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- Prelims – Geography & Environment – Current Affairs
- Mains – GS 3 (Environment)
In News: Lok Sabha on passed by voice vote the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 that seeks to provide for implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Key features of the Bill include:
- The Convention requires countries to regulate the trade of all listed specimens through permits.
- It also seeks to regulate the possession of live animal specimens.
- The Bill seeks to implement these provisions of CITES.
- Currently, the Act has six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and vermin species (one).
- The Bill reduces the total number of schedules to four by:
- reducing the number of schedules for specially protected animals to two
- removes the schedule for vermin species, and
- inserts a new schedule for specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES.
Obligations under CITES:
- The Bill provides for the central government to designate a:
- Management Authority, which grants export or import permits for trade of specimens, and
- Scientific Authority, which gives advice on aspects related to impact on the survival of the specimens being traded.
- Every person engaging in trade of a scheduled specimen must report the details of the transaction to the Management Authority.
- As per CITES, the Management Authority may use an identification mark for a specimen.
- The Bill prohibits any person from modifying or removing the identification mark of the specimen.
- Additionally, every person possessing live specimens of scheduled animals must obtain a registration certificate from the Management Authority.
Invasive alien species:
- The Bills empowers the central government to regulate or prohibit the import, trade, possession or proliferation of invasive alien species.
- The central government may authorise an officer to seize and dispose the invasive species.
Control of sanctuaries:
- The Act entrusts the Chief Wild Life Warden to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries in a state.
- The Bill specifies that actions of the Chief Warden must be in accordance with the management plans for the sanctuary.
- These plans will be prepared as per guidelines of the central government, and as approved by the Chief Warden.
- For sanctuaries falling under special areas, the management plan must be prepared after due consultation with the concerned Gram Sabha.
- Special areas include a Scheduled Area or areas where the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is applicable
- Under the Act, state governments may declare areas adjacent to national parks and sanctuaries as a conservation reserve, for protecting flora and fauna, and their habitat.
- The Bill empowers the central government to also notify a conservation reserve.
Surrender of captive animals:
- The Bill provides for any person to voluntarily surrender any captive animals or animal products to the Chief Wild Life Warden.
- The surrendered items become property of the state government.
Penalties: The Act prescribes imprisonment terms and fines for violating the provisions of the Act. The Bill increases these fines.
- The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement to which States organizations adhere voluntarily.
- CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- CITES entered into force in July 1975.
- Ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
- The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP (The United Nations Environment Programme) and is located at Geneva, Switzerland.
- It plays a coordinating, advisory and servicing role in the working of the Convention.
- The Conference of the Parties to CITES is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention and comprises all its Parties.
- Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties, it does not take the place of national laws.
- The CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls.
- All import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.
- Each Party to the Convention must designate one or more Management Authorities in charge of administering that licensing system and one or more Scientific Authorities to advise them on the effects of trade on the status of the species.
- Appendices I, II and III to the Convention are lists of species afforded different levels or types of protection from over-exploitation.
Previous Year Questions
Q.1) With reference to the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, consider the following statements: (2022)
- A coastal state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baseline determined in accordance with the convention.
- Ships of all states, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.
- The Exclusive Economic Zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.2) With reference to Indian laws about wildlife protection, consider the following statements: (2022)
- Wild animals are the sole property of the government.
- When a wild animal is declared protected, such animal is entitled for equal protection whether it is found in protected areas or outside.
- Apprehension of a protected wild animal becoming a danger to human life is sufficient ground for its capture or killing.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 and 2
- 2 only
- 1 and 3
- 3 only