New guidelines for import of exotic species
Centre urges people to make voluntary report
The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) has issued an advisory saying people importing “exotic live species” will have to make a voluntary disclosure.
The move comes as the outbreak of COVID-19 has raised global concern about illegal wildlife trade and zoonotic diseases. “Considering the significance of the import and export of exotic live species, this Ministry is issuing the advisory to streamline the process .... ”
The advisory issued earlier this month defines “exotic live species” as animal or plant species moved from their original range (location) to a new one. Several exotic species of birds, reptiles, small mammals, fishes and even some plants are imported.
The Ministry has said “exotic live species” shall be construed to mean only “the animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora”.
Species covered by the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 cannot be traded.
Experts have welcomed the move and said it will create a process where all imports will be screened. As of now, the imports are being made through the Director General of Foreign Trade and State Forest departments are not kept in the loop.
For new “exotic live species”, the importer should obtain a no-objection certificate from the Chief Wildlife Warden ( CWLW) of the State. For existing species, stocks “shall be declared by the owner/ holder (stock, as on 1 January 2020) to the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of the concerned State or UT”.