Wildlife Conservation Efforts

New rules to regulate exotic animal trade


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CITES

Mains level : Illict wildlife trade and its prevention

The Environment Ministry’s wildlife division has introduced new rules to regulate the import and export of ‘exotic wildlife species’.

Practice questions for mains:

Q.What are Zoonotic Diseases? Discuss how the illicit trade in wildlife has resulted in the spread of zoonotic diseases of the scale of the ongoing COVID-19?

Which exotic species are these new regulations talking about?

  • The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is an organisation that is tasked with monitoring illegal trade.
  • The advisory says ‘exotic live species’ will cover animals under Appendices I, II and III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.
  • It will not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

What are the new rules?

  • Currently, it is the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce that oversees such trade.
  • Under the new rules, owners and possessors of such animals and birds must also register their stock with the Chief Wildlife Warden of their States.
  • Officials of the Wildlife Department will also prepare an inventory of such species and have the right to inspect the facilities of such traders to check if these plants and animals are being housed in inhumane conditions.
  • Additionally, stockists will have six months to declare their stock.

Why such a move?

  • The illegal trade is estimated to generate revenues of up to $23 billion a year, a/c to FATF.
  • India continues to battle wildlife crime, with reports suggesting that many times such species are available for trade on online market places.

Also read:

Guidelines for Import of Exotic Species

Back2Basics: CITES

  • CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
  • It is as an international agreement aimed at ensuring “that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival”.
  • It was drafted after a resolution was adopted at a meeting of the members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1963.
  • It entered into force on July 1, 1975, and now has 183 parties.
  • The Convention is legally binding on the Parties in the sense that they are committed to implementing it; however, it does not take the place of national laws.
  • India is a signatory to and has also ratified CITES convention in 1976.

CITES Appendices

  • CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls.
  • All import, export, re-exports and introduction from the sea of species covered by the convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.

It has three appendices:

  • Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade-in specimens of these species are permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
  • Appendix II provides a lower level of protection.
  • Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling trade.

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