Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Wildlife laws set for huge change, draft policy ready

- Chetan Chauhan chetan@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: The government has proposed a new set of regulation­s on hunting of wildlife outside protected areas such as national parks and sanctuarie­s as well as trade of non-endangered flora and fauna, which conservati­onists dubbed as a “licence to kill”.

The environmen­t ministry has drafted a new wildlife conservati­on policy, which includes rules on wildlife kept in captivity, to keep pace with the changing times and need along with the country’s religious and cultural practices.

“The wildlife protection act was enacted to ban hunting. A lot has changed in the past 35 years and we want to tune the law with present-day conservati­on challenges,” a government official said.

The ministry wanted to define rituals of certain communitie­s that encouraged killing of wild and scheduled animals, listed under the wildlife act. Also, it sought to amend the law on keeping wild animals in captivity in accordance with traditiona­l practices — such as those used in rural sports and religious functions in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtr­a and Punjab.

Activists said the new policy would encourage indiscrimi­nate killing of wildlife.

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