- The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has issued an advisory to streamline and formalize the process of importing live exotic animals.
What are Exotic animals?
- Exotic animals are those species that are found in a particular country.
- The advisory has defined them as those that are mentioned under the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but not under the schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
- In August, 2019, India has submitted proposals regarding changes to the listing of various wildlife species in the CITES secretariat meeting, in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The proposals submitted are regarding changes in the listing of the smooth-coated otter, small-clawed otter, Indian star tortoise, Tokay gecko, wedgefish and Indian rosewood.
- For the Indian rosewood, the proposal is to remove the species from CITES Appendix II. The species covered by CITES are listed in three appendices on the degree of protection they require.
- India is among the parties proposing the re-listing of the star tortoise from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I.
- With regard to the two otter species, India, Nepal and the Philippines have proposed that the listing be moved from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I for the more endangered species. A similar proposal has been made to include the Tokay gecko in Appendix I.
About CITES (Back to Basics)
- CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments.
- Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
- The CITES Secretariatis administered by UNEP (The United Nations Environment Programme) and is located at Geneva, Switzerland.
- There are three appendices: Appendix I, II, and III. Each denotes a different level of protection from trade.
- Appendix I– Species that are in danger of extinction because of international trade.
- Appendix II- species that aren’t facing imminent extinction but need monitoring to ensure that trade doesn’t become a threat.
- Appendix III- species that are protected in at least one country, when that country asks others for help in regulating the trade.
- States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (‘joined’ CITES) are known as Parties.
- Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws.
- Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.