How To Protect Endangered Animals In India

Learn unique and practical ways to save critically endangered animals species from complete extinction

endangered animals

India is home to diverse species of animals. The varied topographical terrain allows the coexistence of different animals. However, as decades pass by, the life of animals are at stake owing to the rising level of pollution, uncontrolled wildlife trade practices, crime & corruption in management practices, habitat destruction, and the long list will go on.

Within such a scenario India is no exception. Rhinos, vultures, Royal Bengal tigers, lions are on the primary list of endangered species that has the potential to go extinct shortly if timely intervention is not undertaken. Given the precarious situation environmentalist, conservationists may easily get discouraged and de-motivated to save the animals. Nonetheless, we should not lose hope in this endeavor. The list for protecting endangered animals is endless, therefore I will try to point some of the many important ways we could undertake in the conservation of endangered species in India.

Some of the ways to protect endangered animals are outlined below:

how to save endangered animals

Following these eight steps, we can save endangered animals not only in India but in the entire world:

1) Economic incentives

Programs offering cash in lieu of conservation activities should be implemented in India because this step has successfully reduced the accelerated rate of poaching in places like Mexico and Uganda. Thereby a decrease in poaching of animals like elephants in Africa could be noticed. 

Shifting the focus to income accounting for natural assets i.e., ecosystem services on a routine basis can make the nation responsible for the conservation of endangered species. Here income accounting is similar to calculating the GDP of the country. In this way, it will act as an incentive for the citizens to take animals seriously just like they take care of their individual economic position.

2) Creating exclusive space for animals

Overhunting can reduce the populations of many animals. For that to stop, bio reserves or natural parks should be constructed so that human exposure to animals could be lessened.

Promoting sustainable use of natural resources with a justifiable scientific basis can help in securing the conservation of species

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One of the effective ways to do so is the designation of protected areas. According to the UNEP-WCMC, a protected area is an area of land/sea that is dedicated particularly to the protection of flora and fauna managed through effective legal or other means. Extensive systems of protected areas can be developed into national parks, state/provincial parks, wildlife refuges, and nature reserves. Well-planned & managed protected areas benefit endangered animals, by protecting them both from human intervention and unnecessary scientific experimentation, wherein animals are subjected to rigorous experiments. Thereby, increasing the rate of animal conservation. 

3) Use of next generation technology

Artificial intelligence-powered smart cameras can be used to catch poachers and track wildlife populations. In West Bengal, Sundarbans, smart collar cameras have been tied on the body of Royal Bengal tigers, so that not only the number of tigers could be tracked but also poachers could be caught quite easily. The model became an overnight success and require mass-scale implementation.

If this can be applied to the rhinos in Assam, and so on then to a certain extent we could protect the endangered animals.

Application of Tambe’s PAWS system along with SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) software can also be used to detect where the poachers will be working or where animals are in danger, and also to pave the best patrol routes for the rangers. This can be used in the context of effective trapping of poachers within a short time.

In Cambodia with the use of AI-enabled systems, poaching traps could be tracked more than five times than before.

Similarly, utilizing advanced population simulation models in conservation planning workshops can help to mitigate the crisis of extinction. These simulation models with their use of cutting-edge technology can help in extracting information (annual offspring production, survival capacity, and habitat need) about the biology of the endangered species so that the future of the species population could be discerned. Henceforth timely assessment of the population could lead to prioritization of necessary conservation activities.

4) Captive breeding

The technique of captive breeding and reintroduction could be introduced in India. In other words, endangered animals could be brought into captivity to either safeguard them from imminent extinction or increase their population numbers.

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The most direct and tangible goal of the captive breeding program is to establish populations via controlled breeding. A step like this will ensure that the population is capable of being resistant to disease or can consistently reproduce and at the same time able to preserve the gene pool.

Such captive breeding programs have found success for scimitar-horned oryx, Przewalski’s horse, etc.  And in these cases, zoos can help in implementing this strategy. However, to effectively implement these programs usage of studbooks is necessary. Studbooks are logbooks that can be used to document all the information regarding animals like their demographic stability animal, genetic diversity, parentage, behavioral traits, etc. Hence these studbooks can act as reference points for making recommendations regarding which animals should be given priority, how often should they be bred, and with whom to breed to enhance the population of endangered animals.

Secondly, through captive breeding, reintroduction of animals to their natural habitat to re-establish their population could also be followed in India. Through reintroductions animals from wild populations, can be introduced to an area where the animals are slowly on the verge of extinction. So that survival of endangered animals could be ensured. However, reintroduction is only possible if the rate of survival is high.

Here, the survival chance depends on 3 factors:

  • Whether any pre-existing threats are present or not?
  • If exists, is there any chance that it can be mitigated?
  • Whether there is sufficient habitat for the animals to re-establish their population?

5) Strict international regulation

Illegal international trade of different body parts of different wild species, especially of endangered species exists in reality.

Strict banning of the international trade in products made from endangered species is the need of the hour. By doing so, we can reduce the targeted killing of endangered species to a great extent.

Stringent laws need to be formulated if we want to save animals for the balance of the ecosystem. Formulation of laws is just the first step but careful and concerted implementation is necessary if we indeed want to save the endangered species. Educating people, involving the various stakeholders related to the ecosystem need to be involved.

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6) Scientific research

An in-depth understanding of the species, its habitat, and the ways human activities threaten the possibility of survival need to be undertaken. And for that to happen combination of extensive research and collaboration of people outside the scientific community must be encouraged.

7) Understanding human behavior

Analyzing human behavior and consumption pattern can help in reducing the demand for the consumption of endangered animal products. As we know human behavior is one of the key factors for the existence of endangered animals.

Through intensive research on human behavior, consumption, and demand patterns, the public attitude towards such consumption of products can help in discerning the ways of protecting wildlife. Only after analyzing the factors like lifestyle, habits, value system, individual motivation, social class, status, and culture of an individual, we can undertake specific marketing strategies, which in the long run can reduce the demand for such products.

Therefore, multidisciplinary research should be encouraged wherein social psychology, consumer behavior, sociology, and market economics can be brought together to understand the various underlying factors influencing human consumption behavior.

8) Spreading awareness

Raising public awareness through constant advocacy campaigning, poster making, community workshops can ramp up the conservation process. For instance, Africa is making a headway presence in the domain of campaigning by highlighting the poaching crisis and how it is impacting the image of the countries in a global scale.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can also be used effectively in order to spread mass-scale awareness programs.

Editor’s Note

Protecting endangered species comes under our moral responsibility. Our dream of a sustainable world cannot be achieved without saving these endangered animals from possible extinction.

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