- The government of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has sent a proposal to the Central government requesting that saltwater crocodiles be delisted from Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972.
- The request has been raised in order for the Andaman authorities to control the growing saltwater crocodile population in the islands and the resultant rise in human-croc conflicts.
- The proposal was sent three months ago and is awaiting consideration.
About Wildlife Protection Act 1972
- The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for the protection of plants and animal species.
- It extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act.
- It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection.
- Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection – offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
- Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower.
- Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted.
- The specified endemic plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting.
- Under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, states can request the Centre to declare some species as “vermin” if their population becomes unmanageable, thereby removing protections assured by the Act.
- Essentially, the species can then be hunted or culled.
- The Central Government may declare any wild animal other than those specified in Sch. I and part 11 of Sch. H to be vermin for any area, so long as such notification is in force, such wild animal shall be deemed to have been included in Sch. V.
- The National Wildlife Action Plan (2017-31) calls for “comprehensive, science-based species-specific and region-specific, conflict mitigation plans that can help in the prevention of human-wildlife conflict situations.