For the first time the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change has issued an advisory to streamline the process of importing and possesing exotic species.
• Many exotic species of birds, reptiles and amphibians are imported into India for commercial purposes.
Highlights regarding the advisory:
• The word exotic does not have a set definition but it usually refers to a wild animal or one that is more unusual and rare than normal domesticated pets like cats or dogs.
• These are those species which are not usually native to an area and are introduced to an area by humans.
• 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.
• The major reason for issuing the advisory is to regulate trade because of the probability of zoonotic diseases is linked to wildlife.
- With this advisory, it will be known how many such exotic animals are there in the country.
- These guidelines have been issued as the global concerns on wildlife trade and zoonotic diseases have increased in the wake of COVID-19.
• For import and disclosure of exotic animals and their progeny already in India.
• A person trying to import a live exotic animal will have to submit an application for grant of a licence to the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
• Earlier, these imports were happening though the DGFT but they were beyond the purview of the forest departments and the chief wildlife wardens were not aware of them.
• The importer will also have to attach a No Objection Certificate (NOC) of the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state concerned along with the application.
• For those people who have already imported exotic animals, a declaration will have to be made within six months.
• However, if the declaration is made after six months, documents related to the provenance of the animal will have to be submitted.