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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 14 June, 2022

  • 5 Min Read

HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT

HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT

Human-wildlife conflict refers to the harmful interaction between humans and wildlife that lead to a loss in terms of life, property and resources. The expanding human population and their greediness lead to the encroachment of wildlife areas and disturbing their natural habitation.

VERMIN ISSUE AND RECENT LAW: Recently the wildlife (protection) amendment bill 2021 was introduced in the parliament with the objective to change the wildlife (protection) act 1972.

  • 1972 WLPA divide the species into 6 categories for the degree of protection to animals and plants from schedule I to VI, where schedule I and II animals and birds such as tigers and elephants are offered the highest protection and scheduled V list species classified as ‘vermin’ such as common crow, fruit bat, rats and mice which may be hunted freely.
  • The 1972 WLPA doesn’t define the word vermin but it has given the power to the central government to declare any wild animal as vermin except those on schedule I and schedules II for any area and a specified period.
  • Vermin are usually considered a problem or nuisance animal that attack humans, crop, livestock or property and from various report, it could be said that in the last 10-year a huge amount of vermin species has been killed, and even various state has demanded to include elephant, Indian porcupine, bonnet macaque, common langur and barking dear in the vermin status.

In 2016 the central government declared Rhesus monkeys in Himachal Pradesh, wild boar in Uttarakhand and Nilgai in Bihar to be vermin.

WILD LIFE (PROTECTION) Amendment Bill 2021:

The bill seeks to implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and increase the species protected under law. The amendments are as follows:

Rationalization of Schedules

  • It brings a vital change by reducing the number of scheduled from six to four. It also proposes to remove schedule V completely.
  • Insertion of new Schedule for specimens as listed in Appendices under CITES.
  • It also gives the direct power to the central government to declare any species to be vermin and make way for them to be freely hunted.

Formation of New Authorities as per obligation under CITES

  • The bill also provides the central Government to a form Management Authority, for providing permits for the import-export of specimens and a Scientific Authority for undertaking a scientific study on specimens being traded.

Invasive Alien Species

  • The central Government is also empowered to authorize an officer to seize and dispose the invasive alien species (Invasive species is referred to as plants or animal species which are not native to India and whose introduction may adversely impact ecosystem).

Control Of Sanctuaries

  • The act empowers the state Government to appoint Chief Wildlife Warden to control, manage and maintain all the state sanctuaries.
  • The sanctuaries falling under “Special Area”, the management plan to be prepared after consultation with GRAM Panchayat.

Special Area includes:

  1. areas where Schedule Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006, is applicable and
  2. Schedule Areas, which are economically backward area with tribals as prominent population, notified under Schedule V of the Constitution and Schedule Tribes

Conservation Reserves

  • The bill empowers the central government to notify the Conservation reserve. Under the present Act of 1972, State government declares conservation reserve adjacent to national park and sanctuaries for protection of flora, fauna and habitat.

Provision Regarding Captive animals

  • No compensation to be paid by any person who voluntarily surrender any captive animal or animal products to Chief Wildlife Warden. The surrendered item will be the property of State Government.

Increment in Penalties

  • The bill increases the penalties on general violation from Rs 25,000 to up to Rs 1,00,000 and violation on specially protected animals from at least Rs 10,000 to at least Rs 25,000.

Other Criticism of the Bill

  • There was lack of public consultation and participation of forest dwellers prior to the introduction of the bill and also lacks vernacular translation that forest dwellers or local people could participate.
  • Instead of taking ecological approach to define “ invasive alien species” the bill understands the term “alien” (a species not native to India) in geopolitical context, where it excludes invasive native species .Example Katsagon is a native to Eastern India but on being introduced to other states under afforestation campaign, it has become invasive species.

Source: The Hindu


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