ON THIS DAY – 21st AUGUST, Wildlife Protection Act was passed

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The Indian Parliament enacted the Wildlife (Protection) Act in 1972, which provides for the safeguard and protection of the wildlife (flora and fauna) in the country. On 21st August 1972, the Wildlife Protection Act was passed. This act was later implemented on 9th September 1972.

This act prohibits the capturing, killing, poisoning or trapping of wild animals. The Government of India has enacted the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 with various objectives- Prohibition of hunting, Protection and management of wildlife habitats, Establishment of protected areas, Regulation and control of trade in parts and products derived from wildlife, and Management of zoos.

Wildlife Protection Act 1972 prohibits the injuring, destroying and removing any part of a wild animal body. In the case of wild birds and reptiles, the act also forbids disturbing or damaging their eggs. This 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.

The Act provides for the formation of wildlife advisory boards, wildlife wardens, specifies their powers and duties, etc. It helped India become a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES is a multilateral treaty with the objective of protecting endangered animals and plants. It is also known as the Washington Convention and was adopted as a result of a meeting of IUCN members. For the first time, a comprehensive list of the endangered wildlife of the country was prepared. The Act prohibited the hunting of endangered species. Scheduled animals are prohibited from being traded as per the Act’s provisions. The Act provides for licenses for the sale, transfer and possession of some wildlife species. It provides for the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, etc. Its provisions paved the way for the formation of the Central Zoo Authority. This is the central body responsible for the oversight of zoos in India. It was established in 1992.

The National Board for Wildlifewas constituted as a statutory organisation under the provisions of this Act. This is an advisory board that offers advice to the central government on issues of wildlife conservation in India. It is also the apex body to review and approve all matters related to wildlife, projects of national parks, sanctuaries, etc. The chief function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests. It is chaired by the Prime Minister.

The Act also provided for the establishment of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. It is a statutory body of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change with an overall supervisory and coordination part, performing capacities as given in the Act. Its mandate is to strengthen tiger conservation in India. It gives statutory authority to Project Tiger which was launched in 1973 and has put the endangered tiger on a guaranteed path of revival by protecting it from extinction.

PUNISHMENTS UNDER THIS ACT

Penalties for any violation under this act can be carried out by agencies like: The Police, The Central Bureau of Investigation, The Forest Department, and the Customs. Charge sheets are filed by the Forest Department and other agencies who encounter violators, then usually hand over their case to the Forest Department.

 

WILDLIFE PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACTS

This Act provides for the protection of the country’s wild animals, birds and plant species, in order to ensure environmental and ecological security. Among other things, the Act lays down restrictions on hunting many animal species. The Act was last amended in the year 2006. An Amendment bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2013 and referred to a Standing Committee, but it was withdrawn in 2015.

This amendment for the act was made in 2002 but came into force in January 2003 and under it, the punishment for defaulters is harsher. If someone is caught in the process of trade of animal trophies and other articles derived from wild animals they will be subjected to three years of imprisonment and/or a fine of Rs. 25,000/-

 

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.

The Wildlife Protection Amendment Bill, 2013, was introduced by Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan in the Rajya Sabha on August 5, 2013. The bill seeks to further amend the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. It has a provision of imprisonment up to seven years for poaching or hunting of wild animals. The Bill also protects the hunting rights of Scheduled Tribes in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

In the year 2015, Prakash Javadekar asked to withdraw the amendment bill to further amend the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, and announced a lot of changes which needs to be made before actually implementing it. These changes were announced in Rajya Sabha.

ARTICLES OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION

Article 48A of the Constitution of India directs the State to protect and improve the environment and the safeguard wildlife and forests. This article was added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976.

Article 51A imposes certain fundamental duties for the people of India. One of them is to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.

ANIMALS FOR ENTERTAINMENT

Animals have been and will continue to be used in entertainment, often to the detriment of the animals. While laws are helpful in banning and regulating certain practices, it is the demand for the entertainment that will always keep the business flourishing. Dog fighting and cock fighting are illegal in many parts of the world yet it is often practiced illegally.

Some countries, including Sweden, Austria, Costa Rica, India, Finland, and Singapore have restricted the use of animals in entertainment (Wikipedia).The UK and Scottish Parliaments have committed to ban certain wild animals in travelling circuses. Many people are starting to feel uncertain about animal acts in circuses and are opting to avoid circuses and find alternative forms of entertainment. Well produced film and television programs, which use humanely trained animal actors working in supervised conditions can be educational as well as entertaining. 

There are many educational films and television programs which accurately represent animals while utilizing animal actors.  Such works can advance knowledge of animals and raise awareness of their lives and needs.

IMPORTANCE OF WILDLIFE

Conservation has several areas of importance. Biodiversity is one important issue. Reduction in numbers of one animal interrupts the eco system and the natural food chain, and leads to the threat of other species. Animal conservation can be important to relieve suffering for animals because they are kept captive. In addition to the suffering cause to the animals, these activities create sharp population decline for the species.

Reduction in numbers of one animal can also have a chain effect on other species that are important to human beings. All animals play an important role in the eco system. The loss or reduction of certain species can have a flow on effect; including an affect on human food and water source that are critical to our survival. Reduction in numbers of one animal can also have a chain effect on other species that are important to human beings.

 All animals play an important role in the eco system. The loss or reduction of certain species can have a flow on effect; including an affect on human food and water source that are critical to our survival. Conserving wildlife also means conserving heritage and traditional culture. Frontier volunteers are thrown into the deep end on purpose and are free to communicate and roam as they please, conversing and challenging themselves in the country they volunteer in.

The Mother Nature requires that different species stay connected by means of various food webs. It means that the extinction or demise of one particular species might influence one or more other species down the line. Conserving wildlife can be a preventive step to stay safe prior to any unforeseeable environmental issue.