Context: The Environment Ministry’s wildlife division has introduced new rules to regulate the import and export of ‘exotic wildlife species’.
More on news:
- Directorate-General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce oversees such trade.
- 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, released last week, 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.
- 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.
- Other details:
- Additionally, stockists will have six months to declare their stock.
- It 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.
- CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments.
- Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
- CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN (The World Conservation Union).
- The text of the Convention was finally agreed at a meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington, D.C., the United States of America, on 3 March 1973, and on 1 July 1975 CITES entered in force, this is why it is popularly called as washington convention.
- Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – 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.
- For many years CITES has been among the conservation agreements with the largest membership, with now 183 Parties.
- Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 37,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
- Appendices I, II and III to the Convention are lists of species afforded different levels or types of protection from over-exploitation.
- Appendix 1 - It lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants.
- They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research.
- For this both export and import permits are required.
- Appendix II - It lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled.
- It also includes so-called "look-alike species", i.e. species whose specimens in trade look like those of species listed for conservation reasons.
- International trade in specimens of Appendix-II species may be authorized by the granting of an export permit or re-export certificate.
- Generally import permits are not required.
- Appendix III - It is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.
- International trade in specimens of species listed in this Appendix is allowed only on presentation of the appropriate permits or certificates.
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