25 Jan 2024 WildLife (Protection) Licencing Rules, 2024
This article covers ‘Daily Current Affairs’ and the topic details of “WildLife (Protection) Licencing Rules, 2024’’. This topic is relevant in the “Environment” section of the UPSC CSE exam.
UPSC MAINS GS3 Syllabus: Conservation
Why in the News?
The central government has enacted the WildLife (Protection) Licencing (Additional Matters for Consideration) Rules, 2024, which update the Wildlife Trade Rules, 1983, resulting in major modifications to the licensing process and the exclusion of some species.
About WildLife Licensing Rules 2024
- According to the guidelines established in 1983, no such permission shall be granted to trade in a wild species designated in Schedule I or Part II of Schedule II to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 unless the central government has previously consulted.
- This criterion has been removed in the revised guidelines, which state that no such licence shall be issued if it relates to any wild animal listed in Schedule I to the Act, except with the prior consultation of the Central Government.
- This implies that the limits on Schedule I species, which include creatures that require the highest protection, such as tigers, elephants, rhinos, and so on, remain in effect, with a provision for consultation.
- The revised guidelines make a substantial modification by removing licensing limitations for species classified in Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
- This means that licences for trading Schedule II species can be awarded without the need for central government consultation or approval, as was previously needed.
- The new rules also specify the factors that authorised officers must consider when granting licences, such as the applicant’s capacity, the source and method for acquiring supplies, the sheer number of existing licences in the area, and the repercussions for hunting or trade of the relevant wild animals.
Concerns Regarding the New Rules
- Exemption from Schedule II Species:
- The announcement does not explain why licensing restrictions for Schedule II species have been abolished.
- Schedule II includes key species such as endangered mammals, birds, turtles, geckos, and snakes. The omission of these species from licensing regulations raises worries about the extent of protection they will receive.
- The absence of clarity warrants additional inspection to ensure that the amended guidelines effectively address conservation objectives while not jeopardising the preservation of fragile wildlife.
- Rationalisation of schedules
- The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972’s schedules were rationalised in The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act of 2022, resulting in modifications to species categorization.
- Prior to the 2022 amendment, timetables were based on species endangerment levels. The current rationalisation could have changed the criterion for categorising species.
- Experts argue whether the absence of certain species from Schedule II is consistent with the rationalisation process, or whether those species have gained in numbers, justifying a lower degree of protection.
What is the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972?
- The Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972 establishes a legislative framework for protecting diverse kinds of wild animals and plants, managing their habitats, and regulating and controlling commerce in wild animals, plants, and products derived from them.
- The statute also establishes timetables for plants and animals that receive varied levels of government protection and supervision.
- Following the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 became applicable to the UT of J&K and Ladakh.
About latest amendment is the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022.
There are now 4 schedules, down from 6 previously.
- Schedule I includes animal species that receive the greatest level of protection.
- Schedule II includes animal species that have a lesser degree of protection.
- Schedule III includes protected plant species.
- Schedule IV for classified specimens under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
Prelims practice question:
Q1) Consider the following statements regarding the Wildlife Protection Act:
1) Wildlife Protection Act prohibits the use of Chemicals for agriculture
2) The Act allows for the establishment of Zoo and Safari parks
3) The Act provides legal safeguards to plants under Schedule I
How many statements given above are correct?
- a) One
- b) Two
- c) Three
- d) None
Mains practice questions
Q1) Explain the significance of the Wildlife Protection Act in India. How does it contribute to the conservation and protection of biodiversity?
Q2) Discuss the role of different schedules in the Wildlife Protection Act. Provide examples of wildlife species listed under various schedules.
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