Wildlife Protection Act boards mandatory at pet shops

Innovative initiative of Nashik Forest Department to prevent wildlife smuggling
Hedgehogs rescued from a pet shop in Nashik
Hedgehogs rescued from a pet shop in Nashik

NASHIK: For the last few years, Nashik has become the focal point of crime against wildlife. The Forest Department aims to stop the wildlife smuggling that has spread in the entire Nashik forest division. Wildlife smuggling, in particular, is on the rise. Against this background, the Nashik Forest Department has decided to make it mandatory to put a copy of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 on the front of the pet shop for selling wildlife.

The illegal trade and smuggling of their organs and Nashik's connection of the sleeper cell of smuggling of forest resources are coming to the fore frequently. So, pet shops in the district are now on the radar of the Forest Department. Nashik district borders Navsari, Valsad and Dang districts of Gujarat and extends to Dhule, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar and Thane. Due to the abundant natural resources in the border areas, gangs of smugglers have become active.

Taking local hunters with them, the poaching and hunting of wildlife are increasing. Rare species of wildlife such as turtles, parrots and hedgehogs were found recently from a pet shop in Nashik city. The forest department has focused on pet shops, which have become a major hub for smuggling. The pet shop owners will be questioned along with regular inspections. It has also been made mandatory to display detailed information boards of Wildlife Conservation Act 1927 and 1972 on the front of the pet shop.

Meanwhile, information on wildlife customers sold from a pet shop will be collected by the Forest Department. In case of unregistered wildlife being found at various pet shops in Nashik city, the Forest Department is preparing to take strict action against them through the Nashik (West) office.

"Very soon, we will reveal the board which will be mandatory to put outside pet shops. About 100 Wildlife Protection Act boards will be erected and displayed on the front of the pet shops. Through these boards, people will be informed about the protected wildlife and the punishment for keeping it. This will prevent the illegal purchase of protected wildlife. Smuggling can also be curtailed if the demand is reduced." -Vivek Bhadane, Range Forest Officer, Nashik

Registration on ‘Parivesh’ mandatory

Under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1927 and 1972, protection has been provided to many wildlife species. It is mandatory to register on Parivesh about exotic species of wildlife purchased from pet shops or obtained from other sources on the ecosystem. However, it will also be difficult as most of the customers are not registering themselves on the Parivesh portal.

Protected wildlife

The animal species like Shekru or Indian Giant Squirrel, Hyena, Vulture, Antelope, Turtle, Parrot, India Sand Boa, corals, all species of snakes, monitor lizard, peacock and various other species are protected under Schedule I and Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act.

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