BENGALURU: Just days after the Centre issued a draft on the amendments to the forest conservation act, the amendments to the wildlife protection act 1972, have also been made public. This has evoked a mixed response from conservationists and forest department officials. They are demanding an extension from October 23, as many need to go through the list and responses.
They also asked for more clarity about the changes in list of animals in the schedule, as well as more severe punishments and penalties. On a positive front, the Centre will now have the power to declare conservation reserves. Not leaving it to only state authority has raised hope in better protection, and the listing of more reserves like Mulayanagiri and Kudremukh as tiger reserves.
“Under the present wildlife protection act, when an accused is to be booked, no FIR is registered, but a wildlife report is filed, following which a complaint is filed before the magistrate. This need to change, so that cases can be stronger like CRPC.
The penalties should be more severe,” said a conservationist working with the forest department. Officials from the department highlighted that giving the Centre power to declare conservation reserves will be good for places where the state political interference is too high.
Conservationists however sought clarity on the revision of schedules and clauses, as asked for the revision in scheduled animals and plants list be made public. The amendment of that makes all hand over wildlife trophies to the forest department, as state property has drawn appreciation, as has the amendment to the arms licence renewal.