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Declare exotic pets, avoid prosecution: how one-time scheme works

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Declare exotic pets, avoid prosecution: how one-time scheme works:


Context:

The Supreme Court has upheld an Allahabad High Court order granting immunity from investigation and prosecution if one declared illegal acquisition or possession of exotic wildlife species between June and December.

What is the government’s voluntary disclosure scheme?

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has come out with an advisory on a one-time voluntary disclosure scheme that allows owners of exotic live species that have been acquired illegally, or without documents, to declare their stock to the government between June and December 2020.

What can be the impact?

With this scheme, the government aims to address the challenge of zoonotic diseases, develop an inventory of exotic live species for better compliance under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and regulate their import.

What kind of exotic wildlife is covered?

  • The advisory has defined exotic live species as animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the CITES.
  • It does not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972.
  • A plain reading of the advisory excludes exotic birds from the amnesty scheme.

CITES:

  • CITES is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in wild animals, birds and plants does not endanger them.
  • India is a member.
  • Appendices I, II and III of CITES list 5,950 species as protected against over-exploitation through international trade.
  • Many of these animals, such as iguanas, lemurs, civets, albino monkeys, coral snakes, tortoises, are popular as exotic pets in India.

How big a problem is illegal trade of exotic animals in India?

  • The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which enforces anti-smuggling laws, says India has emerged as a big demand centre for exotic birds and animals with an increase in smuggling of endangered species from different parts of the world.
  • Most of this exotic wildlife is imported through Illegal channels and then sold in the domestic market as pets.

cites

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are exotic species- definition in the advisory?
  2. What is CITES?
  3. Classification of species under CITES?
  4. What is Wildlife (Protection) Act? Species protected under various schedules of this act.
  5. As per the new guidelines, what is the procedure to be followed while importing new exotic species?
  6. What about the existing species in the country?
  7. About chief wildlife warden of the state.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of recently issued guidelines for import of exotic species in the country.

Sources: Indian Express.