Wildlife Week is annually observed across India in the month of October from 2 to 8 October to spread awareness of the importance of wildlife and its conservation in India.
- The annual observanance coincides with the birth anniversary (2 October) of Mahatma Gandhi, who championed the principles of Ahinsa (non-violence) and compassion toward all living beings.
- The 2023 marks the observance of the 69th Wildlife Week.
The theme of Wildlife Week 2023 is “Partnerships for wildlife conservation“.
- The theme is inspired by the theme of the United Nations (UN) World Wildlife Day 2023, which honours the individuals and organisations making a positive impact on wildlife conservation.
Note: The UN World Wildlife Day (WWD) is annually observed across the globe on 3 March.
i.Wildlife Week was conceptualised in 1952 when the Government of India constituted an advisory body designated as the Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL).
- It was conceptualised with the goal of raising awareness to serve the long-term goal of safeguarding the lives of wildlife through critical action.
ii.Initially, it was marked as Wildlife Day in 1955, it later evolved into Wildlife Week in 1957.
- It is to provide the initiative with a broader perspective and more encompassing approach to conservation efforts.
iii.The first Wildlife Week was observed in 1957.
Note: The 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, Forests and Protection of Wild Animals and Birds was transferred from the State to the Concurrent List.
Objectives of Celebrating Wild Life Week:
- To make people more aware of the conservation and protection of wildlife.
- To focus the people’s attention on the importance of conservation of wildlife.
- To implement more services to preserve wildlife.
- To discuss all the issues related to the preservation of wildlife.
Constitutional Provisions for Wildlife Protection:
Article 51A(g): It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests and Wildlife
Article 48A: The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wildlife of India.
About National Board for Wildlife (NBWL):
i.The Wildlife (Protection) Act, of 1972 was subsequently amended in 1991 and lastly in 2002.
ii.As per the amendment of the Act in 2002, a provision was incorporated for the constitution of the National Board for Wildlife (NMWL), replacing the Indian Board for Wildlife (IBWL).
iii.NBWL came into existence on 22nd September 2003. It is a Statutory organisation responsible for the promotion of conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
iv.NBWL has 47 members with the Prime Minister in the Chair. The Minister in charge of the Ministry of Environment & Forests in the Central Government is the Vice-Chairperson.
Wildlife Week celebration in National Zoological Park:
The National Zoological Park in Delhi has been celebrating “Wildlife Week – 2023” from October 2 to 8 2023. Awareness activities were organized like Nukkad Natak, an expert talk on Biodiversity, a video on the mission Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE), and a pledge.
Bivash Ranjan, Additional Director General of Forests (Wildlife), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC); Sanjay Shukla, Member Secretary Central Zoo Authority (CZA); and Dr. Faiyaz A. Khudsar, Biodiversity Expert, University of Delhi.
The goal of arranging this activity at the National Zoological Park was to create awareness about wildlife, and biodiversity and also to promote the concept of LiFe by staying close to nature.