Uncovering India’s Illegal Jackal Trade

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Religious beliefs in superstition, coupled with extensive online advertisements, have helped sustain local and transnational markets in a talisman called the ‘jackal horn’. In a recent study published in Journal of Threatened Taxa, scientists from the Wild Canids–India Project team document that the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (Government of India) has seized 126 skins, 8 tails, more than 370 ‘jackal horns’, 16 skulls and two live jackals between 2013 and 2019. The findings indicate that the illegal wildlife trade … Read More

India’s Protected Area (PA) Network

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Here is an explainer piece on Protected Areas in India.

What is a Protected Area (PA)?

PAs in India comprise National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation / Community Reserves and Tiger Reserves. It does not include Reserved Forests.

Protected Area (PA) has been defined in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Section 2(24A) says: “Protected Area” means a National Park, Sanctuary, Conservation / Community Reserve. These are notified under Chapter IV titled “Protected Areas”. 

A Tiger Reserve on the other hand is notified … Read More

Q: I am a law student and want to purchase a legal commentary on the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Unfortunately I am not able to find it anywhere. Law book store owners state that there no such detailed commentaries available. Can you help? 

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Answer from the CI Team:

Thank you for your interest. This book would be really helpful for a commentary on the WLPA : Wildlife Law for Rangers.

It is a practical guide to the effective implementation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA). Prosecution of offenders requires Forest Officers to also have a reasonable understanding of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) which is explained in the book.

You can buy the book on Amazon India hereRead More

Illegal Turtle Trade at Agartala, Tripura

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On my visit to Agartala in the last week of September, 2019, as a member of the jury of the photography competition organized by Pict-O-Real Club, I had a horrific experience. On 28th night, Souvick Mukherjee, one of the members of the club, informed me that in Maharaj Ganj market, one the biggest fish markets in Agartala, different types of turtles were being sold for meat, including species like Indian Softshell turtle and Black Soft-shell Turtle.

To check out the … Read More

Book Release – Wildlife Law for Rangers

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About the book

Effective implementation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA) and prosecution of offenders requires Forest Officers to also have a reasonable understanding of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). However, lack of formal training makes interpretation of law and criminal procedures, an intimidating subject. This book seeks to address this major lacuna and has therefore been written in a very simple, easy to understand style along with specific wildlife related examples.

The step-by-step procedure to … Read More

Chousingha near Pune, Maharashtra

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We were out on our regular Sunday bird-watching trip, 70 kms outside Pune city when we stumbled on this Chousingha or Four-horned Antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis) on 22nd May 2016 at 6:50 AM.

Arriving at a road section where the hills were clothed in scrub jungle, we decided to explore the area on foot. We saw something like a Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) take a couple of jumps and run behind a small hill in a matter of seconds. Sandip was quick … Read More

Illegal Wildlife Trade Amidst the Biggest Animal Fair of Asia – The Sonepur Animal Mela in Bihar

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Background

The Sonepur Cattle Fair, aka the Harihar Kshetra Mela, the biggest cattle fair of Asia is rooted in Hindu mythology. Based on a sacred legend in Hinduism – Gajendra Moksha (The Liberation of Gajendra), folklore has it that Lord Vishnu descended upon earth to protect Gajendra, (the elephant) from the clutches of Makara, (the crocodile) and awarded him Moksha (salvation).

An official survey of the Sonepur Cattle Fair, led by TRAFFIC in November-December of 2013, unveiled … Read More

Declaring Wildlife as Vermin — Legalising Hunting?

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Uttarakhand, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh have had – in recent months – notifications issued by the Central Government stating that select species of wildlife have been declared as vermin in specified areas. In other words for a specified period, in these areas, the wild pig in Uttarakhand, wild pig and Nilgai in Bihar and Rhesus Macaque in Himachal Pradesh are shifted to schedule five of the Wildlife Protection Act. Besides, Maharashtra and Telangana have had culling orders issued by the … Read More

Vasant Vihar Parakeets

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She was like any other hawker, selling—persuasively, aggressively—extolling the qualities of her wares. Only she wasn’t ‘just another hawker’. Her wares were illegal; she was hawking parakeets, the trapping and trade of which is prohibited under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

I spotted the woman in Vasant Vihar (near Priya Cinema), Delhi, on my way to visit a very sick friend, and almost turned a blind eye. You know how it is, when the task at hand is overwhelming or … Read More

Supreme Court Calls for New Standards for Endangered Species Conservation

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A slightly different version of this article appeared in the Hindu dated May 7, 2013.

The recent Supreme Court judgment on lions (Centre for Environmental Law WWF-1 v. Union of India and others, Supreme Court, 2013) has called for completely new standards for endangered species conservation to be set in the country. It has asked for lions to be re-introduced to Madhya Pradesh (Intervention Application 100, Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India through Faiyaz Khudsar in writ petition 337, 1995). It … Read More

Blackbuck in Captivity, Karnataka

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Although the species is protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, this male Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is illegally held in captivity at a religious place (Devargudda) near Ranebennur. It was captured in the nearby fields when it was young and is now an adult buck. Sadly, this sprinter is kept chained the entire day from dawn to dusk. Since Ranebennur blackbuck sanctuary is close, there are frequent sightings of blackbuck in the fields. But holding them captive is an offence … Read More

Gangetic Dolphin killed by Villagers, Assam

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Lekha Borah sends this picture of a Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica) killed by local villagers in Assam. A fish seller was found selling dolphin meat at a roadside market in Lezai-Kalakhowa, 15 km from Dibrugarh.

Gangetic dolphin, a fresh water dolphin found in the Ganges and the Brahmpautra rivers of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh is the national aquatic animal of India. It is classified as an endangered species and included in the Schedule I species list … Read More

Langur Pet, Taj Mahal

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I saw this langur captured and used as a pet. I found this guy at the Taj Mahal, Agra. He was sitting on this bench behind the Taj structure overlooking the river. This was photographed on 29th December 2012.

The Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) prohibits any person (other than a recognized zoo including a rescue centre) from keeping any wild animal (species listed in Schedule I to IV) in captivity without the previous permission in writing of the Chief Wildlife … Read More

Captive Slow Loris, Mokakchong, Nagaland

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A statewide Nagaland biodiversity survey was conducted by students and alumni of NCBS, Bangalore, in May-June 2011. Across sites, the teams found wild animals kept by villagers – some as pets, others for eventual consumption. These included rare mammals like Leopard Cats, Slow Loris and Stump-tailed Macaques as well as several bird species. While the team physically didn’t observe any, keeping (Blyth’s) Tragopans as pets also seemed to be a widespread hobby and a delicacy reserved for VIPs.

This Slow … Read More

Betraying India’s Wildlife

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Shekar Dattatri co-authored this article, which originally appeared in the Oct 2011 issue of GovernanceNow.

Poor governance, replete with farcical meetings, subjective and improper application of the law, and unilateral decision-making, mars the functioning of the National Board for Wildlife, the apex body on conservation. The new Union Environment Minister must take urgent corrective action to restore the Board’s credibility, and protect India’s precious natural heritage from the relentless pressures of development.

Forests and wildlife in India are governed … Read More