India is not India without its wild animals. However, conservation of wildlife leads to misery for millions of people. It conflicts with the constitutional guarantee of people’s right to life and property. It amounts to knowingly causing death, injury or property damage, a crime under the Indian Penal Code. Successful conservation spells doom and gloom for more people. Preserving dangerous animals costs the country billions but we are dead against earning anything from this indulgence. All in the name of our love for wildlife.
Wildlife corridors, the darling of the nature lovers of India, are like an expensive antibiotic with serious side effects and no guarantee of cure. We invite ever more devastating fires by preventing benign and benevolent forest fires. We have derecognized all protected areas and reserve forests through the Forest Rights Act. The way we do our wildlife conservation is perplexing. Such conservation is neither sustainable nor desirable.
H.S. Pabla, former Chief Wild Life Warden of Madhya Pradesh, says that conservation of wildlife can be and must be done differently. It has to be based on commonsense, pragmatism, science and sensible laws.
Read this book to know how.
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Harbhajan Singh Pabla is the former Chief Wild Life Warden of Madhya Pradesh. Apart from doing the usual things that an Indian forester does, he nurtured his love for the wild while managing national parks like Kanha, Panna and Bandhavgarh. Along the way, he developed a penchant for challenging the stereotypes that have ruled the conservation mindset in the country so far. He introduced a culture of active wildlife management in India. When Panna lost all its tigers, he developed and implemented the tiger reintroduction plan that has given the world the confidence that wild tigers will always be around. He also reversed the local extinctions of gaur, blackbuck and barasingha through reintroductions. Thousands of animals have been moved between Indian parks since then, on the strength of the learnings from his initiatives. Despite his retirement from IFS, he still dreams of seeing the white tiger back in the wild. His wish list also includes seeing Indian foresters using horses for patrolling the wilderness. He believes that India will not be able to conserve its wildlife unless it becomes a tool for creating jobs for rural people and human-wildlife conflict is managed effectively. He has also worked as a forestry and wildlife management consultant in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
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