Government mulls to ban trade of peacock feathers

The government is considering banning the trade of peacock feathers to protect the national bird. The population of peacock is said to be declining because of its poaching for feathers, which fetch a good price in national and international markets.
In 1991, World Wide Fund for nature had revealed that India was left with only 50% of the total peacock population that existed at the time of Independence. As per experts, the number has come down further since 1991 because of habitat loss and poaching.
With the rising demand of feathers (morpankh) having outstripped naturally shed feathers available, the environment ministry has decided for a complete clamp down on sale, purchase and transport of peacock feathers.
Why the population of Peacocks is declining?

  • Peacock killing is prohibited under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, however, it allows for trade of naturally shed peacock feathers. The loophole in the law has been misused and had lead to rampant killing of the bird across India for highly lucrative feather business.

What the Environment Ministry is demanding?

  • The Environment Ministry seeks amendment in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 to make trade of body parts of peacocks an offence equivalent to punishment for killing other non-endangered species.
  • Under the amended law, a person caught selling or purchasing peacock feathers or trophies could be jailed for up to two years. However, possessing peacock feathers by citizens will not be a crime.



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