Centre issues rules for import, possession of exotic species’

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    18th Jun, 2020

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the wildlife division of the Union environment ministry has issued rules for dealing with the import of exotic species and will assess the existing scale of possession within the country.

Context

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the wildlife division of the Union environment ministry has issued rules for dealing with the import of exotic species and will assess the existing scale of possession within the country.

About

  • Exotic live species are both plants and animals that are moved from their source (original) habitat to a new one due to human intervention.
  • An exotic species, known also as introducedaliennon-nativeor non-indigenous species, is that foreign species that have been introduced in a zone out of its natural distribution.
  • This introduction usually happens for human causes, either voluntarily or involuntarily.
  • In India as in the world, much of the exotic live species is currently legal.
  • There exists a large demand and market for animals like ball pythons, pocket monkeys, crocodile skinks, hissing cockroaches and a wide range of exotic birds.

Reason behind the move

  • The decision comes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, its suggested linkage with wet markets in China, and the zoonotic factor.
  • So far there was no mechanism to regulate the process. There is no unified information system available of such stock of species at the State or Central level. 
  • There has been no detail about the population status, numbers poached, illegal trade hubs and dynamics of these species.
  • This makes it difficult to know the impacts of illegal trade on the population status of many of these captured animals
  • The Centre intends to streamline the process by officially identifying those handling such species or involved in their legal trade, as per mandates of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which India is a signatory to.

How will it be done?

  • Environment Ministry has decided to collect stock information from the holders of such species through voluntary disclosure in next six months.
  • The registration will be done for the stock of animals, new progeny, as well as for import and exchange.
  • The animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora” will be part of the advisory and does not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972.
  • The declarer would not be required to produce any documentation in relation to the exotic live species if the same has been declared within six months of the date of issue of the advisory.
  • For any declaration made after six months, the declarer shall be required to comply with the documentation requirement under the extant laws and regulations.

Significance of the initiative

  • This will help in better management of the species and guide the holders about proper veterinary care, housing and other aspects of well-being of the species.
  • The database of exotic animals will also help in control and management of zoonotic diseases on which guidance would be available from time to time to ensure safety of animals and humans.
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