Hidden Indian Treasure
According to Science Daily, there are an estimated 8.7 million species on our planet, out of which only a meagre 1.3 million have been identified and described. Most of these species are concentrated in areas called ‘biodiversity hotspots’, areas that are rich in biodiversity but are under threat of disappearing. There are 36 identified hotspots scattered across the globe but surprisingly India is home to 4 of these hotspots namely; the Western Ghats, the Himalayas, the Indo-Burma region and the Sundaland. This variety of animal and plant life is also contributed by the diverse landforms found in our country.
In order to celebrate this wealth, we observe National Wildlife Week from the 2nd to the 8th of October. This practice began in the year 1952 as a collaborative effort of individual organizations, environmentalists and the Government to spread awareness of our native wildlife and the conservation practices employed.
But in this age of growing economic, infrastructural, technological advancement is wildlife and biodiversity really that important?
The short answer to this would be ‘Yes’
Our natural resources are the backbone of human civilization, biodiversity and wildlife are extremely valuable natural resources.
On the commercial front, wildlife tourism itself is one of the major contributors to the tourism sector in India, attracting people from all over the world. Another very crucial reason stating the importance of natural diversity is ‘interdependence’. Many fruiting trees are pollinated by bee species specific to them, extinction of such a species can lead to extinction of trees that depend on them causing a chain reaction devastating to both ecology and economy, and this is just one of the many examples. Moreover, at the current rate of loss of species diversity, a number of ecological balances and food chains are disrupted causing loss of livelihood for a number of tribes that depend on forest resources while living in harmony with the forest.
Our recent actions have brought this rich biodiversity to a decline. Our post-industrialization practices have caused the loss of species at a rate equivalent to mass extinction.
After reading all of this, if you still have doubts whether is loss of biodiversity really a problem,
Please note ‘we too are a part of the biodiversity and at this rate, we may cause our own extinction soon’.
Female golden oriole feeding on a Palash flower by Kayden Anthony
Banded Racer Snake by Kayden Anthony