RESOLUTION TO AMEND WILDLIFE ACT (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     15th February 2024        

Context: The Kerala Legislative Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution urging the Central government to suitably amend the Wildlife Protection Act to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

The Resolution

  • About: The resolution aimed at eliminating wildlife that trespasses on human habitations, imperilling the life and property of citizens, destroying crops, and preying on livestock.
  • Wildlife Intrusions and Lethal Threats: The government's response to wildlife intrusions in areas adjacent to forests has led to lethal attacks on residents, prompting a call for legal updates.
  • Empowering Chief Forest Conservators: The resolution urged the Central government to authorize Chief Forest Conservators to use lethal force against wild animals encroaching on residential areas and posing imminent danger to human lives.
  • Wild Pigs as Vermin: The resolution advocated for wild pigs to be classified as vermin, emphasizing the need for the Central government to implement scientific and humane strategies to manage the wildlife population effectively.
  • Criticism and Protection of Settler Farmers: The government faced opposition criticism for its alleged failure to safeguard the lives and property of approximately 50 lakh families, primarily settler farmers residing near forested regions in the State.
  • Significance of Forests in the State: Given that forests encompass 30% of the State's geographical area, the resolution held paramount importance for addressing wildlife management and protection concerns.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

  • About: It establishes a legislative framework for the preservation of various wild animal and plant species. It also encompasses the management of habitats, regulation of trade in species' parts, and control of products manufactured from them.
  • Classification under the Act: The act includes schedules categorizing plants and animals, subjecting them to different levels of government protection and oversight.
  • India's Inclusion in CITES: The Wildlife Act played a crucial role in India's admission to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Constitutional Provisions: Article 48A of the Indian Constitution mandates the State to safeguard and improve the environment, including the protection of wildlife and forests. This provision was added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976.
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