WLIFE Displacement, poaching, shrinking forest habitat, expansion of human settlements into protected and fragile areas have all played a role in increasing human-wilderness encounters that have caused irreparable harm on both sides. That recent sneaking around of the bear and cubs in the heartland of Srinagar is but an epilogue to a long line of Wanderings through wild animals in inhabited places. These episodes, which are increasing in frequency, are causing both social concern and environmental alarm. We could, in our complacency, ignore or marginalize the seriousness of these problems, but that will only amount to turning a blind eye to the complexities and intricacies of a web of factors on which human life itself depends. Visible signs in the form of climate change, wildlife disruption, and global warming are but a footnote to the biosphere’s precarious state, alerting us to the looming catastrophe that looms far over the horizon. We are still unaware of the real seriousness of the situation and seldom understand that talk of endangered species only accelerates our own extinction, that shrinking wildlife sanctuaries directly imply insecurity in our own homes, and that biosphere imbalance is only a subtle matter path to suicide. Our neglect of encounters between the growing human and the wild, and the complacency rooted in indifference to issues of ecological and biotic importance, have brought us to the virtual precipice of vulnerability to all shades of disaster.
Ignorance may not be as deadly as indifference, and in the womb of our indifference fester problems beyond our control. The masses may have a vague idea of factors leading to climatic and ecological imbalances – but they do have an idea, no matter how vague. But authorities, agencies and institutions entrusted with the conservation of wildlife, forests and ecosystems have a clear idea of their work, its criticality and finesse. But is this knowledge and competence witnessing a change on the ground – the facts, priorities and sensitivities on the ground speak for it Opposite.
In pursuit of comfort, luxury, and meeting our aesthetic standards, we refrain from not only violating the balance of life support, but also violating the rights of animals – in this case, wild animals. “A good deed to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed to a human being, while cruelty to an animal is as bad as cruelty to a human being,” quotes Sira Abdul Rehma from the Prophet of Islam in one of his paper.
Superficiality will not work here, and if we want to understand the man-wild dynamics in all their color and complexity, the pervasive material culture, the never-ending human greed, and the identification of self with nature’s “explorer” and “exploiter” rather their “guardians” and “supervisors” cannot be discounted. A change in the way we view wildlife, forests, the environment, and creation as a whole cannot be brought about unless there is a principle that emphasizes ideals and goals higher than material comfort, sensual pleasure, and the rape of the earth and the robbing of its resources without regard or foresight the adverse consequences.
As forest cover thins, wildlife will be deprived of shelter and will inevitably venture into residential areas. The equation is as simple as that – if you violate my premises, I’ll hit back. But what to do at a time when the demand for forest lumber is growing and there is a growing appetite to decorate our homes at the expense of reckless tree felling? This problem, if it is to be resolved, must be tackled from all angles, and that requires a cooperative and selfless contribution from a range of agencies. First and foremost is the need to formulate an exhaustive and exclusive wildlife and forest policy that outlines the do’s and don’ts related to forest and wildlife. Forests must be classified and preserved according to their criticality and fragility, and any violation of wildlife laws must be deterred by severe penalties. This is in the interest of society as a whole and everyone needs to remember this fact. There is an urgent need to look for wood alternatives for construction and other non-essential works. In fact, a large amount of material already exists Fashion and all it takes is to raise awareness, bring a legal perspective, and make these alternatives cheap and affordable. Another concern is to provide alternatives to nomadic tribes, who normally use forest trees for fuelwood, and to stop their ruthless felling of trees or provide zones from which they can meet their fuelwood needs. All of this may seem like a digression from our primary concern of minimizing and eventually eliminating human-wildlife encounters, but a brief pause is enough to illustrate the fact that these are indeed the causes of this clash and a remedy is sure to give us a break from the recurring episodes of human-wildlife conflict. We must seriously choose and decide whether to live in harmony with nature or in a state of perpetual war with her, remembering that no species can survive when at war with nature.
- The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of the Kashmir Observer
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