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Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill 2022

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environment Conservation


Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

 Context: Rajya Sabha passed the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2022 which seeks to conserve and protect wildlife through better management of protected areas and rationalise schedules which list out species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.



Features of the bill:

  • Implement the provisions of the CITES
    • CITES is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plantsdoes not threaten the survival of the species.
  • Provides much more power at the hands of the Central Government:
    • The central government can designate a Management Authority, which grants export or import permitsfor the trade of specimens.
    • Central Government can regulate or prohibit the import, trade, possession or proliferation of invasive alien species (plant or animal species which are not native to India and whose introduction may adversely impact wildlife or its habitat)
    • The central government may also notify a conservation reserve ( typically act as buffer zones to or connectors and migration corridors between established national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries)
  • Reduces the number of schedules from Six (currently) to Four now: Currently, there are six schedules: protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and vermin species (one). The new bill removes the schedule for vermin species (Vermin refers to small animals that carry diseases and destroy food e.g. Monkeys, Nilgai)
Reduces the number of schedules to Four
Schedule I Animal species that will enjoy the highest level of protection
Schedule II  Animal species that will be subject to a lesser degree of protection
Schedule III  Protected Plant species
Schedule IV Specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES (scheduled specimens)
  • Control of Sanctuaries to Chief Wildlife warden: The Act entrusts the Chief Wildlife Warden to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries in a state.
    • The Chief Wildlife Warden is appointed by the state
  • Registration certificate for live specimens of scheduled animals: People possessing live specimens of scheduled animals must obtain a registration certificate from the Management Authority.
  • Voluntary surrender of captive animals: The bill provides for any person to voluntarily surrender any captive animals, without any compensation and consequent authority over the animal)
  • Exception for ‘live elephant’: The Bill allows for Commercial Trade In Live Elephants. The Bill, therefore, allows for commercial trade in elephants
    • This is contrary to the previous act (Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972) which specifically prohibits trade in Wild Animals including captive and wild elephants.
  • For sanctuaries falling under Scheduled Areas (where FRA 2006 is applicable and comes under the 5th Schedule), the management plan must be prepared after due consultation with the Gram Sabha concerned
  • States can declare areas adjacent to National parks and Sanctuaries as Conservation Reserve, for protecting flora and fauna, and their habitat.
  • Increases the Penalties: For General violation ( increases to Rs 1,00,000 from Rs25,000) and for specially protected animals ( increases to 25,000 from Rs 10,000)


Issues with the Bill:

  • The exemption given to ‘live elephant’ for commercial trade: Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by Jairam Ramesh objected to the blanket exemption, recommending to limit it only to temple elephants kept for religious purposes
  • Centre’s hold over ‘vermin’ declaration continues: Last year, Kerala’s requests for declaring wild boars as vermin have been turned down repeatedly by the Environment ministry.
  • The bill severely curtailed the ability to graze across pastoral spaces in the conservation areas
  • Impact on tribal communities: The Van Gujjars are a semi-nomadic pastoral community (Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh) that may be impacted.



The recent amendment has taken a progressive step to foster the participation of forest dwellers within national parks while determining the management plan. However, there is an imminent need to expand the definition of invasive alien species to include invasive native species. Also, the amended bill should not disrupt the role of the State Board for Wildlife.


Additional Information

Constitution of Various Bodies:

The WPA act provides for the constitution of bodies to be established under this act such as the National and State Board for Wildlife, Central Zoo Authority and National Tiger Conservation Authority.


Constitutional Provisions for Wildlife:

  • The 42nd Amendment Act, 1976,Forests and Protection of Wild Animals and Birds was transferred from State to Concurrent List.
  • Article 51 A (g) of the Constitutionstates that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests and Wildlife.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that, Given the highest legal protection in 1977, the elephant is the only animal in WLPA’s Schedule-I that can still be owned legally — by means of inheritance or gift.


Mains Links

Q. Critically analyse the features of the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill 2022. (15M)


Prelims Links

If a particular plant species is placed under Schedule VI of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, what is the implication? (2020)

(a) A licence is required to cultivate that plant.
(b) Such a plant cannot be cultivated under any circumstances.
(c) It is a Genetically Modified crop plant.
(d) Such a plant is invasive and harmful to the ecosystem.


Ans: (a)

Plants in Schedule VI: Cultivation of specified plants without a licence is prohibited. As per Section 17C of the Act, no person shall cultivate a specified plant except under and in accordance with a licence granted by the Chief Wild Life Warden or any other officer authorised by the State Government on this behalf.