From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : CITES, WPA Act
Mains level : Read the attached story
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.
What is the 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 the protection of a listed species of animals, birds and plants, and also for the establishment of a network of ecologically-important protected areas in the country.
- It provides for various types of protected areas such as Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks etc.
- The act is also against Taxidermy, which is the preservation of a dead wild animal as a trophy, or in the form of rugs, preserved skins, antlers, horns, eggs, teeth, and nails.
- In the case of wild birds and reptiles, the act also forbids disturbing or damaging their eggs.
- The act was amended in the year 2006 and its purpose is to strengthen the conservation of tigers and other endangered species by combating crimes against them through the special Crime Control Bureau.
There are six schedules provided in the WPA for protection of wildlife species which can be concisely summarized as under:
|Schedule I:||These species need rigorous protection and therefore, the harshest penalties for violation of the law are for species under this Schedule.|
|Schedule II:||Animals under this list are accorded high protection. They cannot be hunted except under threat to human life.|
|Schedule III & IV:||This list is for species that are not endangered. This includes protected species but the penalty for any violation is less compared to the first two schedules.|
|Schedule V:||This schedule contains animals which can be hunted.|
|Schedule VI:||This list contains plants that are forbidden from cultivation.|
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.
(2) Obligations under CITES:
- The Bill provides for the central government to designate a: (i) Management Authority, which grants export or import permits for trade of specimens, and (iii) 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.
(3) Rationalising schedules
- 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
- Inserts a new schedule for specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES (scheduled specimens)
(4) 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.
(5) 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.
(6) Conservation reserves
- 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.
(7) 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.
- 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 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.
Try this PYQ from CSP 2022:
Q. With reference to Indian laws about wildlife protection, consider the following statements:
- Wild animals are the sole property of the government.
- When a wild animal is declared protected, such animal is entitled for equal protection whether it is found in protected areas or outside.
- Apprehension of a protected wild animal becoming a danger to human life is sufficient ground for its capture or killing.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 3 only
Post your answers here.