By Dharmendra Khandal
In 1972, the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) was implemented to prevent our wildlife species from extinction. Traditional hunters and those who did shikaar for sport, were labelled poachers, and it became a crime to kill certain animal species. This was a milestone in the conservation history of India, for a systematic law structure had been outlined to support wildlife in our country for the first time. After many amendments, the Act became more powerful and concrete, but with the growing challenges of our nation, the Wildlife Act today needs stricter amendments and implementations.
In the present session of Rajya Sabha, Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill 2013, has been introduced by environment minister, Jayanthi Natarajan. The bill is well-drafted and is stringent against the lawbreakers. However, many clauses of the bill are opposed by some conservationists and researchers. Following are the reasons for this opposition:
(a) The amendments propose stricter deterrents on wildlife crimes related to sale, purchase and transfer of animals, their parts or products listed in various schedules. The bill proposes that hunting in national parks and sanctuaries should be punished with up to 5-7 years in jail and fine of Rs 5-25 lakh. This has been raised from 3-7 years in jail and Rs 10,000 fine in the present law. The punishment would be 7 years in prison and Rs 30 lakh fine for repeat offenders; this is between 3-7 years of imprisonment and Rs 25,000 fine now. (b) The proposed bill also included the most awaited amendment for leg traps. According to the new law, “no person shall manufacture, sell, purchase, keep, transport or use any animal trap except with prior permission in writing of the chief wildlife warden given for educational and scientific purposes”.
The new bill has also incorporated Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) into the Act. CITES is an international agreement that aims to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. More....