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Tue 21st of November 2017

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Wildlife Action Plan – 2017-2031
  • Wildlife Action Plan – 2017-2031 The Wildlife Action Plan is a roadmap for the conservation of wildlife in the country.

  • It was first proposed in 1982 by the National Board of Wildlife, the apex body for wildlife-related matters headed by the PM.

  • The first National Wildlife Action Plan was implemented for 1983-2001 by Ministry of Environment and Forests.

  • The NWAP-2 improved on NWAP-1 for 2002-16 based on changing needs.

  • The government had set-up a committee headed by JC Kala to review the functioning of NWAP-2.

  • The committee based on the evaluation of the NWAP-2 drafted the new National Wildlife Action Plan, NWAP-3 for the period 2017-31.

Key Highlights 

  • The Plan is based on the premise that essential ecological processes that are governed, supported or strongly moderated by ecosystems, are essential for food production, health and other aspects of human survival and sustainable development.

  • And maintenance of these ecosystems which can be termed as ‘Life Support Systems’ is vital for all societies regardless of their stage of development.

  • It also emphasizes on other two aspects of living resource conservation viz. preservation of genetic diversity and sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems which has direct bearing on our scientific advancements and support to millions of rural communities.

  • The Plan adopts landscape approach in conservation of all uncultivated flora and undomesticated fauna that has ecological value to mankind irrespective of where they occur. Landscape approach takes a holistic view looking not just at biodiversity but also local economy, agriculture, ecotourism, etc.

    For the first time, it aims to manage the threat to endangered species from free-ranging domestic animals such as dogs, cats, etc.

  • It accords special emphasis to rehabilitation of threatened species of wildlife while conserving their habitats which include inland aquatic, coastal and marine eco-systems. It also takes note of concerns relating to climate change on wildlife by integrating it in to wildlife management Planning.

  • It underlines the fact that despite being one of 12 mega biodiversity countries of the world, national planning has not taken serious note of adverse ecological consequences of reduction and degradation of wilderness areas from the pressures of population, commercialization and development projects.

  • Accordingly, the plan has brought to focus the alarming erosion of our natural heritage comprising of rivers, forests, grasslands, mountains, wetlands, coastal and marine habitats arid lands and deserts.

  • The plan underscores the increasing need for people’s support for conservation of wildlife and to this effect recommends strengthening the ‘core buffer multiple use surround’ structure with higher inputs for eco-development, education, innovation, training, extension, conservation awareness and outreach programs. Wildlife health is yet another area which receives attention in this Plan.

  • Management of tourism in wildlife areas with related plough back mechanism, development of Human resource and Staff welfare has undergone reorientation in the Plan.

  • The plan is alive to communities, inhabiting forest lands and other wilderness areas, to be treated appropriately in the light of Forest Rights Act and their inadequacy of resources and strong dependence on natural biomass resource.

  • The plan takes note of and addresses rising human animal conflict owing to shrinkage , fragmentation and deterioration of habitats generating animosity against wild animals and protected areas.

  • According to the NWAP-3, by 2025 drones may monitor the highly sensitive Protected Areas (PAs) to check against poaching.

  • Besides promoting use of drones for surveillance, the plan talks about using mobile technology to develop digital field guides’ for easy identification of various wildlife goods and their derivatives

  • It urges the Water Resource Ministry to “opt for minor irrigation relying on check dams, ponds, wells and other appropriate water harvesting units”, instead of big irrigation projects which affect the ecosystem.

  • The plan also said that there is an urgent need for defining euthanasia and mercy killingto tackle terminally ill animals and human-wildlife conflict.The subject of euthanasia among the wild animals has remained a sensitive subject as it amounts to hunting, according to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

  • The action plan suggested the environment ministry to collaborate with Doordarshan to set up an exclusive channel ‘DD-Prakriti’ for promoting awareness about nature conservation in India.

  • The draft plan also calls for new regional forensic laboratories, a Special Tiger Protection Force, and setting up of special courts to deal with wildlife crime like poaching and smuggling.

  • The plan seeks to ban all mining and big irrigation projects in the wildlife areas.

Although it encourages tourism, it also states that “tourism exists for the PAs (Protected Areas) and not vice versa” and hence, aims to regulate tourism. Protected Areas (PAs) are geographical areas demarcated for the conservation of the entire ecosystem including the biodiversity and cultural values. National parks, wildlife sanctuaries, biosphere reserves, etc. are some of the examples of PAs.

Where does the plan lack? 

  • The NWAP-3 is silent on various aspects such as the wildlife outside forests which includes wolves, leopards, elephants living on farmlands, wildlife diseases, plan to stop invasive alien species, etc.

  • Use of drones may be seen as a violation of the privacy of local people and may even be used to exploit them.

  • The plan is silent on how feral dogs can be managed.

  • Although it claims to have a landscape approach, the plan doesn’t see any wildlife livingbeyond forest boundaries. Hyenas, wolves, great Indian bustards, leopards, and even tigers and elephants live in farmlands. There’s not a word on how to manage these populations nor any mention of grasslands.

  • Neither the Wildlife Protection Act nor the draft action plan deal with the range of situations where wildlife and people interact. This head-in-the-sand attitude becomes a problem when dealing with conflict situations.

  • The action plan belabours under an archaic understanding of animal biology. It diagnoses the cause of conflict. The prescriptions to remedy the situation are vague, such as “reduce adverse impacts,” create a database, and promote better land-use.

  • This section shows little understanding of wildlife diseases. For instance, it recommends vaccinating dogs that live around wildlife habitats. This would prevent the spreading of canine distemper.

  • The plan doesn’t offer any actions to stop the invasion by species that don’t belong here. It wants a national policy by 2018, but before drafting it, the plan wants a complete inventory and mapping of species and area.

  • This isn’t a comprehensive review of the plan. The chapters on wetland and coastal conservation, wildlife tourism, and people’s rights are just as vague and unscientific. It’s as if the committee suffers from amnesia, ignoring the debates, scientific progress, and experiences of the past decade.

    What’s worse: this plan is to guide conservation for 14 long years. To be effective, it needs to be flexible enough to absorb scientific advances and learn from experiences.

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Prelims Question of the Day

With reference to 'Natural Rate of Unemployment', consider the following statements.

1. It is the level of unemployment in an economy that is just consistent with a stable rate of Inflation.

2. It is the unemployment that prevails when all markets in the economy are in equilibrium.

 

(a)1 and 2

(b)2 only

(c)1 only

(d)None of the above

Mains Question of the Day

1.GS-No party in power can afford to ignore Directive Principles of State Policy. Comment.(200 Words)

2.Political Science - Explain the role of non state actors, like IMF, World Bank, European Union and MNCs, in modulating and transforming the broad dynamics of international relations. (250 Words).

3.SOCIOLOGY - What is the impact of Globalization on the structure and mobilization of the working class in India? (250 Words).

Sociology - Thinkers