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State PCS

Sambhav-2023

  • 01 Mar 2023 GS Paper 3 Bio-diversity & Environment

    Day 97
    Question 1: Discuss the scheduled animals under wildlife protection act (WLPA). How recent amendment of 2021 in the act can contribute to wildlife conservation more effectively? (250 words)

    Question 2: How far geographically restricted wildlife conservation approaches like National Parks and Biosphere reserves have been successful in India? Suggest other ways for wildlife conservation. (250 Words)

    Answer 1

    Approach

    • Give a brief introduction about the scheduled animals under Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA), 1972.
    • Discuss the contribution of recent amendments in wildlife conservation.
    • Write a holistic and appropriate conclusion.

    Introduction

    • The Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA), 1972 is an Indian legislation that was enacted in 1972 to protect wild animals and plants, and to regulate their hunting, poaching, and trade.
    • The act defines different categories of wildlife, including those that are scheduled animals, which are given the highest level of protection under the law.
    • The scheduled animals are listed in Schedules I to V of the Wildlife Protection Act and are classified according to their conservation status and level of threat.

    Body

    • The Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA), 1972 has undergone several amendments over the years to strengthen the protection of wildlife and its habitat. Recently the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 amends the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. The Bill seeks to increase the species protected under the law, and implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
    • Key features of the Bill include:
      • CITES: CITES is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species. Under CITES, plant and animal specimens are classified into three categories (Appendices) based on the threat to their extinction. The Convention requires countries to regulate the trade of all listed specimens through permits. It also seeks to regulate the possession of live animal specimens. The Bill seeks to implement these provisions of CITES.
      • Rationalizing schedules: Currently, the Act has six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and vermin species (one). Vermin refers to small animals that carry disease and destroy food. The Bill reduces the total number of schedules to four by: (i) reducing the number of schedules for specially protected animals to two (one for greater protection level), (ii) removes the schedule for vermin species, and (iii) inserts a new schedule for specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES (scheduled specimens).
      • Obligations under CITES: The Bill provides for the central government to designate a: (i) Management Authority, which grants export or import permits for trade of specimens, and (iii) Scientific Authority, which gives advice on aspects related to impact on the survival of the specimens being traded. Every person engaging in trade of a scheduled specimen must report the details of the transaction to the Management Authority. As per CITES, the Management Authority may use an identification mark for a specimen. The Bill prohibits any person from modifying or removing the identification mark of the specimen. Additionally, every person possessing live specimens of scheduled animals must obtain a registration certificate from the Management Authority.
      • Invasive alien species: The Bills empowers the central government to regulate or prohibit the import, trade, possession or proliferation of invasive alien species. Invasive alien species refers to plant or animal species which are not native to India and whose introduction may adversely impact wild life or its habitat. The central government may authorize an officer to seize and dispose the invasive species.
      • Control of sanctuaries: The Act entrusts the Chief Wild Life Warden to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries in a state. The Chief Wild Life Warden is appointed by the state government. The Bill specifies that actions of the Chief Warden must be in accordance with the management plans for the sanctuary. These plans will be prepared as per guidelines of the central government, and as approved by the Chief Warden. For sanctuaries falling under special areas, the management plan must be prepared after due consultation with the concerned Gram Sabha. Special areas include a Scheduled Area or areas where the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is applicable. Scheduled Areas are economically backward areas with a predominantly tribal population, notified under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.
      • Conservation reserves: Under the Act, state governments may declare areas adjacent to national parks and sanctuaries as a conservation reserve, for protecting flora and fauna, and their habitat. The Bill empowers the central government to also notify a conservation reserve.
      • Surrender of captive animals: The Bill provides for any person to voluntarily surrender any captive animals or animal products to the Chief Wild Life Warden. No compensation will be paid to the person for surrendering such items. The surrendered items become property of the state government.
      • Penalties: The Act prescribes imprisonment terms and fines for violating the provisions of the Act. The Bill increases these fines.

    Conclusion

    The recent amendments in the WLPA can contribute significantly to wildlife conservation by providing more stringent penalties and punishment for wildlife-related crimes, strengthening enforcement agencies, promoting community participation, and conserving wildlife habitats and corridors. These amendments can play a crucial role in the conservation and protection of wildlife and their habitat in India.


