Monday, 20 July 2015

Called Upon By The Species...

"The invitation has been sent out. We are expecting one representative from each of the 8.7 million species on the face of the planet in attendance."

This was the piece of information, being communicated to the Species General, at the United Species Organization.

The USO had called upon its 8.7 million Member Species for a conference focussing on the Universal Declaration of Species Rights.

An SOS had been sent to the USO by some fifteen species of the Indian subcontinent, recently.

The entire zoological framework had been called upon to address the reason of distress among the amalgamation of fauna in India.

Mind you, the Homo Sapiens had been summoned too.

After all humans are social animals.

The ones who have evolved from apes fail to realize that society is defined not only by what you create but also by what you refuse to destroy!

Ironically, the Species General of the USO, is a homo sapien too. Fortunately or, unfortunately, it is only they who have been equipped with the skills of language, articulation, and expression.

As a matter of fact, we humans are the only species which have been consumed by greed to such an extent that we have turned blind to the fact that we are gradually sawing the branch on which we sit.

The fifteen species in focus, however for the Save The Species round-table, were flummoxed by the negligence and oppression they have had to face in the past, over varied factors.

Be it habitat destruction due to receding green cover and intensifying concrete cover or overexploitation, or climate change, or even the hot pursuit of population explosion, the diminishing numbers of these irreplaceable treasures of fauna had every attendee gaping in astonishment!

Just like prioritizing your tasks in hand is vital to achieving success, so is concentrating on the extent of criticality to the existence of certain species in the world.

The USO had been quick enough to realize it and had decided to abide by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to address the complaint of the species which had been weakened by all brutality.

IUCN Red List category abbreviations (version 3.1, 2001)

Of the fifteen species which had to be pacified, the USO put forth the idea of focusing on one each of those which had been classified as 'Vulnerable', 'Endangered', and 'Critically Endangered' in the interest of equitability to all. 

The Right To Existence had been endowed upon all Member Species of the USO, as a fragment of the Universal Declaration of Species Rights. 

Keeping in mind the paucity of time and resources, (which had been attributed to the human race, yet again) it was agreed upon to present the opportunity to three species out of the fifteen, for the time being. The USO further proposed to roll out a Save The Species Campaign, keeping in mind the gravity of the situation. 

Presenting to you, the proceedings of the conference as a representative from each of the three species put forth their case. 


"I am the one-horned Rhinoceros, representing the Rhinoceros unicornis at this conference. We have been listed as a vulnerable species and have Assam and West Bengal in India, and the Terai region in Nepal to call our habitat, now. We once ranged throughout the entire stretch of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, but excessive hunting has reduced our range drastically. 

We, the members of the  Rhinocerotidae family are supposedly the fifth largest land animal. We are also the second-largest living rhinoceros, behind only the white rhinoceros. 

We are characterized by our thick grey-brown skin with pinkish skin folds and a black horn. Our upper legs and shoulders are covered in wart-like bumps. We possess very little body hair. 

Our prized possession is our horn and it comes as no surprise when I stand here to profess that poaching for our horn became the single most important reason for our rapid decline. 

In 1910, hunting us in India was prohibited thereafter, however, the unabating changes in climate and breakneck habitat destruction due to severe invasion by alien plants into grasslands affecting some populations; demonstrated reductions in the extent of grasslands and wetland habitats due to woodland encroachment; and grazing by domestic livestock haunt us continually and have confined us to captivity."

"I am the Indian Hog Deer, representing the Hyelaphus porcinus at this conference. We have been classified as an endangered species whose habitat ranges from Pakistan, through northern India, to mainland southeast Asia, which inhabits much of the Indo-Gangetic Plains of Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, Bangladesh, southwestern Yunnan Province in China, all the way to western Thailand. 

We, the members of the Cervidae family get our name from the hog like manner in which we run through the forest with our head hung low so that we can duck under obstacles instead of leaping over them like most other deer. 

Our coat is quite thick and generally a uniform dark-brown in winter. During late spring, the change to a summer coat of rich reddish brown commences. Many of our comrades may also show a dark dorsal stripe extending from the head down the back of the neck and along the spine. Our tail is fairly short and brown but tipped with white. 

We are threatened by hunting for our skin and antlers and by habitat loss and destruction. Poaching us for our obsession is driven by a desire to seek adventure and thrill, by crushing poverty of daily wage laborers, or to take advantage of the business opportunity of supplying lucrative trade."

"I am the Gharial, representing the Gavialis gangeticus at this conference. We have been identified as a critically endangered species who are native to the Indian subcontinent.

We, the members of the Gavialidae family are one of three crocodilians native to India, the other two being the mugger crocodile and the saltwater crocodile.

We once inhabited the lands ranging from the Irrawaddy River in the east to the Indus River in the west. Our distribution is now limited to only two percent of our former range.We inhabit foremost flowing rivers with high sand banks that are utilized to bask and build nests.

We are characterised by our extremely long, thin jaws, regarded as an adaptation to a predominant fish diet. We also owe our name to the resemblance of the nasal growth to an earthen pot known locally as घड़ा.

We are dark or light olive above with dark cross-bands and speckling on the head, body and tail. Our dorsal surfaces become dark, almost grey-black, at about twenty years of age. Our ventral surfaces are yellowish-white. Our fingers are extremely short and thickly emarginated with webs.

We are threatened by the increasing intensity of fishing and the use of gill nets throughout most of the present gharial habitat, even in protected areas and the loss of riverine habitat to dams, barrages, irrigation canals, siltation, changes in river course, artificial embankments, sand-mining, riparian agriculture, and domestic and feral livestock.

We have been reduced to relying on in-situ initiatives and captive breeding to save ourselves from extinction."


All the representative species stood united to acknowledge the fact that these species were the most needful of rescue from the clutches of extinction at the earliest and 'Save The Species' now echoed through the walls of the conference hall. 

It is pivotal to the existence of mankind to realize that it is all about ensuring 'ecological balance' and not 'egological balance'.

Save The Species, heralds species. 
Aids a cause, united, not in pieces.  
Values the co-existence peaceful...  
Encourages rebellion, opposes evil   

Traces the trails of threat, immense 
Haunts, the security of future tense 
Eco, not Ego, is the moral defense...  

Save The Species, save mankind...  
Persevering as one in sight, hind...  
Expect all harmony to prevail once...  
Collective efforts to quit all hunt...   
Inspire GenX to follow your suit...   
Embrace that nature, being its own...  
Shun isolation, embody coevality atone. 

For you wouldn't want those animal documentaries on wildlife channels or on the silver screen, those pictures printed in wildlife journals, or those episodes of recall to your future generations to remind you of these gems of fauna. 

It is an age-old adage, 'Better Late, Than Never'. It is high time that we face the reflective introspection in the mirror which cautions us as thus. 

"अरे, रुक जा रे बन्दे 
अरे, थम जा रे बन्दे 

कि कुदरत हँस पड़ेगी, ओ! 
तेरी कब तक चलेगी ओ!"



Factual information regarding the species is attributed to IUCN Red List, here

The illustration towards the end is the blog's copyright. 

I am participating in the Save the Species contest for the book “Capturing Wildlife Moments in India” in association with Saevus Wildlife India, read the reviews for the book ‘Capturing Wildlife Moments in India’ here.

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