ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Ritwick DuttaSubscribe to Ritwick Dutta

National Board for Wildlife and the Illusion of Wildlife Protection

The recent approvals granted by the National Board for Wildlife permitting ecologically destructive activities within national parks and sanctuaries have generated a lot of concern. A significant part of the concern is with respect to the timing, and whether it is appropriate to approve projects during the COVID-19 lockdown. Other larger issues of concern point to the fact that the NBWL has become a “clearing house” for projects, where, irrespective of its impact on wildlife, projects are approved and that the decisions of the board are guided more by economic, strategic, political and other considerations and rarely in terms of wildlife conservation. The NBWL is the apex body for conservation of wildlife and its habitat, and the NBWL’s role is of critical importance to ensure the long-term protection of India’s biodiversity.

India’s ‘Three Pest Campaign’

Over the last few years, the central government has declared certain species of wild animals as “vermin” in some states, thus allowing uncontrolled hunting of these animals. This removal of protection raises serious concerns with respect to its legality, constitutionality, and ethics. An analysis of notifications declaring species as vermin shows that this was done in an arbitrary manner without any scientific assessments. There is thus a clear need to review the manner in which wild animals were declared as vermin.

Reintroduction of the Asiatic Lion

The population of the Asiatic lion is confined only to Gujarat, and constitutes a single population that is vulnerable to extinction. In 2013, the Supreme Court directed that a second home be created for the Asiatic lion in Kuno–Palpur Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. However, no concrete steps have been taken in this direction.On the contrary, regressive policy changes have been carried out with the clear objective of undermining the Supreme Court’s judgment.

A National Law for Urban Trees

Trees become the first victims of infrastructure expansion in urban areas. Laws and institutions for the protection of trees have not kept pace with the increasing developmental pressures. A fundamental reform in the law is needed, so that it is able to comprehensively protect trees in an urban landscape.
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