|One of the species for which funding is solicited is the great Indian bustard.|
The central government had initially constituted the program ‘Assistance for development of national parks and sanctuaries’ to support activities within protected areas. Later, in 2009, this was extended to back wildlife conservation outside protected areas (PAs) and the scheme was rechristened ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH)’. This was considered necessary as some wildlife species such as the sarus crane, the endangered snow leopard and the grey wolf are predominantly found outside the borders of PAs and some others like the leopard and sloth bear are found in significant numbers even outside PAs. Similarly, some of the habitats in which these species survive, such as grasslands, river systems and lakes, are largely inside human dominated landscapes. The goal of IDWH is to recover critically endangered species and habitats outside PAs and areas of high biodiversity value as well as to protect corridors and areas adjoining PAs. Thus, for over a decade and a half, the central government has supported various conservation activities outside PAs.
Though this model is the first of its kind in India at such large scales, they are already prevalent in other parts of the world. Conservation projects run privately (by individuals, private foundations or corporations) and by civil society on both public and private lands already exist in some countries. Conservation organizations, foundations and individuals have bought land for wildlife conservation in Latin America, North America and Africa. In some instances, thousands of hectares of such privately held conservation land have been eventually donated to the government to be declared as protected areas. Some of these wild land philanthropic initiatives even include developing a mix of land uses such as socially beneficial agricultural restoration, organic farms and nature-based recreation. They have also included the development of public-access infrastructure within them to provide immediate benefits to society.