Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for protection of plants and animal species. This Act was implemented on 9th September 1972. The Act was last amended in the year 2006. An Amendment bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2013 and referred to a Standing Committee, but it was withdrawn in 2015.
The Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting these species was largely outlawed. The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants; and for matters connected there with or ancillary or incidental thereto. It extends to the whole of India. It has six schedules which give varying degrees of Protection. Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection – offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties. Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower. Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted. The specified endemic plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting. The hunting to the Enforcement authorities have the power to compound offences under this Schedule.
Definitions under Wildlife Protection Act(Section 2)
Animal: Includes amphibians, Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and their young ones.
- Capturing, Killing, Poisoning, Snaring, or Trapping any wild animal, and every attempt to do so.
- Driving any wild animal for any of the purposes specified in sub clause
- Injuring, Destroying or taking any body part of any such animal, or in the case of wild birds or reptiles, disturbing or damaging the eggs or nests of such birds or reptiles.
- Taxidermy: It means the curing, Preparation or Preservation of trophies.
Trophy: It includes Rugs, Skins, and specimens of such animals mounted in whole or in part through a process of taxidermy. Also Antler, Horn, Rhinoceros horn, Feather, Nail, Tooth, Musk, Eggs, Nests and shells.
- Uncured trophy: Which means the whole or any part of any captive animal which has not undergone a process of taxidermy. This includes a freshly killed wild animal, ambergris, musk and other animal products.
- Vermin: It means any wild animal specified in Schedule V.