India has a rich wildlife heritage and a long tradition of nature conservation, which is practically a way of life for its people. Wildlife conservation is not merely an effort to protect some charismatic species like the tiger, rhino or elephant but covers the whole gamut of nature conservation. Survival of wildlife and wilderness areas is, therefore, indispensable to human survival and for maintaining the quality of life on the planet Earth.

The National Wildlife Week is observed in the first week of October every year to coincide with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who advocated respect for all forms of life. However, the effort cannot be left to Government Departments or to a few organisations and individuals. Every citizen must get involved in whatever way is possible to contribute to this cause. Greater involvement and vigilance by the general public can help in effectively tackling the problem of wildlife poaching and illegal trade. There are also several areas of conflict around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, which can be resolved with greater participation of the local communities and with inputs from all relevant agencies of the Government.

On the occasion of the Wildlife Week - 1998, let us resolve to work together for conserving our valuable wildlife and forests, which are the basic components of the natural bio-diversity of our country.


New Delhi

September 22, 1998