March 3 is celebrated as United Nations World Wildlife Day. This marks the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. Every year on this day, events are held around the world to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
The theme of World Wildlife Day 2020 is “Sustaining all Life on Earth”. This celebrates the special place of wild plants and animals in their many varied and beautiful forms as a component of the world’s biological diversity.
India is a treasure house of biological diversity. It harbours 8% of the world’s biodiversity on just 2% of the earth’s surface. It is one of the 17 mega-diversity countries in the world with ten biogeographic zones, and an incredible diversity of habitats, flora and fauna.
Here is my small ode to this wild and wondrous land and its denizens.
I live in such a magical land
Of mountains and valleys, plateaus and sand.
Jungles and farmland, deserts, islands and seas,
Here’s to my land of biodiversity.
It’s all about Life and Variety
In forests and fields, deserts and seas,
Animals and crops, microbes and trees.
Colours and patterns, functions and form,
To survive and thrive, adapt and transform.
Snow leopard and yak, and double-humped camels
The Himalayan cold desert is home to these mammals.
Shining blue lakes in the rugged landscape
Welcome winged visitors many coloured and shaped.
Experience it, share it, enjoy it.
Where the mighty Ganga flows
River dolphins swim and gharials are found.
Proud tigers prowl, and deer abound
The fertile plains with bounteous yields
From forests and farmlands and fields.
See it, taste it, smell it, feel it.
The North East is truly a garden of Eden
Full of priceless treasures, many still hidden.
Feathery ferns, bright orchids, bamboos tall
Where rhinos roam and Hoolock Gibbons call.
Appreciate it, savour it, explore it.
Discover that deserts are dry but alive,
Their dwellers have special tricks to survive
Store water, shed leaves, or burrow in the sand.
Why, even tigers and lions roar in this land.
Treasure it, enjoy it, study it.
In the Western Ghats meet a tahr, and a tiger too
Jumbos in jungles and a hornbill or two.
Colourful frogs that croak and call
Snakes and snails that slither and crawl.
Learn from it, weave with it, heal with it.
Deccan highlands and grasslands, plateaux that soar
Dotted with buffalos, cows, goats and sheep galore
There grow seeds and cereals upon which we feast
And people who celebrate it all with their dancing feet.
Plant it, grow it, cook it, eat it.
Deep in the seas meet clown fish and anemone in a coral jungle
Crabs, crocs and tigers in a mangrove tangle.
On islands in waters blue and green
See a megapode, a monitor, a Nicobar pigeon preen.
Track it, live with it, delight in it!
It’s all about Life and Variety.
Celebrate it, protect it, conserve it!