NEW DELHI: Emphasizing on striking a balance between conservation and development, the Centre Monday released the National Wildlife Action Plan 2017-2031 that focuses on mitigating human-wildlife conflict, improving wildlife health and linking wildlife to climate change.
The current plan, third since 1983, calls for adopting a landscape approach for wildlife conservation, which is an advancement over the previous protected area-centric approach. There has been a growing criticism that consecutive governments have focused on development and wildlife conservation has taken a back seat.
The plan reviews the challenges and outlines strategies and actions to address them. It for the first time recognizes the concerns relating to climate change impacts on wildlife by integrating actions that need to be taken for its mitigation and adaptation into wildlife management planning processes.
It also addresses rising human-animal conflict owing to shrinkage, fragmentation and deterioration of habitats generating animosity against wild animals and protected areas. According to official data, at least one person has died, on average, every day due to attacks from tiger and elephants in last four years.
“There is a need to deal with conflicts between development and conservation and reconcile the two and mainstream conservation into development planning across sectors,” it says.
Underscoring the increasing need for people’s support for conservation of wildlife, it recommends eco-development, education, innovation, training, extension, and conservation awareness and outreach programs.
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.
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. It accords special emphasis to rehabilitation of threatened species of wildlife while conserving their habitats which include inland aquatic, coastal and marine ecosystems.