda and education on wildlife conservation, increasing the level of local people’s awareness of wildlife conservation. The universe together with all its richness and vitality is the work and art of Allah, that is, of the creator. It is Almighty Allah who created all animals and plants as pairs, in this way causing their procreation. Allah created man subsequently to all these. We are Allah’s vicegerents on the earth; it has been given us in trust. Elephants, pangolins, rhinoceros, sharks and tigers are among the most critically poached and trafficked species in the world. According to the UN, the biggest threat to wildlife is habitat loss, as well as overgrazing, farming and development. Habitat loss accounts for 80% of the loss in biological diversity. At the current rates of extinction, nearly 20% of the world’s species could be extinct within the next 30 years. The actions taken by each of us will determine the fate of the world’s wildlife. World is not our property which we can dispose of as we wish or as we are able. Nature was created by Allah and it belongs to Allah. Our duty, therefore, as Allah’s vicegerents and trustees is to show respect for the trust, and to preserve it carefully, in no way wasting its natural resources when using or consuming them.
( While Bilkees Nazir is a Research Scholar at University of Kashmir Srinagar, Dr Bilal Bhat is Associate Professor at the Statistics Department at S K University of Agriculture Sciences & Technology-SKUAST Shalimar Srinagar. Views are their own)

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