New Delhi: Sustained effort is required to protect wildlife in India which is presently screaming for help and attention says author and wildlife expert Valmik Thapar in his new book.
"The need of the hour is to review all our laws and fiscal procedures and ensure all state governments are fully supported in their endeavours to bring in change. Forests and wildlife are a state subject and chief ministers must be encouraged to new and innovative systems of governance in order to safeguard their natural treasures," Thapar told in an interview.
In his recently launched "Saving Wild India - A Blueprint for Change," the naturalist and conservationist outlines a bold yet considered plan to preserve and protect the country's dwindling forests, wildlife and wilderness areas.
"I believe that 22 per cent of India (forest land) needs to be overseen by a switched-on think tank comprising a variety of experts who can find real solutions to the issues that face wild India. My hope is this book acts as a trigger for like-minded people to be part of India's first forest think tank which I will take steps to create in the next couple of years," says Thapar.
The conservationist adds that an urgent priority is needed, both at level of the state and that of the individual, to sort out the myriad problems leading to the destruction of forests and the extermination of wildlife?poaching, timber smuggling, illegal mining, flawed administrative policy and much more.
"The present government must engage the very best experts in this country especially our young wildlife scientists into actively participating and engaging with the better management of our wilderness areas in order to promote best practices in this sector. This has to be done at both the central government level and at the level of chief ministers," says Thapar.
He goes on to add that the Prime Minister must hold a series of meetings with the chief ministers in order to support wildlife and wildlife tourism that strengthens conservation must be encouraged and support should be provided to private players.
The author who has created the Ranthambore Foundation, a major nong governmental organisation dedicated to conserving wildlife is currently a member for the Rajasthan Board for Wildlife chaired by the chief minister and has helped the state goverment formulate a holistic forest conservation scheme- the Van Dhan Yojana.
"The Van Dhan Yojanas and the Jan Vikas Yojana which I have written in the book as well as suggested to the Rajasthan and Maharashtra Government are yet to be implemented. I believe they will start to operate in October and it is hoped that they will play a vital role in conflict resolution on the edges of our best forest areas," says Thapar.
Thapar also argues for the repeal of archaic and
ineffectual laws and a reorganisation of the Indian Forest Service that could check the ongoing damage to wild India.
"The laws that currently govern wild India include those that we inherited form the British, as well as the laws created by the government from mid-twentieth century till the twenty-first century. Nearly 880 British laws are still alive without repeal and have clogged up our statute books creating endless conflicts and contradictions in day-to-day governance," says the author.
He further says, "The forest administration has an army of nearly a quarter-million employees that not only require an infusion of fresh blood but also a revamped training process to redirect their energies in innovative ways."
Drawing upon more than forty years of experience in the field, the author gives us a detailed blueprint on how to effect change, and revitalise and expand our forest cover in his book.
"All the zoos and all of our sanctuaries are screaming for help," says the author who over four decades has authored, co-authored and edited more than 25 books and nearly a dozen film and TV networks on the Indian flora and fauna.