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 Constitution states that it shall be the
fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural
environment including forests and Wildlife.
- Article 48 A in the Directive Principles of State policy, mandates that
the State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to
safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
- Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: The Act was enacted for the protection
of plants and animal species.
- It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Prior to this legislation, India had only five designated national
- At present, there are 101 National Parks in India.
Authorities Appointed Under The Act:
- The Central Government appoints the Director of Wildlife Preservation
and assistant directors and other officers subordinate to the Director.
- The State Governments appoint a Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) who heads
the Wildlife Wing of the department and exercises complete administrative
control over Protected Areas (PAs) within a state.
- The state governments are also entitled to appoint Wildlife Wardens in
Salient Features Of The Act
- Prohibition of hunting: It prohibits the hunting of any wild animal
specified in Schedules I, II, III, and IV of the act.
- Prohibition of Cutting/Uprooting Specified Plants: It prohibits the
uprooting, damage, collection, possession, or selling of any specified plant
from any forest land or any protected area.
Exception: The CWLW, however, may grant permission for uprooting or
collecting a specific plant for the purpose of education, scientific
research, preservation in a herbarium, or if a person/institution is
approved to do so by the central government.
- Declaration and Protection of Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks:
The Central Government can constitute any area as a Sanctuary, provided the
area is of adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural,
or zoological significance.
- The government can also declare an area (including an area within a
sanctuary) as a National Park.
- A Collector is appointed by the central government to administer the
area declared as a Sanctuary.
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.
- Government Property: Hunted wild animals (other than vermin), animal
articles or meat of a wild animal and ivory imported into India, and an
article made from such ivory shall be considered as the property of the
Bodies Constituted Under The Act:
National Board for Wildlife (NBWL):
As per the act, the central government of India shall constitute the National
Board for Wildlife (NBWL).
- It serves as an apex body for the review of all wildlife-related matters
and for the approval of projects in and around national parks and
- The NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister and is responsible for the
promotion of conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
- The Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the
Vice-Chairperson of the board.
The board is 'advisory' in nature and can only advise the Government on
policymaking for the conservation of wildlife.
Standing Committee of NBWL:
State Board for Wildlife (SBWL):
- The NBWL constitutes a Standing Committee for the purpose of approving
all the projects falling within protected wildlife areas or within 10 km of
- The committee is chaired by the Minister of Environment, Forest and
The board advises the state government in:
- The state governments are responsible for the constitution of the state
board of wildlife.
- The Chief Minister of the state/UT is the chairperson of the board.
Central Zoo Authority:
- The selection and management of areas to be declared as protected areas.
- The formulation of the policy for protection and conservation of the
- Any matter relating to the amendment of any Schedule.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):
- The act provides for the constitution of Central Zoo Authority
consisting of a total of 10 members including the Chairperson and a
- The Environment Minister is the chairperson.
- The authority provides recognition to zoos and is also tasked with
regulating the zoos across the country.
- It lays down guidelines and prescribes rules under which animals may be
transferred among zoos nationally and internationally.
Following the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force, the National Tiger
Conservation Authority (NTCA) was constituted in 2005 for strengthening tiger
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB):
- The Union Environment Minister is the Chairperson of NTCA and the State
Environment Minister is the Vice-Chairperson.
- The Central Government on the recommendations of NTCA declares an area
as a Tiger Reserve.
- More than 50 wildlife sanctuaries in India have been designated as Tiger
Reserves and are protected areas under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The act provided for the constitution of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
The Bureau has its headquarters in New Delhi. It is mandated to:
Schedules Under The Act:
- Collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime
activities and disseminate the same to the State to apprehend the criminals.
- Establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank.
- Assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to
- Advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes
having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.
The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 has divided the protection status of
various plants and animals under the following six schedules:
Some of the animals granted protection under Schedule I include:
- It covers endangered species that need rigorous protection. The species
are granted protection from poaching, killing, trading, etc.
- A person is liable to the harshest penalties for violation of the law
under this Schedule.
- Species under this Schedule are prohibited to be hunted throughout
India, except under threat to human life or in case of a disease that is
- The Black Buck
- Bengal Tiger
- Clouded Leopard
- Snow Leopard
- Swamp Deer
- Himalayan Bear
- Asiatic Cheetah
- Kashmiri Stag
- Fishing Cat
- Lion-tailed Macaque
- Musk Deer
- Brow Antlered Deer
- Chinkara (Indian Gazelle)
- Capped Langur
- Golden Langur
- Hoolock Gibbon
Some of the animals listed under Schedule II include:
- Animals under this list are also accorded high protection with the
prohibition on their trade.
- They cannot be hunted except under threat to human life or if they are
suffering from a disease/ disorder that goes beyond recovery.
Schedule III & IV:
- Assamese Macaque, Pig Tailed Macaque, Stump Tailed Macaque
- Bengal Hanuman langur
- Himalayan Black Bear
- Himalayan Newt/ Salamander
- Flying Squirrel, Giant Squirrel
- Sperm Whale
- Indian Cobra, King Cobra
Animals protected under Schedule III include:
- Species that are not endangered are included under Schedule III and IV.
- This includes protected species with hunting prohibited but the penalty
for any violation is less compared to the first two schedules.
Animals protected under Schedule IV include:
- Chital (spotted deer)
- Bharal (blue sheep)
- Sambhar (deer)
- Horseshoes Crabs
- This schedule contains animals that are considered vermin (small wild
animals that carry disease and destroy plants and food). These animals can
- It includes only four species of wild animals:
- Common Crows
- Fruit Bats
- It provides for regulation in the cultivation of a specified plant and
restricts its possession, sale, and transportation.
- Both cultivation and trade of specified plants can only be carried out
with prior permission of the competent authority.
- Plants protected under Schedule VI include:
- Beddomes' cycad (Native to India)
- Blue Vanda (Blue Orchid)
- Red Vanda (Red Orchid)
- Kuth (Saussurea lappa)
- Slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum spp.)
- Pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana)