Hunting and killing of animals has become a form of recreation. Murdering humans is considered a crime. But killing and wiping out an entire genre is hardly given consideration. Hunting has tradition and the support of very powerful people on its side and with their influence and it has been left untouched by legislation – the Protection of Animals Act only covers captive and domestic animals. High officials, who are supposed to be the guardians of law, often abuse their powers to shield the rich and powerful. Our country is unique in having a significant number of tigers in the wild, inspite of growing population and resource extraction pressures on their habitat. Tigers are the heritage of our country, evoked in the vedas, puranas and many other literature for their unparalleled strength and aesthetic beauty. The destruction of forest coverage by Maoists may be one of the reasons for this decrease. Wild animals deaths were also reported from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Kerala, Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
We should know that we are not just animals, but that we belong to the same family tree as other mammals, that our physiology and bodily processes are just like theirs, and our mental processes too are from the same general pattern. The protection of the national animal has been a significant achievement till now. Hope this continues and leads to a significant rise in the coming years. Among animals, some are fewer in number than the others. If proper care and security are extended to them, the rare animals would survive. Only the future can tell whether national animal will survive to maintain the much-needed ecological balance. If we delay now, it might be too late.
Vinod C. Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)