Priority species

India’s rich biodiversity and unique wildlife are itsgreatest national treasures. As the country embarks on a programme of rapid development, India’s wildlife, including charismatic species such as the tiger, elephant, rhino and their habitats face the constant threat of degradation and fragmentation. WWF-India’s conservation efforts seek to secure long term survival of India’s wildlife and their habitats.
Wildlife species conservationat WWF-India began with the initiation of the Tiger Conservation Programme (TCP) in the early 1970s. In the year 2000, the programme diversified into several conservation projects targeting tigers, Asian elephant and rhino, and in 2005, added Nilgiri tahr, red panda and snow leopard to the list. The programme used a landscape conservation approach, which replaced the former strategy of focusing only on the Protected Areas. This approach involves local communities by making them stakeholders in relevant conservation issues of the area and implementing field level activities and direct interventions across different landscapes.

Currently, WWF-India is addressing species conservation through field-level activities in different landscapes as well as through direct interventions aimed at conserving a particular species. These programmes focus on threats to wildlife and the issues surrounding these threats. Prominent among these are poaching, human-wildlife conflict, trade in wildlife parts, habitat destruction and legal support. The project activities are carried out at field as well as policy levels. They are mainly related to scientific information gathering, working with the local communities, NGOs and government agencies including the state forest departments.

The overall objectives under which these activties are undertaken are:
  • Tiger populations in priority landscapes are conserved for posterity
  • Elephant populations and their habtiats are secured in Terai Arc Landscape, North Bank Landscape, Kaziranga Karbi Anglong Landscape and Western Ghats Nilgiris Landscape
  • Distribution of rhinos in North Bank Landscape, Kaziranga Karbi Anglong Landscape and Terai Arc Landscape is expanded to ensure long term survival
  • Conserve populations and habitats of red panda, snow leopard and Nilgiri tahr
  • Innovative and scalable models of community based conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and institutional partnerships are established in all landscapes
  • Landscape and forest conservation priorities are integrated into state development plans and policy advocacy undertaken for forest, species and habitat conservation
© Hari Somashekar/WWF-India
© Hari Somashekar/WWF-India
WWF-India works on the following priority species that have global and/or national importance: Apart from the priority species, WWF-India also has a Threatened Species Conservation Programme that includes the following species: WWF-India sees the above and a few other species as critical to India’s wildlife conservation for reasons that include the rarity of the species as well as the cultural importance they have for the people of the country. In addition to these species, WWF-India also encourages conservation-oriented action/research on species through its Small Grants Programme, which began in 2011.
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