Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

News: Recently, The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 completed 51 years since its inception.

What is WPA, 1972?
 It provides a legal framework for the protection of various species of wild animals and plants, management of their habitats, regulation, and control of trade in wild animals, plants, and products made from them
 The act also lists schedules of plants and animals that are afforded varying degrees of protection and monitoring by the government.

What are constitutional provisions for Wildlife Act?
 The 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, Forests and Protection of Wild Animals and Birds was transferred from State to Concurrent List.
 Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution states that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests and Wildlife.
 Article 48 A in the Directive Principles of State policy, mandates that the State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.

Schedules  Key Points Animals Listed (This is not an exhaustive list)
Schedule IIt covers endangered species that need rigorous protection. A person is liable to the harshest penalties for violation of the law under this Schedule. Species under this Schedule are prohibited to be hunted throughout India, except under threat to human life or in case of a disease that is beyond recoveryCheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Dugong (Dugong dugon) Lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) Golden langur (Presbytis geei).
Schedule IIAnimals under this list are also accorded high protection with the prohibition on their trade.Bison or Gaur (Bos gaurus). Indian elephant (Elephas maximus). Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina). Wild Dog or Dhole (Cuon alpinus).
Schedule III and IVSpecies that are not endangered are included under Schedule III and IV. This includes protected species with hunting prohibited but the penalty for any violation is less compared to the first two schedules.Schedule III - Chital (spotted deer), Bharal (blue sheep), Hyena, and Sambhar (deer).  Schedule IV - Flamingo, Hares, Falcons, Kingfishers, Magpie, and Horseshoes Crabs
Schedule VIt contains animals that are considered as vermin (small wild animals that carry disease and destroy plants and food). These animals can be hunted.It includes only four species of wild animals: Common Crows, Fruit Bats, Rats, and Mice.
Schedule VIIt provides for regulation in the cultivation of a specified plant and restricts its possession, sale, and transportation. Both cultivation and trade of specified plants can only be carried out with the prior permission of the competent authority.Plants protected under Schedule VI include Beddomes’ cycad (Native to India), Blue Vanda (Blue Orchid), Red Vanda (Red Orchid), Kuth (Saussurea lappa), Slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum spp.) and Pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana).

 List of Bodies constituted under the Act – National Board for Wildlife, State board for Wildlife, Central Zoo Authority, National Tiger conservation Authority, Wildlife Crime control bureau.
 Protected areas under the act - Sanctuary, National Parks, Conservation Reserves, Community Reserves and Tiger Reserves.

What are challenges in implementation of WPA, 1972?
 Human-Wildlife conflict
 Illegal trade of wild animals
 Lack of coordination between the forest department and other government agencies such as the police, customs, and revenue departments.
 The penalties for wildlife crimes under the WPA are not stringent enough to act as a deterrent. The fines and sentences are often too low to make an impact on the offenders.
 Impact of climate change on wildlife habitat and lack of community participation

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