Arrangements for the Protection of Wild Life

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  • Published
    11th Apr, 2019


  • A barely one-month-old female leopard cub was seized from a passenger who arrived at Chennai’s Anna International Airport on a flight from Thailand, carrying the cub in a stroller bag.
  • The leopard cub was seized under the Customs, Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and as per the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


Protection status of Leopard:

  • It is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. Hence, providing it absolute protection and heavy penalties for its trade.
  • It is the species threatened with extinction and hence included in Appendix I of CITES.
  • It is categorised as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species hence it is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972:

  • It is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for protection of plants and animal species.
  • The Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species. It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection:
    • Schedule I and part II of Schedule II: They provide absolute protection i.e. offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
    • Schedule III and Schedule IV: Species listed in them are also protected, but the penalties are much lower.
    • Schedule V: It includes the animals which may be hunted.
    • Schedule VI: The specified endemic plants in this schedule are prohibited from cultivation and planting.

Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES):

  • It is an international agreement between governments with aim to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN (The World Conservation Union).
  • All import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.
  • The species covered by CITES are listed in three Appendices, according to the degree of protection they need:
    • Appendix I: It includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
    • Appendix II: It includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
    • Appendix III: It contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:

  • It is a comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It was founded in 1965.
  • Its aim is to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the international community to try to reduce species extinction.
  • Species are classified by the IUCN Red List into nine groups: Extinct (EX), Extinct in the wild (EW), Critically endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), Vulnerable (VU), Near threatened (NT), Least concern (LC), Data deficient (DD), Not evaluated (NE)
  • In the IUCN Red List, "threatened" embraces the categories of Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable.

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