One-time voluntary disclosure scheme for exotic animals

The Supreme Court of India recently upheld the order of Allahabad High court to grant immunity from investigation and prosecution if a person voluntarily declares possession or acquisition of exotic species. This is applicable under the new amnesty scheme announced by the centre.

One-Time Voluntary Disclosure Scheme for Exotic Animals

The voluntary disclosure scheme from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is a one-time scheme that allows owners of exotic animal species to declare their stock between June and December this year. This could be stock that was acquired illegally or is owned without documents.

Under the scheme, the Chief Wildlife Warden has to be informed about the death, new acquisition or change in possession of animals within 30 days. The scheme has specified guidelines to surrender the animals to a zoo. The owner of the animal will have to provide details of the acquired species, address of the facility where they are housed, their numbers, etc.

Objective of the Scheme

The initiative is aimed at addressing the issue of zoonotic diseases, improve compliance with CITES and regulate exotic species imports.

‘Exotic live species’ includes animals listed under Appendices I, II and III of CITES. It excludes exotic birds from the Amnesty Scheme. Also, it does not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

CITES

It is an international agreement that ensures that the international trade in birds, wild animals and plants does not endanger them. India is a member of CITES. There are more than 5,950 species protected under Appendices I, II and III of CITES against over-exploitation through international trade.

What are Exotic species?

The Exotic Species are non-indigenous species, alien and non-native species that occur in areas outside their geographic range.

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