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This year, India Wildlife Week and World Wildlife Week stretch between 1-8 October
Wild Week
By Divya Dhamija
Call of the wild? With the courts seeking to prevent the common man from seeing the tiger in its natural surroundings, surrealistic shots from TV wildlife channels may be the only way for the next generation to catch a glimpse of jungle majesty.
Wildlife refers to all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms, and India is a country which has a rich and diverse wildlife- we’re home of over 60% of the world’s biodiversity. But in spite of national parks and protected areas many species are either endangered or on the verge of extinction. Poaching is a major cause - because of the increase in the demand for wildlife products (tusks, bones, skin, etc) either for decorative use or perceived medicinal benefit.

Some species of birds have already gone extinct in recent times; including the pink-headed duck and the Himalayan quail. With a view to preserve the fauna of India, particularly to take urgent steps to prevent extinction of any species, the Government of India established an Indian Board of Wild Life (IBWL) in 1952. The Board has since been doing pioneering work to arouse public consciousness in favor of wildlife preservation. IBWL decided to observe the Wildlife Week from October 2 - 8 every year. The forest department plays a major role in this week.

It coincides with World Wildlife Week, which is from October 1- 7, this year. For the last 56 years the Wildlife Week has been celebrated by the government, environmentalists, activists and others to accelerate the awareness of wildlife conservation among people. Various conferences, awareness programmes, public meetings, photography and painting exhibitions depicting wildlife are held. Documentaries and slide shows on wildlife are also screened especially for school children during this week. Wildlife preservation not only implies such programmes but also to an active and planned wildlife management under which all forms of life would progress side by side with human progress, each in its own sphere. Thus the Wildlife week intends not only to educate young people but also to correct the flaws in the conservation efforts by the government and to generate of love and responsibility towards the protection and conservation of wildlife.

Noting that India is home to a magnificent variety of ecosystems and species of flora and fauna, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, "Given the pressures of a growing population, it is not going to be easy to maintain the existing biological diversity in our country yet we are firmly committed in conserving the country’s unique wildlife, forests and its variety of ecosystems." The Prime Minister also called upon the people, especially the young, to join in the "noble endeavor" of conserving and protecting the wildlife and maintaining the ecological integrity of the nation.

Giant Squirrel
(Ratufa indica) - with is beautiful, unusual, multicoloured coat.
The plans are all set for the wildlife week by various states and organizations. Here’s a list of some of them...

1. Dr Shivram Karanth Pilikula Biological Park (Mangalore) will organize wildlife photography competition for amateur photographers, drawing and quiz competitions for the students from standard 1 to 10 in four categories on the subject “nature and wildlife” at the park premises on October 7. Amateur photographers who wish to participate in the Wildlife Photography competition have to send their photographs of size not less than 18"X12" should reach the director, Dr Shivaram Karanth Pilikula, Biological Park Moodushedde, Mangalore 575028 on or before October 6. These Photos will be exhibited in the park the next day and three best photos will be awarded with prizes and certificates

2. The Conservation Education Centre of BNHS at Asola conducts various events sponsored by the forest department for students. This year they have decided to make it House Sparrow Special. The details can be followed on this site »

3. The Department of Forest, Government of Karnataka and Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology are jointly celebrating Wildlife Week by organizing On-the-spot painting competition for Higher Primary (5th to 7th Standard) and High School Students (8th to 10th Standard) and College Students on Sunday, 23rd September 2012 at 10.00 AM at Chitrakala Parishat, Kumara Krupa Road, Bangalore. Students can paint on any wild animal. KSCST will provide Drawing Sheets for Painting. The students are requested to bring paint, hard-board and other related accessories. The winners of the competition will be awarded with a Certificate and Gift on Celebration of Wildlife week function on 6th October, 2012 (Saturday) at J. N. TATA Auditorium, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. For more information if any, please contact: Mr. E. Basavaraj (M: 9448957666 or E-mail csdkar@gmail.com)

4. Mysore Zoo will launch an interactive educative programme called Conservation Speak on the first Tuesday of October 2012 at 3:00pm in the zoo auditorium to coincide with the Wildlife Week. To mark the Wildlife Week celebrations, Wildlife Photography Exhibition will be inaugurated at 2.30 p.m. followed by Conservation Speak. K.A. Kushalappa, Chief Conservator of Forests (Retd.), will be the guest of honor at the inaugural function. Mr. Ravi said there will be a number of activities aimed at educating masses and creating awareness about the importance of wildlife and its conservation during the Wildlife Week celebrations. Due to space constraints, the participation to the Conservation Speak has been limited to 200 persons. Interested people may register their names by writing to zoomysore@gmail.com or by making a call to the zoo office on or before September 30, according to the zoo authorities.

5. The Pench Tiger Reserve has announced a number of activities for Wildlife Week 2012 to be celebrated like- a student’s rally will be taken out from Yeshwant Stadium at 8am on October 1. A bird watching exercise is planned on October 2 at Seminary Hills. Those who wish to participate in bird watching should assemble at Van Sabhagruha, Seminary Hills, by 6am. An exhibition of photography and environmental cartoons will be inaugurated at Matru Seva Sangh (MSS) hall, Sitabuldi, on October 2 at 6pm. Also, the annual study tour for journalists has been organized at the newly notified Umrer-Kharangla Wildlife Sanctuary on October 3. On the same day at 10am a rangoli competition has been organized for school students at the MSS Hall. October 4 will be marked by a number of events for schoolchildren. In the morning, there will be a quiz competition between 10am and 12.30pm at the MSS Hall, followed by a cultural programme at the same venue. The programme will begin at 1.30pm and continue up to 5.30pm. Continuing last year's initiative to select wildlife ambassadors from among students from Std. VII to IX, this year's selection will take place on October 5. This exercise to promote awareness among students about wildlife will be held at Patwardhan High School from 10am to 1pm. The last leg of the wildlife week celebrations will include a workshop and prize distribution ceremony on October 6 and 7 respectively. The workshop will be held for the benefit of forest officials and NGOs at Vansabhagruha between 10am and 5pm. The concluding programme will be held at Amrut Bhavan, Andhra Association Hall, from 4pm to 7pm.

6. Apart from these activities, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Tiger Cell, Nagpur, is also planning to conduct a number of activities, mainly at Sillari, Pench. A number of nature training sessions for students and teachers will be conducted by BNHS, which will also take part in the events at Nagpur.