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Before You Forget, Here’s To Remind Again That Many Animal Lives Are Endangered Because Of Us

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By Jessica Frei:

The dwindling wildlife of India has been a major source of concern for quite some time. The burden of deforestation, increasing population and alarming pollution has made the revival of the great Indian fauna a momentous task. But there are several measures that have been undertaken to help the fledgling wildlife and those have borne some great results. Setting up of wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and secluded areas are just some of the most popular measures. But some small successes do not translate to victory. There are still several species that need immediate attention:

Tiger: The national animal of India is unfortunately on this list. The tiger, an ace hunter, has fallen on extremely hard times, so much so that its population has declined very rapidly. This carnivore is considered a prize game and during earlier era Kings and Nawabs used to go to hunt to capture or kill this animal. But the past does not differ from the present; the hunt for the animal is still on. The bones, skins and other organs of tiger are considered a major ingredient in several Chinese and Asian medicines and hence, illegal poaching is still a flourishing business. Add to it the man-animal conflict, inbreeding and even the territorial conflicts and it seems like a perfect recipe for a disaster. The government has started several conservation methods and setting tiger reserves in India is just one of the most popular ones. Some of the famous tiger reserves in India are Kanha, Periyar, Corbett, Bandhavgarh, Bandipur etc.


Rhinoceros: This is another animal that is facing the threat of extinction due to extensive poaching and loss of habitat. Although, in recent times, its numbers have increased steadily thanks to the conservation efforts, yet, illegal poaching means that the ultimate success is still far away. The poaching for one horned rhino or Indian rhino is usually undertaken to get its horn which is then used in traditional Asian medicines. Even the skin and bones of one horned rhino is used in several treatments in Asia. The threat to one horned rhino has led to the setting up of a special area on the lines of tiger reserves in India.

Elephant: The pachyderm is a celebrated animal in India with Hindu mythology and erstwhile Kings favouring it with aplomb. The major reasons for the extinction of this species can be traced to poaching for its tusks, man-animal conflict, loss of habitat and other incidents. The government has decided to set up special areas on the lines of tiger reserves in India and has announced an ambitious and detailed project, ‘Project Elephant,’ that would focus on protecting elephant populations in India. Launched in the year 91-92 this project covers twelve Indian states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Asiatic Lions:  This is another species that is slowly becoming a prey to human might and greed. There was a time when lions were found across the cow belt but gaming and poaching has reduced its number to just about a several hundred. Some rough estimates put the number to a measly 400, and it is a pity that this royal beast, erstwhile India’s national animal prior to the current national animal tiger, is seeing attacks on its survival even now. The government has pitched in to help this animal by setting up reserves on the lines of tiger reserves in India. Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuaries in Gujarat is the finest place for Lions in India.

Snow Leopards: Just like one horned rhino, this is another animal that is extremely shy and secretive. Though a ferocious carnivore it is extremely hard to locate his whereabouts and only the carcasses of his last eaten prey offer any conclusive proof of his presence. Rocky Mountains and hilly areas of Himalayan ranges is its home but due to deforestation, increase in human population and lack of food, this majestic animal is currently in an agonizing state. It is estimated that the current population of these wild cats is about 400-700, but this number is not certain. Several sightings of snow leopard have been claimed in the Hemis National Park and other adjoining areas. Unlike in the case of tiger reserves in India, where the area for tigers was clearly marked, unfortunately the same has not been achieved in the case of snow leopards.

The endangered species of India are in need of protective environment. Rehabilitation in zoological park is not viable as it makes animals dependent on humans for succour and it, in turn, harms them in relocating to their natural habitat. It is thus advised by conservationists that like in the case of one-horned rhino, the animals remain in their natural habitat but away from the prying eyes of humanity.

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  1. Raj

    Why not allow private individuals and entities to grow and breed these animals for whatever purposes like we do for domestic livestock?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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