- June 7, 2022
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN Topics
Section: Acts and Policies
Context: Bill to amend Wild Life (Protection) Act gives Centre direct power to declare any species ‘vermin’, potentially impacting hundreds of species.
- The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 brings in a major change by reducing the number of schedules from six to four. It proposes to remove Schedule V completely.
- Originally, the WLPA, 1972 currently has six schedules that assign varying degrees of protection to animals and plants.
- Under Schedule I and II of the Act, for instance, animals and birds such as tigers and elephants are offered the highest protection.
- Schedule V lists species classified as ‘vermin’, such as common crows, fruit bats, rats and mice, which may be hunted freely.
- Though the act does not define the word ‘vermin’, WLPA’s 62nd section grants the central government the power to declare any wild animal (other than those specified in Schedule I and Schedule II)as ‘vermin’ for any area and a specified period.
- The category of ‘vermin’ in the WLPA has distinct colonial origins. The British Raj brought to India the ideas of desirable animals (suitable for hunting and subsequent consumption being considered game) and problematic animals (considered vermin).
- British legislation was the first to mandate the extermination of vermin as seen in India under the WLPA, 1972. These were the Tudor Vermin Acts that allowed eradication of nuisance animals or agricultural pests.
- The Vermin Acts included The Preservation of Grain Act, 1532, which created an official list of ‘vermin’ animals. These included owls, otters, foxes, hedgehogs and others that were seen as bad omens or competitors of food with humans.
Dangers of Mass Culling:
- Ecological Imbalance due to blanket permission & financial incentives by Govt to eradicate vermin population
- Exacerbate Human Wildlife Conflict E.g.: unscientific killings of rhesus monkeys disrupt the power hierarchy among them and babies or sub-adults might not know how to behave and, thus, might cause havoc and create more conflict.
- Endanger targeted species and fatal for non-targeted species (traps and snares)
- long-lasting impact on the ecosystem and biodiversity.