You are living in Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi, passionate about wildlife, but have no technical knowledge about it. The question you may ask yourself is: “what can I do to help with conservation of biodiversity?” Let us start with a general statement valid for all of us anywhere in the world and then go to the three points.
Biodiversity and particularly wildlife, suffers from too many people consuming too much. Therefore what you can do very practically is: have less children and be very specific about any purchase. We are bombarded with ca. 5000 advertisements per day (in the street, on the computer and on TV) saying we can do what we want all day long, 365 days a year. It is good to remember this has adverse consequences.
Point 1: respect the rules when you visit a protected area. The Forest Department (FD) says: limit your speed, don’t horn, don’t take pictures (unless you have permission), don’t get out of your vehicle. Just do that. Most people drive too fast and kill animals. On weekends, the jungle looks like a suburb. If we simply behaved, then even a crowd would seem inconspicuous. Now, you might think: “why is this picture rule?” I must say I don’t know. I guess the FD does this to avoid having traffic jams on the jungle roads. If you are not happy with this rule, then you should write to the FD. They may be able to organize authorized parking spaces along the forest roads. They may be able to open some safe trekking routes. You should be part of the solution.
Point 2: don’t patronize activities and places that do not respect wildlife. Never go on an unauthorized jeep safari. Try not to go to hotels or restaurants that have no sense of environment management. Such hotels usually are within wildlife corridors, have barriers, bonfires, do not regulate noise or light pollution, and have no waste management policy. Now, again this is limiting: where to find the right places and what to do during a visit? I have no proper answer but with minimum efforts, you will find out. In some regions, the FD is not organized. Again, be part of the solution: write to the FD to complain (politely), to propose, to suggest and sometimes to congratulate. Without your adult contribution and involvement, nothing will move.
Point 3: get involved. You may not have much time, but you can join an organization, read, write, and suggest to the different administrations. You can also write to people like us, this is why I put our email at the bottom of this post. There are hundreds of organizations who can help. Some are serious, they can be found, just test the waters…
To conclude, there is a great effort to involve local communities in forest management. Who says you are not a local? It is also your forest. Take care of it.