The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is a landmark in the protection of wildlife in India especially after the second world war when the struggle for freedom started taking its shape and the wildlife was ignored to sustain at its own risks. The Indian Board of Wildlife (IBWL) was constituted in the year 1952 after the independence which took the task of preserving the natural wildlife habitats and saving the animals from probable extinction.
Mentioned below are the main points that I have summarized after going through the whole act. There are seven chapters under this act which are further divided into sections and schedules. I will be writing on key points from all the chapter to cut short the act and for easy digest.
Prohibition of Hunting: Hunting of wild life animals is strictly prohibited under this act but can be permitted in certain cases such as when the animal become dangerous to human life or is so disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery. It can happen only after the release of permit from Chief Wildlife Warden to hunt the animal and is recorded in written.
Prohibition of picking, uprooting specified plants: No person is allowed to willfully pick, uproot, damage, acquire or collect any specified plant from an area specified and preserved by the Government for wildlife. Again, special permissions can be granted by the Chief Wildlife Warden for the purpose of education, scientific research etc.
Some more features of this rule are:
- No person can deal and continue business in the trade of specified plant without a valid license issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden.
- No person can purchase or acquire any specified plant from an unauthorized dealer.
- Every specified plant will be the property of state government on whose territory the plant is falling.
Sanctuaries, National Parks and Closed Areas: Any area with adequate ecological, faunal, floral, natural or zoological significance can be declared as sanctuary by the state government to develop wildlife or its environment. No person is allowed to enter and reside in the sanctuary except in condition of a permit granted. No person is allowed to tease or molest any wild animal otherwise will be booked under IPC act. The same holds true for national parks and closed areas.
Recognition of Zoos: The Central Zoo Authority, constituted by the central government, will specify the minimum standards for housing, upkeep and care of the animals kept in the zoo. It will also perform regular audits in the zoos as per the required standards to maintain the proper standards inside the zoo. No zoo can be operated without being recognized by the authority.
Trade or Commerce in Wild Animals: Wild animals will be the property of government and killing, molesting or teasing a wild animal will be treated as a crime and the offender will be charged under Indian Penal Code. No person is allowed to sell, offer for sale, or otherwise transfer or transport any wild animal except written permission from Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorized officer.
The forest rangers or concerned officers can seize any captive animal, wild animal, animal article or any specified plant from the possession of any offender and can arrest him without warrant.
Some of the major drawbacks of the Act include mild penalty to offenders, illegal trade of animal parts, pitiable condition of wildlife in zoos and little emphasis laid on to preserve plant genetic resources.