Wildlife Protection Act 1972 Current Affairs - 2019

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Monkey Declared Vermin in Himachal Pradesh

The government of Himachal Pradesh has made an announcement regarding the announcement of  Monkey as Vermin for the period of one year in 11 districts of the state. Monkeys were declared as vermin in 38 tehsils and sub-tehsils of 10 districts in Himachal Pradesh. The period of this notification was extended for one year on December 20, 2017.

The state government had urged the centre to declare Monkeys as vermin because the animals have been adversely affecting crops and causing harm to humans.

What does the designation of Vermin mean?

Vermin refers to pests or nuisance animals which spread diseases or destroy crops or livestock. In India Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 empowers the states to send a list of wild animals to the Centre requesting it to declare them vermin for selective slaughter.

The Central Government through notification may declare any wild animal other than those specified in Schedule I and part 11 of Schedule H of the law to be vermin for any area for a given period of time.

For the period the notification is in force such wild animal shall be included in Schedule V of the law, depriving them of any protection under that law.

Declaration of Vermin provides a reprieve for those who kill these animals in the specified areas for a year after these notifications, from the jail terms and fines that hunting these animals typically invite.

The hunted wildlife is declared as government property and it imposes restrictions on how these carcasses must be disposed of.

It is criticised that once the animals are slotted as vermin they become an easy game for hunters as well as traders in meat.

Ghumot to be declared Goa’s heritage musical instrument

The Art and Culture Minister of Goa, Govind Gaude has announced that Ghumot, an indigenous earthen drum will soon be notified as a heritage instrument of Goa. Ghumot is an indigenous earthen drum fashioned as a designed clay pot, with the skin of the monitor lizard stretched taut across the pot’s mouth, forming a drumhead. Ghumot is a percussion instrument widely played during Ganesh Chaturthi Aarties.

Fact Box

Goa which is the former Portuguese colony presented Ghumot as a gift to the Portuguese Prime Minister Anotnio Costa during his visit to India in 2017. Portuguese Prime Minister Anotnio Costa is is of Goan origin.

Why Ghumot was banned?

The skin of monitor lizard is one of the key components of the Ghumot. Since the monitor lizard was classified as an endangered wildlife species and was listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Ghumot was banned by the Forest Department of Goa.

In recent years attempts were made to revive the heritage instrument of Goa by replacing monitor lizard skin with the skin of a she-goat. This revival had spiked the interests about the instrument.

Taking forward the efforts to conserve the heritage musical instrument the government of Goa is taking steps to declare Ghumot as the heritage musical instrument of Goa.