Wildlife Protection Act 1972
What is Wildlife Protection Act 1972 ?
- The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for protection of plants and animal species.
- Before 1972, India only had five designated national parks. Among other reforms, the Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting these species was largely outlawed.
- It came into an existence or enacted on 9 September 1972.
Advantages of this Act
- The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants.
- This act has been enacted to India except State of Jammu and Kashmir because it has its own wildlife act.
- There are six schedules which give varying degrees of protection under Wildlife act :
|Schedule I & II||Protection & offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties|
|Schedule III & IV||Protected but penalties are much lower|
|Schedule V||Animals which may be hunted|
|Schedule VI||Prohibited from cultivation and planting|
An important points to be Noted :
- In U.N. Conference of Human Environment in Stockholm, The environment was discussed on 5th June, 1972. Later on, 5th June is known and celebrated as World Environment Day. In the world, India is the first country to introduce the protection and conservation of environment in its constitution.
- The Wildlife act was passed in 1972 followed by the Water (prevention & control of pollution) Act, 1974, The Forest conservation act 1980, Air (Prevention & control of pollution) act, 1981 and the Environment Protection act, 1986 after the Stockholm Conference.
Under the Constitutional Provisions, There have been two articles (i) 48-A & (ii) 51-A(g) in which Article 48-A include the country should protect and improve the environment, Forest and Wildlife. Article 51-A(g) provide the responsibility of every citizen of India to protect & improve the natural env. Like Forests, Rivers, Lakes and Wildlife and to have sympathy for the living creatures.
- In this way, Our constitution includes the natural environmental protection and responsibility for a human being to save living creatures. And the wildlife legislation in the country by passing the Wildlife Act 1972 was the milestone in the history.
- The Wildlife Act 1972 was amended in 1982, 1986, 1991 and 1993 to accommodate provision for its effective implementation which is meant for the protection and management of the Wildlife.
- Remarkable features of the Act is that which we read today is the product of process which started long ago in 1887 for the purpose of the protection of a few wild birds and later on wild animals in 1912 as a plants in 1991, It has been covering all the most wildlife resources in terms of protection and management.
Amendment of the Act in 1991,
The powers of the state Government have been withdrawn and moreover the state government officials are not empowered to declare any wild animal which are harmful to crops. It has been made compulsory that National park or sanctuary should exist within a radius of 5 Km.
Some of the things have changed after amendment are :
- Greater powers to enforcement authority.
- Greater say to individuals or NGOs in matter concerning wildlife protection. The Central Government Officers as well as individuals now can file complaints in the court for offences.
- NGOs like WWF-India and Traffic-India will make available technical and legal guidance when needed.
- More impact on wildlife trade.
- Setting up of a Central Zoo Authority.
- Greater protection to wildlife through prohibiting hunting of wild animals other than vermin.
- Provision to prohibit collection and exploitation of wild plants which are threatened with extinction.
- Provision to extract and deal in snake venom for producing life saving drugs.
- Provision to ban trade in Africa ivory.
- Enhanced punishments for isolation.
- Payment of rewards to persons helping in apprehension of offenders.