Committee to oversee transfer and import of captive wild animals in India

Committee to oversee transfer and import of captive wild animals in India

News: The Supreme Court has increased the jurisdiction and powers of a high-powered committee led by its former judge, Justice Deepak Verma, to conduct necessary checks and undertake fact-finding exercises concerning the import, transfer, procurement, rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals, including those in captivity, across India.

 The ambit of the committee was earlier restricted to Tripura and Gujarat.

What has changed?
 State Chief Wildlife Wardens will also be part of the committee, and it will handle all present and future complaints regarding the issue.
 The committee can also consider requests for approval, dispute, or grievance regarding the welfare of wild animals by rescue centres or zoos across India.
 The Supreme court ordered Central and State authorities to report the seizure of wild animals or abandonment of captive wild animals to the committee.

What are major concerns related to Captive Wild Animals in India?
 Many zoos and rescue centres in India are not equipped with the necessary facilities and resources to provide proper care for captive animals.
 There is a thriving illegal trade in wild animals in India, with many animals being captured and sold for their fur, skin, or for use in traditional medicine.
 For example, Pangolins and Indian star tortoises are illegally traded in India for their meat, skin, or as pets.
 In addition to food poisoning, zoo animals also suffer due to human-animal conflict and lack of veterinary care for diseases like tick fever, hepatitis etc.
 Halfhearted efforts in rehabilitation of rescued animals before being released back into the wild.

Way Forward
 Strengthen Wildlife Protection act, 1972
 Safeguarding natural habitats of wild animals is important to ensure their survival.
 Increased cooperation and collaboration amongst government agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders is crucial for improving the welfare of captive wild animals in India. 

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