3274. SHRI BHAGWANTH KHUBA:
Will the Minister of ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE be pleased to state:
(a) whether there is any co-relation between the increasing deaths of wild animals/endangered species and ecological imbalance in the country; and
(b) if so, the details thereof and the reaction of the Government thereto?
MINISTER OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE (SHRI ANIL MADHAV DAVE)
(a) and (b) Plants and animals play an important role in maintaining balance in the ecosystems through linkages with food chains. Increasing death of any particular species in a trophic level may disrupt the food chain. Government has been taking adequate step to manage endangered species and its habitats. The important steps taken to protect flora and fauna include:
i. Legal protection has been provided to endangered species against hunting and commercial exploitation under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
ii. Protected Areas, viz., National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves covering important wildlife habitats have been created all over the country under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to conserve endangered species.
iii. Special programmes like ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’ have been launched for conservation of these keystone species and their habitats.
iv. In addition to provision of stringent punishment for the offenders, the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 also provides for forfeiture of any equipment, vehicle or weapon that is used for committing wildlife offence(s).
v. A specific component of “Recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats’ is provided in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats’ for focused conservation action on selected critically endangered species.
vi. Financial and technical assistance is provided to the State/ Union Territory Governments under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes for providing better protection to wildlife including endangered species and improvement of its habitat.
vii. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been empowered under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to apprehend and prosecute wildlife offenders.
viii. The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has been set up to ensure co-ordination among various officers and State Governments in connection with the enforcement of law for control of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and derrived products.