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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 04 August, 2022

  • 11 Min Read

Wildlife Protection Amendment Bill 2021

Wildlife Protection Amendment Bill 2021

The Lok Sabha passed by voice vote the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill-2021 which seeks to provide for the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

It also seeks to amend the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

The objective of the bill

  • Prohibition of hunting,
  • Protection and management of wildlife habitats,
  • Establishment and control of trade in parts and products derived from wildlife
  • Management of zoo

CITES

  • The bill aims to implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and expand the number of species protected by this convention.
  • CITES is a convention that requires the countries to regulate the trade of all listed specimens through permits and regulate the possession of live animal specimens so it does not threaten the survival of the species.

Authority:

  • The Bill provides for the Central Government to designate a Management Authority, which grants export or import permits for the trade of specimens.
  • Every person engaging in the trade of a scheduled specimen must report the details of the transaction to the Management Authority.
  • The Bill prohibits any person from modifying or removing the identification mark of the specimen.
  • Formation of Scientific Authority, which advice on aspects related to impact on the survival of the specimens being traded.

Rationalizing schedules

  • The previous Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 had six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and one vermin species (small animals that carry disease and destroy food).
  • The amended bill reduces the total number of schedules to four by removing the schedule for vermin species and reducing the number of schedules for specially protected animals to two.
  • It also inserts a new schedule for specimens listed under the CITES.

Invasive Alien Species:

  • It also 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 that are not native to India and whose introduction may heavily impact the wildlife or its habitat.
  • The central government may authorize an officer to seize and dispose of the invasive species, and export or import licenses.
  • The Bill provides for the central government to designate an authority that will grant the export or import licenses for the trading in specimens.
  • Anyone who trades in a scheduled specimen must inform the appropriate authority of the transaction's specifics.

Greater control and regulation of wildlife sanctuaries

  • The bill will also ensure greater control and the regulation of wildlife sanctuaries and empower the government to notify a conservation reserve, an area located next to sanctuaries, or national parks to protect the flora and the fauna.
  • The Act entrusts the Chief Wildlife Warden to control, manage and maintain all the sanctuaries in a state.
  • The Chief Wildlife Warden is appointed by the state government.
  • The Bill specifies that the actions of the Chief Warden must be in accordance with the management plans for the sanctuary.
  • For sanctuaries falling under special areas, the management plan must be prepared after due consultation with the concerned Gram Sabha.

Penalties:

  • The WPA Act 1972 prescribes imprisonment terms and fines for violating the provisions of the Act.
  • The Bill increases these fines.

Type of Violation 1972 Act 2021 Bill

General violation Up to Rs 25,000 Up to Rs 1,00,000

Specially protected animals at least RS 10,000 at least RS 25,000

Significance

  • The Act regulates the protection of wild animals, birds, and even plants.
  • Increase the species protected under the law.
  • Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA) Act regulates the protection of wild animals, birds, and plants.
  • The Bill seeks to increase the species protected under the law, and implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Participation of forest dwellers: The recent amendment has taken a positive step to increase the participation of forest dwellers within the national parks while determining the management plan.
  • It has mandated the need to consult the Gram Sabha: in protected areas falling under the scheduled areas or areas recognized to possess the forest rights based on claims under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Challenges

  • WLPA severely curtailed the ability to graze across pastoral spaces since the compartments wherein grazing was granted as concessions soon fell within the categories of protected areas.
  • The Van Gujjars are a semi-nomadic pastoral community, which continues to practice seasonal migration across forests in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh in pursuit of their pastoral livelihood, and raised an issue regarding this provision.
  • Vermin: Major concern is with how certain animals are classified as ‘vermin’. Several species which fulfill an ecosystem function should not be declared available to hunt if they cause inconvenience to humans.
  • Trade in Elephants: It shall not apply to the transfer or transport of any live elephant by a person having a certificate of ownership, where such person has obtained prior permission from the State Government on fulfillment of such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
  • CITES

    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 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.

Source: The Indian Express


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