Bhupender Yadav, the union minister for environment, forest, and climate change, recently introduced the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment bill 2021 on 17th December 2021 in the Lok Sabha. It was introduced to further amend the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to better the management of protected areas, increase the number of species that are protected under law, and implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora i.e., CITES.
The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, was introduced to protect wild animals, birds, and plants to protect our country’s environmental and ecological diversity. The amendment will now allow for better management and conservation of protected areas and species in several ways.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement signed between different governments to ensure the safe international exchange of specimens of wild animal and plant species without endangering them. The bill seeks to implement provisions of CITES under which animal and plant specimens will be classified into three categories depending on the level of their vulnerability.
This bill will also give the central government the power to regulate and prohibit the import, possession, proliferation, and trade of invasive alien species which oftentimes destroy entire ecosystems and threaten a lot of the species already present in them. It will help in reducing the adverse impacts on wildlife and biodiversity because of the illegal introduction of any species into the environment.
Originally, a Chief Wild Life Warden was appointed by the state government to control, manage, and maintain all sanctuaries in a state. The bill will now specify the Warden’s role and duties following management plans for the sanctuary, which will be provided by the central government.
This bill is a very effective strategy to help in protecting and conserving India’s rich biodiversity. If passed, it will help immensely in increasing the dwindling populations of many endangered species such as the Asiatic Lion, Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian Elephants, One-Horned Rhinoceros, Assam catkin yew, and a good deal of other flora and fauna.