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Wildlife Protection Act 1972 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS

Wildlife Protection Act 1972

On 5th June 1972: UN Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm.
That is why, 5th June came to be celebrated all over the world as World Environment Day. 
India took big step by enacting The Wildlife (Protection) Act in 1972.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 48-A : “The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forest and wildlife of the country”.
  • Article 51-A(g):”It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures”.
  • Article 21: Right to clean environment

It provides for state wildlife advisory boards, regulations for hunting wild animals and birds,
establishment of sanctuaries and national parks,
regulations for trade in wild animals, animal products and trophies, and judicially imposed penalties for violating the Act.

The act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants.
It provides for protection of hunting rights of the Scheduled Tribes in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
It has provisions for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
It regulates the trade of wild animals, birds and plants.

It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection.
Species listed in Schedule I and part II of Schedule II get absolute protection — offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower.
Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted.
The plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting

Schedule I:
Species: Endangered species.
Penalty: Harsh with imprisonment
Hunting: Not allowed.
Trade: Prohibited
Examples: Tiger, Blackbuck, Himalayan Brown Bear, Brow-Antlered Deer, Blue whale, Common Dolphin, Cheetah, Clouded Leopard, Hornbills, Indian Gazelle, and many others.
Schedule II
Penalty: Harsh
Hunting: Not allowed.
Trade: Prohibited
Examples: Kohinoor (insect), Assamese Macaque, Bengal Hanuman langur, Large Indian Civet, Indian Fox, Larger Kashmir Flying Squirrel, Kashmir Fox and many others.
Schedule III & IV
Species: Not Endangered.
Penalty: Less compare to I & II
Hunting: Not allowed.

Examples: Hyena, Himalayan rat, porcupine, flying fox, Malabar tree toad, etc.
Schedule V
Hunting: Allowed.
Examples: Mice, Rat, common crow, fruit bats, etc.
Schedule VI
Species: Include plants that are forbidden from cultivation
Examples: Pitcher plant, Blue Vanda, Red vanda, Kuth, etc.

Q. In India, if a species of tortoise is declared protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, what does it imply? (2017)

  1. It enjoys the same level of protection as the tiger.
  2. It no longer exists in the wild, a few individuals are under captive protection; and now it is impossible to prevent its extinction.
  3. It is endemic to a particular region of India.
  4. Both (2) and (3) stated above are correct in this context.

Q. According to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which of the following animals cannot be hunted by any person except under some provisions provided by law? (2017)

  1. Gharial
  2. Indian wild ass
  3. Wild buffalo

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. All

1. National Board for Wildlife
2. National Tiger Conservation Authority
3. Sanctuaries
4. National Parks
5. Conservation Reserves
6. Community Reserves
7. Tiger Reserve

National Board for Wildlife :

  • It is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • Its roles is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country.
  • Primary function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
  • It has power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
  • No alternation of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without approval of the NBWL.
  • Composition: The NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister. It has 47 members including the Prime Minister. Among these, 19 members are ex-officio members. Other members include three Members of Parliament (two from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha), five NGOs and 10 eminent ecologists, conservationists and environmentalists.

National Parks vs Sanctuaries

Features of Wildlife Sanctuary

1. It is natural area which is reserve by a governmental or private agency for the protection of particular species.

2. Area is designated for the protection of wild animals.

3. Only animals are conserved, Could be private property also, outside activities allowed.

4. IUCN has defined  its Category IV type of protected areas.

Features of National Park:

. Reserve area of land, owned by the government.

2. Area is protected from human exploitation, industrialization and pollution.

3. No cutting, Grazing allowed, Outside Species Allowed

4. Conservation of ‘wild nature’ for posterity and as a symbol of national pride.

5. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and its World Commission on Protected Areas, has defined  its Category II type of protected areas.

Conservation reserve and Community reserve:

The State Government after consultations with local communities can declare any area owned by the Government, particularly areas adjacent to national parks or sanctuaries, as conservation reserves. The government constitutes a Conservation Reserve Management Committee to manage and conserve the conservation reserve.

The State Government can, in consultation with the community or an individual who have volunteered to conserve wildlife, declare any private or community land as community reserve. A Community Reserve Management Committee shall be constituted by State Government for conserving and managing the reserve.

Example: Gogabeel is Bihar’s first community reserve. Gogabeel is formed from the flow of the rivers Mahananda and Kankhar in the north and the Ganga in the south and east.

More than 90 bird species have been recorded from this site, of which, about 30 are migratory. Among the threatened species, the Lesser Adjutant Stork is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN while the Black Necked Stork, White Ibis and White-eyed Pochard are ‘Near Threatened’.

Tiger Reserve:

These areas were reserved for protection tiger in the country. The State Government on the recommendation of the Tiger Conservation Authority may notify an area as a tiger reserve, for which it has to prepare a Tiger Conservation Plan.

February 2024