Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Measures for Checking Extinction of Wildlife

The Minister of State (I/C) for Environment and Forests Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan  listed the steps taken by Government to check the extinction of wildlife in the country as follows in Rajya Sabha in reply to a question.

The Government has taken the following steps to check the extinction of wild life in the country:

i) A network of 668 Protected Areas, viz., National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves has been created in the country under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to provide for in situ conservation of wildlife and its habitats.

ii) A network of Zoos has been created in the country, which are financially supported and statutorily regulated by the Central Zoo Authority, to ensure ex situ conservation of important species of wild animals, including undertaking conservation breeding programmes for such species.

iii) The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of `Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats` includes the component `Recovery Programmes for Saving Critically Endangered Species and Habitats` to provide for special measures to support such species. Presently, 16 species have been identified for support under this component which include Snow Leopard, Bustards (including Floricans), Dolphin, Hangul, Nilgiri Tahr, Marine Turtles, Dugongs and coral reefs, Edible Nest Swiftlet, Asian Wild Buffalo, Nicobar Megapode, Manipur Brow-antlered Deer, Vultures, Malabar Civet, Indian Rhinoceros, Asiatic Lion, Swamp Deer and Jerdon’s Courser.

iv) Legal protection has been provided to endangered species of wild animals and plants against hunting and commercial exploitation under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

v) The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, has been amended and made more stringent. The punishments in cases of offences have been enhanced. The Act also provides for forfeiture of any equipment, vehicle or weapon that is used for committing wildlife offence.

vi) Financial and technical assistance is extended to the State Governments under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes, viz., ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats`, ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’ for providing better protection and conservation to wildlife.

vii) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been empowered under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 to apprehend and prosecute wildlife offenders.

viii) The State Governments have been requested to strengthen the field formations and intensify patrolling in and around the Protected Areas.

ix) The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has been set up for control of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and its products.