History of WWF India
WWF-India started life as a wildlife conservation organisation. It was established in the year 1969 as a Charitable Public Trust, with the aim of ensuring the conservation of the country's wildlife and wild habitats. The official launch of the Indian National Appeal (name given for National offices by WWF-International) was done by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. This was launched much before the terms wildlife and environment had caught the attention of the government or the public. Wildlife (Protection) Act came into being in 1972.
Programmes of WWF India
WWF-India supported field projects that were aimed at protecting endangered species of India including the diverse flora and fauna. It also initiated the first large-scale education and awareness programme, public awareness of wildlife and nature conservation in the country. WWF-India raised conservation funds through appeals, campaigns, educational product sales, and through other means. During 1970s and 80s WWF-India mainly kept its focus on wildlife and nature protection. Like for instance, in the early seventies, WWF-India led a very thriving campaign to save the Great Indian Bustard. This protest led to the government repealing its permission for the hunting expedition. WWF-India provided the seed grant for constituting the Madras Snake Park in the year 1971, and again in the year 1975, it helped in launch the country's first Crocodile Bank in partnership with the Snake Park Trust. In the year 1980, the Sea Turtle Conservation Project was launched.
Further, there have been projects associated with the Asiatic Lions, the highly endangered Himalayan Newt, the Red Panda, the Mountain Quail, the Pheasants, the Great Indian Bustard, and various other species. The protection of the tiger and its habitats has always been high on the agenda right from its commencement. Right from the beginning of Project Tiger in India, WWF-India has been actively involved with the project. Moreover WWF-India was also instrumental in assuring the future of several tiger habitats and other wilderness areas. The significant ones are the Dalma Hills (1976) and the Gautama Buddha Sanctuaries (1978) in Bihar, the Eravikulam-Rajamalai in Kerala, and the country's first Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch.
Other campaigns of WWF-India have led to the formation of the Delhi Wildlife Sanctuary, Mansarovar Lake and Dodai Lake Sanctuaries, Balpakhram Sanctuary in Meghalaya. Another prominent area of the organization's work is the monitoring of wildlife trade. Thus, WWF-India is appropriately considered as the country's largest voluntary body in the field of preservation of wildlife. Moreover, it has also grown into a vast network with a countrywide presence. Lastly, WWF-India has taken on varied activities in the field of nature protection that ranges from education and capacity building, field projects in biodiversity to policy studies and advocacy and so on.
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