(Last Updated on : 20/11/2010)
History of Indian wildlife is said to be a significant mix of events as well as people, of forests and species, land and populations, of exploitation and protection. History of Indian wildlife is also about nature and how people feared and respected it and then eventually tried to dominate it. It is believed that history of wildlife is often associated with long names and dates and with news of rare species or conflicts over threatened habitats. The stripping of natural vegetal cover over the past two centuries has been on a high scale, even though if much has vanished, much remains. History of Indian wildlife shows that even a generation back, princes, and middle-class Indians, contended with the British as far as hunting was concerned. As per historical records the royal hunt became an indispensable part of every ruler`s skill range and was adopted sincerely by the British rulers.
The various broad surveys of the past clearly illustrate that across the centuries, the forest has been seen by rulers in various ways. Like for instance, it was seen as a place of scenic beauty; or as the site of great hunts, with their close similarities to warfare. But for many more people, the
vast grassland and forests were also a home and a resource catchment area. Two clear events mark the history of Indian wildlife. Firstly the impacts of the British, whose intrusions into the world of the wild were far more extensive than those of their predecessors. And second one was the unleashing of widespread destructive forces, including the state-sponsored slaughter of certain wild animals and the harnessing of the forest for industrial raw material and military supplies. Some of these were not new, however the scale and intensity of the impact was without any equivalent. As a result, about a hundred years ago, even species that were a well-known part of the landscape in large areas of the country began to recede into plain memory. The second major event in the history of Indian Wildlife was the creation of legal and governmental apparatus to administer large stretches of forest, eventually totalling around a fifth of India`s total land area.
With the independence of the country a dominant group emerged with a kinder and gentler approach to nature. However, the legacy of the control system remained despite major changes. The vast history of Indian wildlife signifies that much of the future relies on the reforms or restructures of the system and protection of nature`s heritage.