Wildlife Protection Act 1972

Wildlife Protection Act 1972

What is the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972?

  • The Wild Life (Protection) Act, of 1972 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 Wildlife Protection Act 1972 also lists schedules of plants and animals that the government affords varying degrees of protection and monitoring.

Constitutional Provisions for the Wildlife Act

  • Article 48A of the Constitution of India directs the State to protect and improve the environment and safeguard wildlife and forests. This article was added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976.
  • Article 51A imposes certain fundamental duties for the people of India. One of them is to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
  • Schedules under the Act:
    • Schedule I:
      • It 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 recovery.
      • Some of the animals listed under Schedule I include the Black Buck, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Bear and Asiatic Cheetah.
    • Schedule II:
      • Animals under this list are also accorded high protection with the prohibition on their trade.
      • Some of the animals listed under Schedule II include Assamese Macaque, Himalayan Black Bear and Indian Cobra.
    • Schedule III & IV:
      • Species 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.
      • Animals protected under Schedule III include Chital (spotted deer), Bharal (blue sheep), Hyena, and Sambhar (deer).
      • Animals protected under Schedule IV include Flamingo, Hares, Falcons, Kingfishers, Magpie, and Horseshoes Crabs.
    • Schedule V:
      • This schedule 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 VI:
      • It 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).

Protected Areas under the Wildlife Protection Act

There are five types of protected areas as provided under the Act.

  1. Sanctuaries
  2. National Parks
  3. Conservation Reserves
  4. Community Reserve
  5. Tiger Reserves

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