Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 with amendments

The act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants and matters connected with them, with a view to ensure the ecological and environmental security of India.

  • Extends to the whole of India.
  • It provides for prohibition on use of animal traps except under certain circumstances.
  • It provides for protection of hunting rights of the Scheduled Tribes in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Has provisions for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection
    • Species listed in Schedule I and part II of Schedule II get absolute protection — offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties
    • Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower
    • Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted
    • The plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting
  • The act constitutes a National Board for Wildlife that
    • provides guidelines for framing policies and advising Central and State Government
    • Making recommendations for setting up and managing national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas; and
    • Suggesting measures for improvement of wildlife conservation.
  • It also sets up National Tiger Conservation Authority.
  • The acts sets up various provisions related to trade and penalties for hunting theanimals in wild.
  • Five kinds of protected areas can be notified in the Act. These are:
    • Sanctuaries: The State or Central Government may by notification declare its intention to constitute any area as a sanctuary for protecting wildlife and the environment. The government determines the nature and extent of rights of persons in or over the land within the sanctuary.
  • National Parks:
    • The State or Central Government may declare an area, whether inside a sanctuary or not, as a national park for the purpose of protecting and developing wildlife and its environment.
    • The State Government cannot alter the boundaries of a national park except on the recommendation of the National Board for Wildlife.
  • No grazing is allowed inside a national park.
  • All provisions applicable to a sanctuary are also applicable to a national park.
  • Conservation Reserves: The State Government after consultations with local communities can declare any area owned by the Government, particularly areas adjacent to national parks or sanctuaries, as conservation reserves. The government constitutes a Conservation Reserve Management Committee to manage and conserve the conservation reserve.
  • Community Reserves: The State Government can, in consultation with the community or an individual who have volunteered to conserve wildlife, declare any private or community land as community reserve. A Community Reserve Management Committee shall be constituted by State Government for conserving and managing the reserve.
  • Tiger Reserve: These areas were reserved for protection tiger in the country. The State Government on the recommendation of the Tiger Conservation Authority may notify an area as a tiger reserve, for which it has to prepare a Tiger Conservation Plan.

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