The Lok Sabha passed the Wildlife (Protection), Amendment Bill, with no significant modifications to the version of the Bill presented in the House for discussion.
GS III- Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
- Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill: Key Features
About Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
- WPA provides for the protection of the country’s wild animals, birds and plant species, in order to ensure environmental and ecological security.
- 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.|
Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill: Key Features
- CITES is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
- Under CITES, plant and animal specimens are classified into three categories (Appendices) based on the threat to their extinction.
- The Convention requires countries to regulate the trade of all listed specimens through permits.
- It also seeks to regulate the possession of live animal specimens.
- The Bill seeks to implement these provisions of CITES.
- Currently, the Act has six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and vermin species (one).
- Vermin refers to small animals that carry disease and destroy food.
- The Bill reduces the total number of schedules to four by:
- Reducing the number of schedules for specially protected animals to two (one for greater protection level),
- Removes the schedule for vermin species, and
- Inserts a new schedule for specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES (scheduled specimens).
Obligations under CITES:
- The Bill provides for the central government to designate a:
- Management Authority, which grants export or import permits for trade of specimens,
- Scientific Authority, which gives advice on aspects related to impact on the survival of the specimens being traded.
- Every person engaging in trade of a scheduled specimen must report the details of the transaction to the Management Authority.
- As per CITES, the Management Authority may use an identification mark for a specimen.
- The Bill prohibits any person from modifying or removing the identification mark of the specimen.
- Additionally, every person possessing live specimens of scheduled animals must obtain a registration certificate from the Management Authority.
Invasive alien species:
- The Bills empowers the central government to regulate or prohibit the import, trade, possession or proliferation of invasive alien species.
- Invasive alien species refers to plant or animal species which are not native to India and whose introduction may adversely impact wild life or its habitat.
- The central government may authorise an officer to seize and dispose the invasive species.
Control of sanctuaries:
- The Act entrusts the Chief Wild Life Warden to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries in a state.
- The Chief Wild Life Warden is appointed by the state government.
- The Bill specifies that actions of the Chief Warden must be in accordance with the management plans for the sanctuary.
- These plans will be prepared as per guidelines of the central government, and as approved by the Chief Warden.
- For sanctuaries falling under special areas, the management plan must be prepared after due consultation with the concerned Gram Sabha. Special areas include a Scheduled Area or areas where the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is applicable.
- Scheduled Areas are economically backward areas with a predominantly tribal population, notified under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.
- Under the Act, state governments may declare areas adjacent to national parks and sanctuaries as a conservation reserve, for protecting flora and fauna, and their habitat.
- The Bill empowers the central government to also notify a conservation reserve.
Surrender of captive animals:
- The Bill provides for any person to voluntarily surrender any captive animals or animal products to the Chief Wild Life Warden.
- No compensation will be paid to the person for surrendering such items.
- The surrendered items become property of the state government.
-Source: The Hindu