Monday, 13 July 2015


According to the chapter of Genesis in The Bible, God said -“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

In Biblical times,when God saw bad things happening on earth,he commanded Noah, a humble God fearing man to build a gigantic ark and take his family along with a pair of every animal into the covenant to save it from the fury that He was set to unleash on his disobedient children. 

Back then,the animals and a few of God's chosen ones may have survived the apocalypse of mass destruction but man yet did not learn his lesson. 

Centuries later, we have progressively continued to destroy many of God's beautiful creatures and frittered away the precious resources like the floras,faunas,rain forest areas, jungle cover and water bodies and have gradually brought our planet on her knees.

With our forests and jungles shrinking by the day,a new concrete and material world has emerged where the the beautiful species that once walked the earth in all their majesty and glory are now on the brink of mass extinction. 

Randomly let me just pick up just three endangered species,namely the -  Blackbuck, Leopard and the Asiatic Elephant to elucidate my point. 

1. Blackbuck: At the mention of it, anyone would think of 'Blackbuck' as the new slang for money. But how I wished they had learned to treasure these nimble-footed creatures in the same way as well! Over the decades, these beautiful doe-eyed species has seen a rapid decline due to poaching,predation and loss of habitat. With the population of these vulnerable species dwindling from 80,000 which was reported at the time of independence to 7000 as of 2013,at this rate the Blackbuck would become extinct before 2023 if stringent measures are not taken to protect these endangered species.

2. Leopard: According to a recent report in April 2015,the population of leopards in India is said to have dropped by a whopping 80% in hundred years! Poaching and loss of habitat are to blame. Since these species have largely been neglected as compared to the lion and tiger (thanks to the national animal status bestowed by India), thus the wild cats have topped the poacher's list. With leopards possessing the inherent quality to adapt to newer hunting grounds and changing preys (like hunting stray dogs and cats),the human-wildlife conflict has risen over the years. Thus it is common to hear of instances where leopards are seen frequenting in residential areas and lynched by residents or trapped in wells. In a frightening discovery,it was revealed that around 4,000 body parts and bones of leopards were recovered from the period of 1994-2013! With such barbarity displayed by humans towards leopards...will they make it? Only time will tell!

3. Asiatic Elephant: As Asia's population swells and wildlife habitats are industrialized or converted into farmlands,this in turn has resulted in fragmentation of the elephant habitat and given rise to the human-wildlife conflict. Thus it is not common to read in newspapers of pachyderms raiding farmers fields and damaging their crops while many a times they are even run down by speeding trains when crossing tracks. Elephants are even brought to big cities for functions where they are held captive when they are bound in chains, mistreated and even starved for days together! Many a times these loyal and family loving creatures are even poached upon and captured for their tusks, meat and skin!  According to a report by World Wildlife Fund, at the start of the 20th century, more than 100,000 Asian elephants existed, but their population has fallen by at least 50 per cent over the last three generations and they continue to decline even to this day. 

Throughout mankind, animals have always been man's best friend but we have been their nemesis. Many scientific discoveries and breakthroughs in research have come from them.Medicines and cures to different diseases and ailments are derived from them. We trace our evolution from their DNA. And this is how we choose to repay their kindness? 

Culturally,they add value to our life and beauty to our environment. They enrich us with knowledge of their immense contributions to humanity from the pages of history and religious scriptures. They add an element of fantasy and mystique to our bed-time fairy tales. 

When we closely observe them in the wild,we realize that there is much in common which binds our lives with them.Animals too lay emphasis on structural hierarchy and familial bonds.They too cherish the same values as us - of love,unity and loyalty. They too celebrate the birth of a young one and mourn together at the loss of a member of their tribe.All in all, we understand that they are not just intelligent species but sensitive living beings too. And yet,we choose to mercilessly wipe away their existence from our planet...I can't fathom why?

Newton once said, 'Every action has an equal and opposite reaction'!And in the dynamics of the functioning of our ecosystem,this theory holds true as well! In the food chain pyramid,every animal and creature has their purpose and importance. They depend on one another and we on them.It is the cycle of life. If we shift the equilibrium whereby even if one specie were to become extinct,then this fine balance would be disturbed and it would have a rippling effect which would ultimately lead to the annihilation of the entire human race. 

These were just three species that I mentioned of, but there are thousands such animals, birds and reptiles that cry for our mercy,compassion and protection.Time is of the essence... we have to act now before it is too late! It shouldn't so happen that the species which once walked the earth soon become history. I shudder at the thought that a day would come when our children would learn of animals such as lions, tigers, deer, elephants etc. through text books or watch them on Youtube and innocently ask us - 'Where are they now?'

How are we going to answer our young ones? 
Are we prepared for these answers? 
And what is our legacy to posterity going to be? 
Is it going to be a parched, barren, conflict-ridden concretized world? 
Or a symphony of harmony where nature,animals and humans learn to co-exist as they live, interact and respect one another?

We may have survived the Ice Age and escaped the premonition surrounding 2012...but we might not be lucky the third time around! 
The choice now lies in our hands!

I am participating in the Save the Species contest for the book “Capturing Wildlife Moments in India” in association with Saevus Wildlife India,  read the reviews for the book ‘Capturing Wildlife Moments in India’ here
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