Reflecting on the history of animals in India, Rangaran remarks that nature was not static but dynamic. Change did not and does not always require human actors. However, today human actors play a great role in destroying the animal’s habitat, especially lions’.
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The author asserts that humans arrived in India long after the lions had inhabited the region (Rangarajan 2013: 112). Based on this, lions’ inhabiting Gir cannot be blamed on human activities.
Before humans arrived in Asia, 70,000 years ago, India’s grasslands and savannas were inhabited by herbivores, which were lions’ prey (Rangarajan 2013: 112).
When people arrived, lions began attacking their cattle, which resulted in human attacking lions to protect their cattle (Nature Beyond Borders presentation, April 3, 2014). It is apparent that through the expansion of farming activities, humans have been threatening the lions’ habitat (Rangarajan 2013: 112).
Similarly, humans are threatening the lions’ existence by encroaching on their territory. In the 16th century, human population density in India was 35 people per square kilometer. However, its current population density is 378 people per square km kilometer (Rangarajan 2013: 113).
The statistics indicate that humans’ initiatives to increase land under cultivation have had adverse effects on the carnivores by reducing their hunting grounds (Rangarajan 2013: 113).
Similarly, same statistics indicate that the herbivores that were the main food for lions in their habitats have been killed to give more land for cattle farming (Rangarajan 2013: 113).
Another means through which human beings have threatened the lions’ habitat is by limiting their movements.
In the book, the author suggests that in India the cats used to roam freely before the arrival of human beings (Rangarajan 2013: 112). However, now animals are only restricted in the game reserves near Gir. Here, the lions are protected by the government’s security agencies.
Given that game security personnel of reserves are subject to manipulation from the reigning governments, the future of these cats depends on India’s administration. The administration should put in place measure to prevent humans from further encroaching into the cats’ habitat.
The above illustrations indicate that human interventions are necessary to prevent lions from the looming extinction. Through human intervention, strict laws should be enacted to ensure that poachers and those encroaching on the lions’ habitat receive severe punishments.
Given that the lion’s wilderness has significantly reduced, human intervention will be needed to check on their populations. Lions’ population should be controlled because an increase in their numbers would lead to a reduced prey population.
A reduction in the prey population would compromise on the ecosystem and on the lions’ existence. Equally, through human interventions the communities living around the lions’ reserves should be informed about the importance of the carnivores.
Through this, they will acknowledge that wild animals have every right to exist in their natural habitat just as human beings do.
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Human interventions are good because they benefit the lions’ population. Failure to intervene would see the wild animals succumb to human pressure. In the future, human population is expected to increase. Therefore, more land will be required to sustain such an enormous population.
Thus, in the absence of intervention measures humans are going to encroach deeper into the lions’ habitat leading to their extinction. If lions get extinct, wildlife ecosystem will be destabilized. Through this, our wildlife will be affected leading to reduced tourist revenues.
Rangarajan, Mahesh. “Animals with Rich Histories: The Case of The Lions Of Gir Forest, Gujarat, India.” History and Theory 52.4 (2013): 109-127. Print.
—.2014 “Nature Beyond Borders: Sustaining Spaces for Nature in 21st Century India.” Retrieved from The Asian Studies