Wonders of WILDLIFE DEFINITION AND VALUES in Forestry
Wildlife generally refers to all species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes occurring in the wild implying thereby undomesticated and free-roaming in a natural environment.
Wildlife Management is defined as the science and art of changing characteristics and inter-action of habitat, wild animal population and man in order to achieve specific human goals by means of wildlife resources. Wildlife Management, is therefore, concerned with the abundance and distribution of vertebrate species while wildlife managers have also to manage habitats, including vegetation and invertebrates which are foods or cause diseases to the wildlife.
Most wildlife management, has until recently been directed towards so-called game species. With growing realization that all wild vertebrates possess important values, including negative values, the scope of wildlife management has been broadened to include predators, song birds, fur bearers and vertebrate pests.
Wildlife Management – Why?
Wildlife is produced and management to realize several diverse values in which public and private interests are involved. These values are:-
- Biological Ecological Value
Wild animals contribute towards productive eco-systems, providing for food, water and fertilizer. Wildlife activities enhance the productivity and stability of eco-systems by providing services such as soil tillage, pollination, seed dispersal and planting, natural regulation of plant and animal population including culling of diseased or inferior animals by predators, regulation of water resources, nutrient concentration, transport and recycling, and sanitation through scavenging. Wildlife also participates in controlling the abundance of pest species and in maintaining the genetic quality and health of prey populations through culling inferior individuals. Marine fishes, reptiles, mammals and birds concentrate nutrients carried to the sea due to erosion. Harvest of these forms of bird fauna is used to enhance the productivity of the sea. Decay of wild animal faeces and carcasses also adds to the fertility of otherwise infertile areas.
- Scientific, Philosophical and Educational Values
Wildlife populations have always been made the subjects of scientific and philosophical studies by Ecologists, Physiologists, Pathologists, Demographers, Sociologists and Anthropologists. Wildlife examples are quoted in schools and at nature centres. Organic evolution theories were brought by studying relationships and distribution of living and fossilized plants and animals. The dangers of chlorinated hydrocarbons (pesticides) were made known when their effects on sensitive species of wildlife were found.
- Social Value
The community as a whole improves its economic base through the multiple effect of wildlife – oriented out door recreation. Economic riches provide for community programmes such as schools, libraries, recreation centres and medical facilities.
WILDLIFE DEFINITION AND VALUES in Forestry
- Recreational Value
Benefits from outdoor activities involving the persuit of wildlife are derived in the form of pleasure, adventure and enhanced physical and mental health by hunters, fishermen, bird watchers, photographers, hikers and tourists of all kinds.
- Aesthetic Value
Wildlife and their habitats are the objects of beauty and of historic significance. They also become part of poetry, literature, art and music. This is an attribute which is the most personal variously conceived by various people.
- Commercial Value
The income derived from selling or trading wild animals (and birds) and their products, or from conducting a business based on access to wildlife populations is the commercial value of wildlife. The wild meat and furs are harvested all over the world. Wildlife viewing and hunting trigger a chain of commercial activities viz., guided tours, outfitters, sports goods retailers and whole salers, motels, restaurants and transportation industries. Sports activities may include hunting, fishing camping, hiking and travelling.
See Also: Use of Fungi as Food
- Negative Values
Wildlife also damage crops and other property. These damages are to be controlled. Wild boar and porcupine damage to crops and forest trees is well known. Predators can diminish the number of useful wild animals and domestic livestock.
Wonders of Wildlife
MAJOR AREAS OF ACTIVITY OF WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
- Protection, preservation, conservation of wildlife
- Improvement of wildlife and their habitat through:
- rehabilitation of natural habitat and
- replenishing wildlife populations through captive breeding
- Management of wildlife and their habitat
- Provision of recreation
- Mass education on wildlife and its importance
- Research and training
- Liaison with national and international Wildlife Conservation agencies
- Wonders of Wildlife
Assignment: What do you know about Ecosystem? Write down characteristics of the following ecosystems and the wildlife associated with them:
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