    Answer 2

    Approach

    • Give a brief introduction about the geographically restricted wildlife conservation approaches.
    • Discuss the success of this approach in wildlife conservation.
    • Write a holistic and appropriate conclusion.

    Introduction

    • Geographically restricted wildlife conservation approaches, such as National Parks and Biosphere reserves, have been successful to a large extent in India.
    • These approaches aim to protect wildlife and their habitats in specific areas that are demarcated and managed under strict guidelines.
    • These areas are often designated by governments as protected areas, where human activities that could harm the environment or wildlife are restricted or prohibited.
    • India has a diverse range of ecosystems, and different types of protected areas have been established across the country to protect the unique biodiversity of these regions.

    Body

    • Some of the successes of geographically restricted wildlife conservation approaches in India include:
      • Increase in population of some species:
        • The conservation efforts in some of the National Parks and Biosphere reserves have led to an increase in the population of some species such as tigers, rhinoceros, and elephants.
        • For example, the number of tigers in India has increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2021, primarily due to conservation efforts in National Parks and Biosphere reserves.
      • Protection of unique habitats:
        • National Parks and Biosphere reserves have been successful in protecting unique habitats such as wetlands, grasslands, and forests.
        • Protected areas such as the Keoladeo National Park and the Great Himalayan National Park have been successful in protecting unique habitats and have been recognized as important bird areas and biodiversity hotspots.
      • Support for local communities:
        • The establishment of National Parks and Biosphere reserves has provided livelihood opportunities to local communities.
        • For example, the Kanha National Park has helped in promoting ecotourism and provided employment opportunities to local communities.
      • Strengthened conservation efforts:
        • The establishment of National Parks and Biosphere reserves has led to the strengthening of conservation efforts and the creation of a better network of protected areas in India.
        • This has helped in creating more awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation and the need for protecting natural habitats.
    • However, there are also challenges and limitations to geographically restricted wildlife conservation approaches in India. Some of the key challenges include:
      • Human-wildlife conflict:
        • As the population of humans and animals continue to grow, there is an increased incidence of human-wildlife conflict, especially in areas surrounding National Parks and Biosphere reserves.
      • Limited resources:
        • The resources allocated for conservation efforts in National Parks and Biosphere reserves are often limited, which can impact the effectiveness of conservation measures.
      • Limited connectivity:
        • There are limitations to the connectivity between protected areas, which can impact the genetic diversity of species.
    • Other ways for wildlife conservation:
      • Anti-Poaching Efforts: Poaching is one of the leading causes of wildlife decline. Anti-poaching measures such as patrol, surveillance, and intelligence gathering, along with enforcement of wildlife laws, are critical to prevent illegal hunting.
      • Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue: Wildlife rehabilitation centers can help animals that are injured, sick, or orphaned. These centers aim to provide medical care, nutrition, and shelter to animals until they are fit to be released back into the wild.
      • Education and Awareness: Educating the public about the importance of wildlife and the role they play in the ecosystem can help create awareness about the need to protect them. This includes programs that teach people about the dangers of poaching, the importance of wildlife habitats, and the benefits of sustainable living.
      • Wildlife Tourism: When done responsibly, wildlife tourism can contribute to the conservation of wildlife and their habitats. It can provide economic incentives to communities living near wildlife habitats, making them less likely to engage in illegal activities like poaching.
      • Research and Monitoring: Monitoring wildlife populations and their habitats can provide valuable data for conservation efforts. This includes research on wildlife behavior, ecology, genetics, and population dynamics, which can help identify threats and inform conservation strategies.
      • Sustainable Development: Sustainable development involves finding ways to balance economic growth with conservation. This can be achieved by implementing policies that promote sustainable use of natural resources, such as renewable energy and sustainable agriculture practices.

    Conclusion

    Geographically restricted wildlife conservation approaches such as National Parks and Biosphere reserves have been successful in protecting wildlife and their habitats in India, there are also limitations and challenges that need to be addressed to strengthen conservation efforts.

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