Saturday, January 20, 2007

Wildlife Conservation – Seize the moment

Treat the disease, not the symptom. Good management is all about identifying and fixing the true cause and not the side effects. Unfortunately, today wildlife conservation in India is treating just the symptoms and ignoring the true cause as it suits the need of the hour.

The government’s initiative of declaring additional wildlife sanctuaries on one hand and constructing dams, permitting mining and pushing the issue of encroachments under the carpet on the other is certainly not helping wildlife conservation. Conservation in its lateral sense means preservation and that can only happen if there is a long-term plan and if it is viewed more holistically without seeking quick fix plans.

India, as a country is growing younger; which implies that India’s working population is increasing rapidly creating more demand for infrastructure. This is continuously increasing the strain on our natural resources. In this context we need to ask ourselves one very important question “Is there a road map to conserve our natural resources and wildlife?”

Think about it, today “Conservation” for a large number of our population only means a cause for which environmentalists are fighting for and there is very little any one can contribute. Given this, why would our voted representatives and lawmakers care about wildlife? Animals, sadly, do not vote and the groups fighting for the cause are not a substantial vote bank! The condition of Wildlife Conservation in India could only change if we identifying the cause increase the stakeholders by creating greater awareness, bringing in more people from varied backgrounds, putting together sustainable work groups and representing strongly with the authorities.

There are no shortcuts to success. Working on wildlife conservation should change from an immediate reaction to a project based approach which has to have a vision, work plan and measurement metric. What will keep people who work on the project excited is the measurements and the milestones the project achieves. This approach not only motivates people working in the project but also encourages others to join, thus building a larger group of people representing the cause. For any cause to become a revolution, it takes a vocal minority to become a vocal majority.

One should never forget that Indian politics is a complicated number game; one man’s gain is another man’s loss. This means that people involved in wildlife conservation need to be extremely sensitive and balance the situation without taking sides and clearly understand the facts from both sides of the table.

We as a nation are in the vanguard of change and its time for us to seize this moment and steer towards creating more awareness and bring in more like-minded people to contribute towards the cause.

No comments: