It was Wednesday, when I saw the email in my inbox where the title proclaimed in bold “Save the Species – Blogging Contest”. A contest that had everything to do with wildlife, and saving some animals that were nearing extinction. I immediately thought why me? I mean I have never gone to a national park, save Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which was close to where I stayed and I am not a conservationist. So like the curious cat, I clicked the link. One look at the pictures and you know that these are nature’s marvels, and we really don’t want to lose them. Soon I was angry, shocked and ashamed for thinking the way I did. Why you ask me? The list includes animals like Blackbuck, Malabar Gliding Frog, One-horned Rhinoceros, Bengal Tiger, Indian Hog Deer, Indian Bullfrog, Indian Wild Dog, Asiatic Elephant, Indian Peacock, Spectacled Cobra, Leopard, Asiatic Lioness and even the Indian Peacock. That’s right our Peacock! The National Bird! Now do I have your attention?
“Saawan mein jhoome more” this line is used in so many forms in our regional poems, movies. Rains and peacocks are symbolic symbiosis; imagine losing out on this wonderful bird, because we couldn’t care enough. And that is the very reason why me. This is the reason why it is people like us who need to be made aware of what we are about to lose. You see, all the nature Lovers (not that I aren’t one) and all the conservationist already care! We need to draft more people like you and me and learn to care about the animals that are nearing extinction – the animals that have almost lost this race between nature and man. Yes there is still a small chance, little hope that these species can be saved, so why not do our bit in educating, and creating awareness about these creatures.
To see any of the animals become extinct will be a shame on our generation and society, but let’s start with the ones that are the most endangered.
How many of us think that the Garial is just another name for the alligator, and how wrong we are? It took me and my brother one long afternoon in May vacations, and a lot of encyclopaedia books to find out that this is a completely different species of reptile that was once indigenous to the Indian River banks. But now its occurrence is a small percentage of its former glory. It’s on the critically endangered list and the government is doing everything possible for its conservation. The long thin jaw with a pot shaped nose is a typical characteristic of this Reptile, and its name is derived from the Indian word ‘Ghara’ which the Hindi word for earthen pot. It is beyond sad that a reptile so native to the Indian Subcontinent is on the endangered species list.
Amongst the Gators and the Crocs,
It lies silently and stalks,
With a nose like a earthern pot,
Gharial, a dwindling lot.
The Indian Wild Ass:
With its sandy coat and erect dark mane, the Indian Wild Asses sure stand out from their African counterparts. Once they roamed the lands of India, Pakistan, Baluchistan and Iran, today their last refuge is in the Rann of Kutch in the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. Never hunted by the Maharajas or the British these animals were only prey to the Mughal hunting. But their downfall was nature, when they all suffered from a mysterious disease and most of the population succumbed to it. Creating a safe haven for the remaining population and trying to get their numbers up, is the least we can do for a beast that has had a glorious past.
The coat the colour of the sand,
Wild beast no burden or brand,
Inexplicable loss over decades spanned,
For them to be mighty, we should stand.
Lion Tailed Macaque
The Lion Tailed Macaque is one of the old world monkeys that are endemic to the South Indian Western Ghats. It is arboreal in nature, and lives on trees. It has Black hair all over its body and a black hairless face which is characterised by a white mane. That gives it the name “beard ape”. The increasing inhabitation and cultivation of forest land has led to The destruction of their habitat. They are known to avoid proximity to humans, and these factors have led to the dwindling numbers of the Lion Tailed Macaque. They are being bred and protected in some parts of southern India. For being among the few old world monkeys that survive, the conservation of Lion Tailed Macaque, is very important in preserving in crucial part of our nature.
Apes of the world old,
Many stories still be told,
Silver beard ancient wisdom hold(s),
Time we take them in our fold.
Some names on that list are known and some are unknown. The famous ones are our national pride, the unfamiliar ones we need to remember again. But the one thing all these animals have in common is that they are special because they are native to our land. And isn’t that reason enough to be a responsible citizen and help conserve all these animals?
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 .
PS: All Pictures Credit of here.