Don't Be Environmentalist, Be An Earth Warrior

We Must Return To The Earth What We Take From It.

Welcome to Adhikari Foundation for Nature Conservation!

        The first national park in India was declared in 1935, now famous as the Corbett National Park. Since Independence, there has been a steady rise in the number of Protected Areas (PAs) (National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries), especially after the enactment of the Wildlife Protection Act in 1972. In 1988, there were 54 national parks and 372 sanctuaries covering a total area of 109,652 sq km.

        By the year 2000, this number had increased to 566, covering 1,53,000 sq km, or 4.66% of India’s geographical area. There are currently about 597 national parks and sanctuaries in India, encompassing 1,54, 572 sq km or 4.74% of the country’s geographical area. The latest review of the Wildlife Protected Area Network document brought out by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, recommends to bring the total area under the Protected Area network to 870, totaling 1,88,764 sq km or 5.74 % of the country’s geographical area. This would translate into 163 national parks covering 54,789 sq km or 1.67% and 707 sanctuaries covering 1,33,975 sq km, or 4.07 % of the countries geographical area. Recently, the Bombay Natural History Society, in collaboration with various NGOs and government, has identified 463 important bird areas (IBAs). Out of these 463 IBAs, 199 are not officially protected. Many of these IBAs are extremely important for bird and general biodiversity protection and should be included in the PA network system. Similarly, the Wildlife Trust of India along with the Asian Elephant Research and the Conservation Centre have identified 88 elephant corridors that also need protection and lie outside the PA network Besides the official PAs, there are numerous sacred groves, scattered all over the country, that are important for biodiversity conservation. Some sacred groves represent forest types that have disappeared from the area. Besides sacred groves, there are many small community conserved areas.

        Many villagers do not allow hunting in their village ponds and lakes. These serve as excellent habitats for waterfowl. Similarly, the tribal reserves of Andaman and Nicobar are perhaps the best-protected forests left in these emerald islands. The present Protected Area network has many serious inadequacies. Several biological regions, communities and species are not or only partially represented, and most of the PAs are too small in size to give long-term viability. This could lead to genetic isolation of small populations and result in populations becoming unviable, endangered by all the classic threats of an island biogeographic situation There is thus an urgent need that the sanctity of the Protected Areas along with their surroundings and linkages, are preserved.