1. What is biodiversity conservation?
  2. In-situ biodiversity conservation (Natural Home)
  3. Difference between a national park, wildlife Sanctuary, and a biosphere reserve
  4. Ex-Situ biodiversity conservation (artificial home)
  5. Seed Banks
  6. Zoos
  7. Decision Making question in CSAT Paper-II
  8. Botanical Gardens (Ex-situ)

What is biodiversity conservation?

First, what is biodiversity: number and variety of plants and animals.
Whatever we do, to protect the number and variety of plants and animals= biodiversity conservation.

There are two Methods of biodiversity conservation

in-situ and ex-situ conservation

  • 1. In-Situ (natural home)
  • 2.Ex-Situ (artificial home)

Actual Question in CSAT 2011

(12.) Which one of the following is not a site for in-situ method of conservation of flora?

  • (a.)Biosphere Reserve
  • (b.) Botanical Garden
  • (c.) National Park
  • (d.) Wildlife Sanctuary

In-situ biodiversity conservation (Natural Home)

  • In this case, you identify an area with high biodiversity (= this area has lot of number and variety of plants and animals)
  • And then, you isolate and protect this area from human activities by establishing a natural park/sanctuary/biosphere reserve etc.
  • Very essential for Big animals like elephants, rhinos, tigers: they require huge area.
Difference between a national park, wildlife Sanctuary, and a biosphere reserve
National Park No human activity or settlement allowed.
Villagers cannot graze their animals, Extremely strict rules about jungle produce collection (Tendu leaves, Honey etc.)
Wildlife Sanctuary People are not allowed to live (some exceptions though) but some human activities are allowed, such as grazing, firewood collection.
Tourism is permitted.
A Sanctuary can be upgraded as a National Park. However a National Park cannot be downgraded as a Sanctuary.
Biosphere reserve People are allowed to live, own private land and carry on their traditional activities. (In the outer-zone)

Ex-Situ biodiversity conservation (artificial home)

  • examples: seed banks, zoo, botanical gardens, aquariums

Seed Banks

  • They store seeds at extremely low temperature and humidity.
  • Advantage: can save large variety of plant species in a very small space.

Seed Banks : Problems

  • every seed has an expiry date, you cannot store it for an indefinite time. So every once in a while, you have to take out the seeds, germinate them and get new seeds and store them again.
  • Multinational companies such as Monasoto have excellent infrastructure for these activities, but they care for storing the seeds of commercially viable species only. Ex. Wheat, maize, rice, potato, brinjal etc. for doing research and development on them, and create new hybrid varieties.
  • They have no interest in protecting some unknown grass or fruit of jungle on the verge of extinction, this duty falls on the (inefficient) government agencies.


  • You can bring some endangered species in zoo, try to breed them, and reintroduce their offsprings in the jungle. (done in case of pandas, orangutans etc.)


  • Enforces minimum standards and norms for upkeep and health care of animals in Indian Zoos
  • Restrains mushrooming of unplanned and ill-conceived Zoos that were cropping up as adjuncts to public parks, industrial complexes and waysides.

Zoo Problems

  • Not all species can breed in captivity. Life expectancy of Caged Ex-situ animal is less compared to its in-situ cousin.
  • Offsprings born in captivity, have problems in adjusting and surviving in jungles.
  • Tiger cub born in zoo, feeding on readymade meat, living in a small area, cannot easily survive in a jungle. It doesn’t know how to efficiently move in a jungle and hunt animals.
  • Zoos require huge land, lot of funds, trained personnel.
  • Zoos concentrate on protection and breeding of big and popular species such as Tiger, Panda, orangutans, etc. as it brings more public support and funds.
  • But small and unknown species such as frogs and birds get neglected.

Decision Making question in CSAT Paper-II

(also for “Case-study” is Group discussions in MBA admission)
You are the superintendent of Kankaria Zoo, Ahmedabad.  Recently you have received funds from an international charity organisation to purchase animals.
Your Subordinate staff has given you a suggestion→
There is a sharp decline in number of zoo visitors, we hardly get any money from ticket sales and mostly relying on Government funds (just like AirIndia) so Better purchase popular animals. Currently Panda and Tigress are hot favorite among kids after the movie “Kung Fu Panda #2”. Kids will beg their parents to visit our zoo every weekend, we will also sell stuffed toys and souvenirs of those animals for extra-income.

Verbal instruction from Environment Minister→
Buy a pair of African Lions because it is our party’s election symbol. In return I’ll see to it that your zoo gets more fund allocations in next year’s budget.

Demand by Local Civil Society and NGO lobby→
Buy certain small frogs, birds and snakes from Brazilian Rainforest, because they’re on verge of extinction, they cannot survive in the natural habitat given the tree-cutting and pollution and must be protected in an Ex-situ habitat. They’ll require less space and expenditure than typical big animal such as Lion or Panda.

What will be your decision as the zoo superintendent?

  • 1. Buy Panda and Tigress , to bring more of visitors and earn more ticket revenue.
  • 2. African Lion, the election symbol of ruling party to get more funds in next budget.
  • 3. Those Small frogs, birds and snakes, on the verge of Extinction.
  • 4. No purchase, return the money back to that Charity org.

Mock MCQ:
Which of the following is true about Indian and African Elephants

  • A. For African Elephants: Only males have tusks but females don’t.
  • B. For Indian Elephants: Only females have tusks but males don’t.

Continuing the discussion further, another ex-situ method

Botanical Gardens (Ex-situ)

  • for example, BOTANIC GARDEN OF THE INDIAN REPUBLIC (BGIR), NOIDA has been set up to facilitate ex situ conservation and propagation of rare and threatened indigenous plants of the country
  • Problem: area and funds :
  • They do not get as much media attention, public support and charity like the zoos.

WFST: which of the following statements are true?

  • 1. Ex-situ is the most convenient and effective method for saving big animals.
  • 2. Central Zoo authority looks after the matters related to prevention of cruelty to animals.
  • 3. Human activities are allowed in National parks but not in wild-life sanctuaries.
  • 4. India has more National parks compared to Wild-life sanctuaries.
  • 5. Wild Ass is only found in Ranthambhor,  Rajasthan.
  • 6. Bactrian camel (Two Humped Camel) is a native to Central America.
  • 7. Aquarium is an example of In-situ method of biodiversity conservation.