Wildlife Protection Current Affairs

Kerala to seek Union government’s approval for using deer antlers in Ayurveda medicines

The Kerala Government has approached the Union Government for allowing use of antlers of spotted deer and sambar of Ayurveda medicines.

In this regard, Kerala State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) under chairmanship of CM Pinarayi Vijayan has forwarded proposal to National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and Ministry of Environment and Forests.

SBWL is seeking suitable amendments to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for using the antlers for medicinal purposes.

What are Antlers?antlers

Antlers are the extensions of the deer’s skull. There are three deer varieties deer, sambar, and barking deer having
antlers and are found in Kerala. They shed their antlers annually. It is believed that antlers have medicinal values and are mainly used for invigorating spleen, strengthening bones/muscles and boosting blood flow. 

What is the issue? 

The Kerala SBWL had approved a request from the state-run Oushadhi to collect and use antlers shed by spotted deer and sambars in zoos for preparing ayurvedic medicines. However, the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 prohibits (bans) sale and use of antlers in India. Tonnes of antlers are kept in the stores of Department of Museums and Zoos as the sale and use of antlers are banned. SBWL is seeking suitable amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act for using the antlers for medicinal purposes.

What Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 says?

The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, has included antler in the definition of wildlife trophy that may be whole or any part of any captive animal or wild animal. Section 39 of the Act prohibits person from acquiring or keeping trophies in his possession without the previous permission of Chief Wildlife Warden or the authorised officer. Wildlife and wildlife trophies are considered to be owned by the government. The Act prescribes imprisonment up to 3 years and a fine of Rs. 25,000 for offences involving wildlife trophies.

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Two-thirds of wild animals may go extinct by 2020

According to recently released study, global wildlife populations have fallen by 58% since 1970 and if the trend continues then two-thirds of wild animals may go extinct by 2020

The study was published as The Living Planet assessment by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

What the study says?

  • It suggests that animals living in lakes, rivers and wetlands are suffering the biggest losses.
  • Human activity, including habitat loss, wildlife trade, pollution and climate change contributed to the decline in global wildlife populations.
  • It also concluded that vertebrate populations are declining by an average of 2% each year.

How the study was conducted?

  • The report in its analysis had looked at 3,700 different species of birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles, about 6% of total number of vertebrate species in the world.
  • It had also collected data from government statistics, peer-reviewed studies and surveys collated by conservation groups and NGOs.
  • They had included any species with population data going back to 1970, with two or more time points in the study.
  • Then using this data researchers had analysed how the population sizes had changed over time.
  • Some of this information was weighted to take into account the groups of animals that had a great deal of data or very little data.

Background

  • The Living Planet Report is published every two years. It aims to provide an assessment of the state of the world’s wildlife.
  • The last report was published in 2014. It had estimated that the world’s wildlife populations had halved over the last 40 years.

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