Wildlife (Protection) Act (WPA), 1972

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Introduction:-

Wildlife Provisions in the Constitution:

  • Forests and Protection of Wild Animals and Birds, the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, were moved from the State to the Concurrent List.
  • According to Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution, it is every citizen\’s fundamental obligation to safeguard and develop the natural environment, especially forests and wildlife.
  • Article 48 A of the Directive Principles of State Policy states that the government must work to maintain and develop the environment, as well as the country\’s forests and animals.

Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972:

  • The Act was designed to safeguard flora and animals from extinction.
  • It covers the whole country of India, with the exception of the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • India had just five recognised national parks prior to this act.
  • • India has 101 national parks at the moment.

Authorities Appointed under the Act:

  • The Director of Wildlife Preservation, as well as assistant directors and other officers reporting to him, are appointed by the federal government.
  • State governments designate a Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW), who leads the department\’s Wildlife Wing and has full administrative responsibility over Protected Areas (PAs) within a state.
  • State governments also have the authority to appoint Wildlife Wardens in each district.

Salient Features of the Act :-

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Prohibition of hunting:

  • Any wild animal included in Schedules I, II, III, and IV of the legislation is prohibited from being hunted.

Exception:

  • If a wild species included on these schedules becomes threatening to human life or property, it can only be hunted/killed with the consent of the state\’s Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) (including standing crops on any land).
  • It is incapacitated or is afflicted with an incurable sickness.

Cutting/Uprooting of Specific Plants is Prohibited:

  • It makes it illegal to uproot, destroy, gather, possess, or sell any specific plant from any forest or protected region.

Exception:

  • The CWLW, on the other hand, may provide authorization to uproot or collect a specific plant for educational, scientific, or herbarium purposes, or if a person or institution has been permitted by the central government to do so.

Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks: Establishment and Protection:

  • Any place of sufficient ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural, or zoological interest might be designated as a Sanctuary by the Central Government.
  • The government can also designate an area as a National Park (including a portion of a sanctuary).
  • The federal government appoints a Collector to handle the region designated as a Sanctuary.

Constitution of Various Bodies:

  • The Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) establishes entities like as the National and State Boards for Wildlife, the Central Zoo Authority, and the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Government Property:

  • Hunted wild animals (other than vermin), animal goods or wild animal flesh, and ivory transported into India, as well as articles derived from such ivory, are considered the government\’s property.

Bodies Constituted under the Act :-

National Board for Wildlife (NBWL):

  • The National Board for Wildlife would be established by the Indian federal government, according to the statute (NBWL).
  • It acts as the governing authority for all wildlife-related concerns, as well as the approval of four projects in and surrounding national parks and sanctuaries.
  • The Prime Minister chairs the NBWL, which is charged with promoting wildlife and forest conservation and development.
  • The Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change serves as Vice-Chairperson of the board.
  • The board\’s role is \’advisory,\’ meaning it can only advise the government on wildlife conservation policies.

Standing Committee of NBWL:

  • The NBWL establishes a Standing Committee to review and approve any projects that are within 10 kilometres of protected wildlife zones.
  • The Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change chairs the committee.

State Board for Wildlife (SBWL):

  • The formation of the state board of wildlife is the responsibility of the state governments.
  • The board\’s chairperson is the state/chief UT\’s minister.
  • The board provides advice to the state government on: • the selection and administration of places to be designated as protected areas; and • the establishment of a strategy for wild life preservation and conservation.
  • Any issue concerning the revision of any Schedule.

Central Zoo Authority:

  • The statute establishes the Central Zoo Authority, which consists of ten members, including the Chairperson and a Member-Secretary.
  • The chairperson is the Environment Minister.
  • The authority is in charge of granting zoos recognition as well as regulating zoos around the country.
  • It establishes norms and procedures for the movement of animals between zoos both domestically and internationally.

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was established in 2005 to improve tiger conservation in response to the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force.
  • The Chairperson of the NTCA is the Union Environment Minister, and the Vice-Chairperson is the State Environment Minister.
  • More than 50 wildlife sanctuaries in India have been classified as Tiger Reserves and are protected places under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, on the suggestion of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB):

  • The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) was established under the statute to combat organised wildlife crime in the country.
  • The Bureau\’s headquarters are located in New Delhi.
  • Collect and consolidate intelligence relating to organised wildlife crime operations and disclose it to the State in order for the offenders to be apprehended.
  • Create a consolidated data bank for wildlife crime.
  • Assist state governments in ensuring the success of wildlife crime prosecutions.
  • Provide advice to the Indian government on matters involving wildlife crimes with national and international consequences, as well as applicable policies and regulations.

Schedules under the Act :-

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The Wildlife (Protected) Act of 1972 includes six schedules that split the protection status of numerous plants and animals:

Schedule I:

  • It covers endangered species that need to be protected to the fullest extent possible. Poaching, killing, and selling of the species are prohibited.
  • A person who violates the law under this Schedule is subject to the greatest penalties.
  • Species included in this Schedule are forbidden from being hunted across India, unless they pose a threat to human life or are infected with a disease that is incurable.
  • The Black Buck, for example, is one of the species protected under Schedule I.
  • Bengal Tiger
  • Clouded Leopard
  • Snow Leopard
  • Swamp Deer
  • Himalayan Bear
  • Asiatic Cheetah
  • Kashmiri Stag
  • Fishing Cat
  • Lion-tailed Macaque
  • Musk Deer
  • Rhinoceros
  • Brow Antlered Deer
  • Chinkara (Indian Gazelle)
  • Capped Langur
  • Golden Langur
  • Hoolock Gibbon
  • Capped Langur
  • Golden Langur
  • Hoolock Gibbon

Schedule II:

  • Animals on this list are also given special protection, with their trade prohibited.
  • They cannot be hunted unless they pose a threat to human life or are afflicted with an illness or ailment that is incurable.
  • The following creatures are listed in Schedule II:
  • Assamese Macaque, Pig Tailed Macaque, Stump Tailed Macaque
  • Bengal Hanuman langur
  • Himalayan Black Bear
  • Himalayan Newt/ Salamander
  • Jackal
  • Flying Squirrel, Giant Squirrel
  • Sperm Whale

Schedule III & IV:

  • Schedule III and IV contain species that are not threatened with extinction.
  • This schedule comprises protected species where hunting is forbidden, but the punishment for any infraction is less severe than the first two.
  • Chital (spotted deer) • Bharal (blue sheep) • Hyena • Nilgai • Sambhar (deer) 9 • Sponges are among the animals protected under Schedule III.
  • Flamingos, hares, falcons, kingfishers, magpies, and horseshoe crabs are some of the animals protected under Schedule IV.

Schedule V:

  • This list includes animals that are considered pests (small wild animals that carry disease and destroy plants and food). These creatures are able to be hunted.
  • It is home to only four wild animal species:
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Common Crows
  • Fruit Bats

Schedule VI:

  • It regulates the cultivation of a certain plant and places limitations on its ownership, sale, and transit.
  • Specific plant cultivation and commerce are only permitted with the approval of a competent authority.
  • The following plants are protected under Schedule VI:
  • Cycad of Beddomes (Native to India)
  • Kuth (Saussurea lappa) • Slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum spp.) • Pitcher plant • Blue Vanda (Blue Orchid) • Red Vanda (Red Orchid) (Nepenthes khasiana)