Concept: Endangered Animals and Animal Abuse
What are endangered animals?
Endangered animals are animals living in the wild whose numbers have significantly reduced due to different unfavourable factors.
Examples : Red panda, blue whale, Asiatic lion, etc.
- If no steps are taken to protect them, these animal species will eventually become extinct.
Factors responsible for animals becoming endangered:
The most common factors that contribute towards animals becoming endangered are—
- Loss of habitat.
- Global warming.
Some endangered animals of India:
1. Bengal tiger:
- Bengal tigers are found in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.
- They mostly live in dry forests, tropical forests, mangroves and grasslands.
- They prey on various animals like deer, buffaloes, pigs, etc.
- The tiger population is decreasing because of factors like habitat loss and poaching.
- Different parts of a tiger, like its bones, whiskers, skin, etc., are sold at high prices, and for this reason, tigers are hunted.
2. Asiatic lion:
- Asiatic lions are only found in the Gir Forest of Gujarat in India.
- These lions mostly live in dry deciduous forests and grasslands.
- They hunt animals like barking deer, pigs, wild buffaloes, monkeys.
- Some of the causes behind the Asiatic lion being an endangered species are human encroachment, forest fires, poaching and accidental deaths.
3. Blue whale:
- Blue whales are the largest animals on the earth, and they inhabit the oceans.
- They feed on krill and crabs.
- Due to poaching, climate change, ocean pollution, and accidents involving ships, the blue whale population is decreasing.
4. Red panda:
- Red pandas live in the mountains of India, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and China.
- They mainly eat fruits and insects.
- Red pandas are very gentle and can be easily tamed.
- The number of red pandas is steadily decreasing due to habitat loss, human interference and poaching.
5. Indian vulture:
- Vultures are large birds that are mostly found in the forests and savannas.
- Vultures are both carnivores and scavengers.
- They mostly feed on animal carcasses.
- Due to poaching, habitat loss, and pesticide pollution, vultures have become an endangered species.
6. Snow leopard:
- Snow leopards live in the mountain areas of central Asia and India.
- They mostly hunt at night and feed on Himalayan deer, wild sheep, and other domesticated animals.
- Their numbers are gradually decreasing due to food scarcity, habitat loss and poaching.
7. Indian elephant:
- Indian elephants are massive terrestrial mammals that live in a wide variety of habitats in the tropical areas of the country.
- Indian elephants are herbivorous animals, and they eat a variety of plants, woody trees, shrubs, barks, and fruits.
- The animal poachers deliberately kill elephants because of their tusks that are made of ivory.
- Due to rapid habitat shrinkage and human-elephant conflict, the elephant population is reducing all over India.
8. Indian one-horned rhinoceros:
- One-horned rhinoceros are endemic to India and are only found in the swampy areas of Assam.
- These are primarily grazing animals.
- Due to destruction of habitat and poaching for their horn, the number of Indian rhinoceros is rapidly decreasing.
9. Gangetic River dolphin:
- Gangetic river dolphins are aquatic mammals found in the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra, and their tributaries.
- They mostly feed on crabs, turtles, and prawns.
- These dolphins are decreasing in numbers due to excessive river pollution.
- These dolphins are subjected to poaching to extract oil from their blubber.
Animal abuse or Animal cruelty:
It is the neglect or harm caused by man to any animal. It can be categorised into two groups—
- Passive cruelty or abuse: When animals are abused out of negligence, it is called passive cruelty or abuse.
- Active cruelty or abuse: When animals are abused intentionally, it is called active cruelty or abuse.
Examples of animal abuse in India:
- Snake charming is a practice that is almost seen everywhere in India.
- The snake charmers catch venomous snakes, mostly cobra, and appear to hypnotise them by playing a been in front of the crowd.
- The snakes are taken away from their natural habitats and kept in baskets.
- For safety purposes, sometimes their venom glands are also uprooted, which is equivalent to animal cruelty.
- Monkeys are trained to dance on roads and in circuses for recreational purposes.
- They are chained by their masters and fed occasionally.
- They are dressed and forced to dance and perform various acts in front of the people in return for money.
- They are deprived of their natural habitat.
- Horse-drawn carriages use horses which are hooved animals.
- The coachman beats them if they do not move fast.
- For a hooved animal, it is extremely painful when horseshoes are fixed to their hooves.
Apart from all these animals, tigers, lions, zebras, rhinoceroses are also captured from forests and caged for people’s amusement.
Abusing stray dogs and cats:
- Sometimes people also abuse stray dogs and cats on the roads by throwing or pelting stones at them.
- Often stray animals are beaten brutally by people which is a heinous crime against animals.
- During Diwali, people also throw crackers at stray dogs and cats to tease them. Similarly, during Holi, they are smeared with colours against their will.
- For all such activities, the government implemented laws to protect the animals in the form of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
- According to this act, anybody causing harm to an animal will be penalised.
What is PETA?
- PETA is an animal rights organisation which is based in the United States of America.
- PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
- This organisation has several branches worldwide and have 9 million members.
- They are vocal against all kinds of animal abuse from, fur trading to showcasing animals in the circus.
Extinct: A species, be it a plant or an animal species, is called extinct when it has no living members.
Poaching: Hunting animals illegally.
Carcass: The dead body of an animal.
Global warming: The phenomenon by which the earth is gradually getting warmer.
Blubber: The fat of sea mammals.
Endemic: Restricted to a particular place.
Horseshoe: A circular arc-shaped shoe made of iron for the horses.
Did You Know?
- Since the number of Bengal tigers were decreasing, the Government of India had launched a program called the Project Tiger in April 1973 to conserve the tigers in their natural habitats.
There are many National parks in India where several endangered
animals and plants are protected in their natural habitats. National
parks are always open for visitors, but human intervention is strictly
prohibited inside the national parks.
Example Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand.