1. Every form of human activity upsets or changes the wildlife complex of the area unceasingly and unavoidably. Man has destroyed many forms of wildlife for no reasonable purpose. Small sections of the community, for their own narrow, selfish ends, have destroyed many things of general interest. Expediency has often led man to make grave blunders in land use, habitat destruction, and the extermination of many forms of wildlife.
2. In his everyday life, man’s attitude is determined in the main by purely practical considerations; ethical or moral considerations come afterwards. Looked at in this way, the disappearance from Britain of such animals as the wolf and wild boar can be more easily understood. In our intensively cultivated and over–populated country there was no room for such large mammals, the one a predator of big livestock and the other a pest to agriculture. Thus, man’s first attitude to animals is the result of their effect on his own survival, or what he considers to be their effect on his survival.
3. Then there is his concern with sport. The animals he sets aside for this purpose are given special protection and war is waged unceasingly on any other creatures that may be a danger to them. This creates many problems and man has made serious errors in his destruction of predators. Until recent years all hawks and falcons were destroyed as “vermin” by game preservers. This meant the destruction of kestrels, which are useful to the farmer: it meant the destruction of owls, which are useful to the farmer; so here you had sport acting against the interests of food production. agedy of all this is that all the killing of predators did not in any way improve man’s sport. It has been clearly shown by modern research that eagles, hawks, falcons and predatory mammals have not the slightest effect on the numbers of game birds anywhere.
4. Broadly speaking, man wages war against the creatures which he considers harmful, even when his warfare makes little or no difference to the numbers of his enemies. And he encourages those creatures which are useful, even though their attacks on pests make little difference to the numbers of those pests. It would be true to say, therefore, that our attitude to song–birds, to most birds of prey and to many of our predatory animals, arises from the fact that they have either been proved useful or of no consequence. Either way, from this, we have developed the idea of conservation which means preserving what we have left of our heritage of wildlife and even finding room for rarities which may do a little damage on the side.
13.1. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions in 30–40 words each:
(a) What has been man’s attitude towards wildlife?
Man is selfish and self–centred. He has no morals and ethics. For him it is practical aspects first and then other things. He can kill any animal, over–cultivate crops, cut forests and all this for his survival.
(b) How is the justification given for the killing of wolves and wild boar in Britain?
Britain, being intensely cultivated and over–populated, destroyed its wolf and wild boar population because of man’s preoccupation with preserving only those animals that had practical implications therefore, the wolf, a predator of livestock and the boar, a pest to agriculture, were destroyed.
(c) Why has man been killing predators?
Man has been killing predators because he thinks that they are a danger to the birds useful in sports. But killing these animals has had no effect on the number of game birds. In nature it is a cycle. If man disturbs this cycle everything gets disturbed.
(d) In the last paragraph the writer talks about contradictory opinions. Explain.
Man kills those animals which he thinks are harmful and protects those which he thinks are worth preserving. But in all this he forgets that it is his idea of conservation and not nature’s.
13.2. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer of the following:
(a) In para 1, the synonym of ‘opportunism’ is ________.
Correct Option is (ii) expediency
(b) In para 4, the antonym of ‘endangering’ is _________.
Correct Option is (ii) preserving
(c) Conservation is an idea to preserve our heritage of wildlife from the damaging effect of human activity. (True/False)
(d) Killing of predators by the man, who are a danger to the birds useful in sports has had no effect _________.
on the number of game birds