Govt moves to regulate import of exotic animals

4 months ago 40
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MEERUT: Own a

sea turtle

, a marmoset or any other exotic species? You’ll now have to submit a form to the chief wildlife warden in your state.
In a first of its kind move, the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change has issued an advisory to streamline the process of importing and possessing live

exotic animals

while also asking owners of exotic species to voluntarily disclose information on their pets within six months. The advisory uploaded on the government’s Parivesh portal proposes developing an inventory of exotic live species in India through voluntary disclosure, registration and declaration of progeny of the imported exotic live species and laying down a procedure for their import.
According to the advisory, the phrase “exotic live species” includes “animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora” and “does not include species from the Schedules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972”. Approximately 5,800 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants are protected by CITES against

overexploitation

through international trade.
While import of live exotic animals is covered under Customs Act in India, wildlife experts have long been asking for stringent laws and guidelines to document and regulate numbers of exotic species being kept as pets by individuals and breeders in India. Some of the most sought after exotic species in India are Ball python, Scarlet Macaw, sea turtles, sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps), marmoset and grey African parrots.
Experts said often these species are illegally trafficked into the country to avoid lengthy documentation and scrutiny. Another problem is that once in the country, people can claim ancestral holding of these species — meaning that a particular species is the progeny of animals they brought in before India became a signatory to CITES.
To encourage people to declare ownership of exotic species, they would not be required to produce any documentation related to exotic live species but those declaring the same after the six-month deadline has lapsed would be required to furnish documents.

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