Exotic Wildlife Species
The Environment Ministry’s wildlife division has introduced new rules to regulate the import and export of ‘exotic wildlife species’.
- Currently, it is the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, that oversees such trade. Under the new rules, owners and possessors of such animals and birds must also register their stock with the Chief Wildlife Warden of their States.
- Officials of the Wildlife Department will also prepare an inventory of such species and have the right to inspect the facilities of such traders to check if these plants and animals are being housed in salubrious conditions.
- Additionally, stockists will have six months to declare their stock.
- The advisory, issued earlier this month, also says ‘exotic live species’ will mean animals named under Appendices I, II and III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.
- It will not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
What is CITES?
- The CITES is part of a multilateral treaty that includes plant, animals and birds under varying categories of threat of extinction and which will be jointly protected by members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. India is a signatory to this.
- CITES was conceptualised in 1963 at a meeting of the (IUCN) International Union For Conservation Of Nature. It came into force in 1975 and consists of 183 member-countries till date that abide by CITES regulations by implementing legislation within their own borders to enforce those regulations.
- Located in Geneva, Switzerland, the CITES is administered by the United Nations under the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme).
- Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties, it does not take the place of national laws. Rather, it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
- According to World Wildlife Crime Report 2016 of the UN, criminals are illegally trading products derived from over 7,000 species of wild animals and plants across the world.
- In its first global report on the illegal wildlife trade, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) described wildlife trafficking as a “global threat”, which also has links with other organised crimes such as modern slavery, drug trafficking and arms trade.
- The illegal trade is estimated to generate revenues of up to $23 billion a year.
- India continues to battle wildlife crime, with reports suggesting that many times such species are available for trade on online market places.
- The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is an organisation that is tasked with monitoring illegal trade.