The first provision to "protect the environment" was made in the Forty-Second Amendment to the Indian Constitution. Passed in 1977, this Amendment responded to the Stockholm Declaration adopted by the International Conference on Human Environment in 1972. The Declaration laid out the essential right to live in an environment of quality and confirmed the responsibility of each member of society to protect and improve the environment.
The Forty-Second Amendment inserted Article 48-A into the Directive Principles of State Policy in Chapter IV of the Constitution. This declared the State's responsibility to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country. Another provision, inserted in Article 51-A(g), Fundamental Duties, stipulated the duty of every citizen to "protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures." Both imposed an obligation on the Government and the citizens to protect the environment.
Again, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, more popularly known as the Earth Summit, adopted the Convention on Biological Diversity, among others, which represented a top-level, international milestone in the direction of sustainable development.
Coming now to our very own beloved Mizoram, let us ask ourselves this - Are we at peace with the other living beings - the magnificent wildlife and forests which nature has bestowed upon us? Can the relationship be termed as one of harmony? We must think hard and think again!
The goal must be to ensure a harmonious relationship with nature and a benign use of biological resources; this relationship must take our present needs and the needs of future generations into consideration. Such a harmonious form of economy, which is sustainable over the long term, needs to be based on closed cycles and regenerable or renewable raw materials and energy and requires "wise use" of natural resources. A prerequisite for attaining this goal is its general public acceptance.
What does the Constitution of India means to us? As law abiding citizens aren't we suppose to uphold the provisions of the Constitution? What is the meaning of Fundamental Duties in the Constitution? One need not be a Constitutional expert to understand the above-mentioned provisions. All that is required is a sense of ownership, a little care, love and compassion towards other life forms which we often refer to as WILDLIFE!
In order to preserve the rich natural resource of the State for posterity, the Government has designated certain sites as Protected Areas for in situ conservation of wildlife. We require more such areas.
Protected Areas in Mizoram
There are 9 (nine) Protected Areas in Mizoram which include 2 National Parks and 7 Wildlife Sanctuaries. Dampa Wildlife Sanctuary has been declared a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger.
A brief description of the Protected Areas is as follows: (Source: Important Bird Areas in India by BNHS)
Other key fauna include the Leopard (Keite), Hoolock gibbon (Hauhuk), Serow (Saza), Goral (Sathar), Asiatic Black Bear (Savawm), Stump-tailed Macaque (Zawngmawt), etc.
3. Dampa Tiger Reserve
Situated in north-west Mizoram along the Indo-Bangladesh border, Dampa Tiger Reserve is the largest protected area of the State having an area of 500 sq km. It consists of moist deciduous forests in the lower reaches and evergreen and semi-evergreen forests with natural grasslands at higher altitudes. There are large tracts of secondary forest in the landscape dominated by bamboo brakes and regenerating fallow jhum land. The forest bird community is represented by species such as the Great Hornbill (Vapual), Wreathed Hornbill (Kawlhawk), Pied Hornbill (Vahai), Grey Peacock Pheasant (Varihaw), Kalij Pheasant (Vahrit), Red Jungle Fowl (Ramar), Red-headed Trogon (Varalthi), Mountain Imperial Pigeon (Bullut), Green Magpie (Dawntliang), Racket-tailed Drongo (Vakul), Long-tailed Broadbill (Thizil), Great Slaty Woodpecker (Thlohsai), etc. Dampa Tiger Reserve is a good representative of the bird fauna of
As the name suggests, Dampa Tiger Reserve has been established under Project Tiger to conserve the Tiger and its habitat. Other predators are Leopard (Keite), Clouded Leopard (Kelral) and Indian Wild Dog (Chinghnia). It also supports a small population of Elephants (Sai) and Gaur (Ramsial). Dampa is one of the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) where the highest diversity of primates in
4. Ngengpui Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated in south Mizoram, some of the finest patches of tropical rain forests in Mizoram with mature Dipterocarpus (Thingsen) are found in this sanctuary with an area of 110 sq km. The terrain is undulating to hilly, with a series of parallel north-south ridges, well drained by numerous streams with rocky as well as silted stream beds.
Some notable bird species recorded in this Important Bird Area are the White-cheeked Partridge (Rung bek-var), Great Hornbill (Vapual), Oriental Pied Hornbill (Vahai), Great Slaty Woodpecker (Thlohsai) and a variety of raptors. The sanctuary is rich in mammals, reptiles and amphibian fauna. It has all the typical mammals found in
5. Khawnglung Wildlife Sanctuary
With an area of 35 sq km, the area is located in Lunglei District, about 170 kms from Aizawl and holds both tropical semi and evergreen forests. It occupies an important place in the history of Mizoram. The mammals include Sambar (Sazuk), Barking Deer (Sakhi), Serow (Saza), Wild Boar (Sanghal), Macaques (Zawng), Hoolock Gibbon (Hauhuk), Gaur (Ramsial) and a number of bird varieties.
Detailed systematic study of the flora and fauna is yet to be conducted.
6. Tawi Wildlife Sanctuary
The area (35.75 sq km) lies 170 km east of Aizawl. The forest comprises of an admixture of primary forests interspersed with secondary growth and bamboo species. Data on flora and fauna is insufficient.
7. Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary
Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary with an area of 60 sq km lies in eastern Mizoram, north of
8. Thorangtlang Wildlife Sanctuary
With an area of 50 sq km, the sanctuary was notified in 2002 from the existing
9. Pualreng Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in northern Mizoram, preliminary notification has been issued for this Protected Area (approx 50 sq km) during 2004. Steps are being taken for the issue of final notification. The area harbours the Hoolock Gibbon (Hauhuk), Serow (Saza), Wild boar (Sanghal), Barking deer (Sakhi) and Sambar (Sazuk) including the rare albino variety (Sazuk var). The bird population is also commendable. Systematic study of the flora and fauna including bird life is yet to be carried out.
In addition, there are still a few patches of pristine habitats around the villages remaining in the State. These areas are under severe threat from increased anthropogenic pressures. Cooperation and coordination is the need of the hour among all players - land-based departments and the civil administration; be it for land use, issue of firearms licenses, etc.
The people of Mizoram should extend the PEACE ACCORD to our denizens of the wild too! Remember the Garden of Eden: Co-existence in Peace & Harmony. Only an enlightened public can bring about the much needed change towards the preservation of the rich biodiversity in the State.
You and I are the answer!