The definition of ‘wildlife’ is overshadowed by the diversity of wildlife concepts adopted by various organizations and institutions worldwide. For instance, a google search for ‘wildlife definition’ provides more than 483,000 hits, indicating immense variations of wildlife definitions available in the internet. According to some of the available internet resources, wildlife means: 1) nondomesticated vertebrates, especially mammals, birds, and fish; 2) animals living in the wilderness without human intervention; 3) any animal that is not tamed or domesticated; 4) animals that are not tamed or domesticated; may be small organisms only visible to humans if seen through a microscope, or animals as large as a dinosaur (wildlife includes, but is not limited to, insects, spiders, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and mammals, if nondomesticated); 5) any species of the animal kingdom, except fish, which is wild by nature, whether or not bred or reared in captivity, and includes any part, egg or offspring thereof, or the dead body or parts thereof...; 6) undomesticated species of plants and animals including insects and reptiles; 7) all living things (except people) that are undomesticated; 8) all non-domesticated plants, animals, and other organisms; 9) areas of native vegetation which link larger areas of remaining native vegetation; 10) plants or animals not cultivated or domesticated by humans; 11) anything living, both plants and animals, which is not domesticated; 12) wild animals and vegetation, especially animals living in a natural, undomesticated state. Also, according to the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules of Bhutan, 2006, 'wildlife shall mean all mammals, aves, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, invertebrates, and micro-organisms that are not domesticated.'
These variations of wildlife concepts available in websites and documents indicate the difficulty of defining wildlife precisely. Obviously, there is no consensus on any universally accepted definition of wildlife. Perhaps, wildlife is best defined by the objectives of institutions and organizations concerned with wildlife management. An analysis of wildlife definitions highlighted hitherto indicates that the definitions can be broadly categorized into three groups: 1) those that consider animals, 2) those that include all animals except fishes, and 3) those that include plants and animals. The definition adopted by the ‘Forest and Nature Conservation Rules, 2006,’ falls in the first category. Holistic, comprehensive and ecosystem-based definitions are, however, provided by those that include all living organisms (i.e., plants and animals) that are not domesticated.