KATHMANDU, MARCH 13
Wildlife conservation refers to the maintenance of plant and animal species and their habitats to ensure their survival and to teach people to live in harmony with other species. It is essential to protect wildlife because wildlife and wilderness play an important role in maintaining ecological balance and contributing to human well-being.
Wildlife and forests are a measure of our biodiversity. In Nepal, a network of protected areas covers about 23.39 percent of the total land area. Nepal ranked 25th and 11th respectively in terms of biodiversity richness in the world and in Asia.
The country is home to 118 ecosystems and 35 different forest types, which are home to valuable wildlife.
Over the past decades, the country has faced several challenges to preserve biodiversity.
The natural habitat of plants and animals is being destroyed by increasing deforestation, overexploitation, agricultural expansion, poor law enforcement and lack of management practices. Likewise, forest encroachment, habitat fragmentation, unsustainable use of natural resources, the spread of invasive species, climate change, human-wildlife conflicts and illegal animal trade.
Protected areas contribute greatly to the inflow of foreign currency and the increase in the country’s GDP. Many other people are employed in wildlife-focused businesses, such as those that provide fishing gear, birding binoculars, wildlife recreation equipment, porters, tour guides, drivers and mahouts.
Many animal and plant species actually represent the cultural backbone of the local community. People who live close to the natural environment and wildlife are more active, emotionally strong, and physically healthy.
For people who love nature and want to experience nature in its most pristine form, wildlife is essential. Forests also make great retreats from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Wildlife plays an important role in keeping the environment clean and healthy. Many microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and earthworms feed on plant and animal waste, break it down, and release their chemicals into the soil, replenishing it with nutrients.
Various pollinating agents like birds, bats and bees help increase plant productivity. Wildlife conservation plays a big role in ensuring control of the ecological balance, thus maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Scientists and researchers strive to preserve plants and animals through gene banks. These gene banks are a repository of cells and tissues from wild species that play an important role in agriculture and animal husbandry.
A version of this article appears in the March 14, 2022 printing of The Himalayan Times.