Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

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This article is about the Government of India's wildlife-protection legislation in 1972. For legislation adopted by the District of Columbia in 2010, see Wildlife Protection Act of 2010.
The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972
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An Act to provide for the protection of Wild animals, birds and plants and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto.
Citation Act No. 53 of 1972
Enacted by Parliament of India
Date enacted 9 September 1972

The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for protection of plants and animal species. Before 1972, India only had five designated national parks. Among other reforms, the Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting these species was largely outlawed.

The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants; and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto. It extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act. It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection. Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection - offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties. Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower. Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted. The plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting. The hunting to the Enforcement authorities have the power to compound offences under this Schedule (i.e. they impose fines on the offenders). Up to April 2010 there have been 16 convictions under this act relating to the death of tigers.

Definitions under the Act (Section 2)[edit]

  • "animal" includes amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles, and their young, and also includes, in the cases of birds and reptiles, their eggs.
  • "animal article" means an article made from any captive or wild animal, other than vermin, and includes an article or object in which the whole or any part of such animal has been used and an article made therefrom.
  • "hunting" includes
(a) capturing, killing, poisoning, snaring, or trapping any wild animal, and every attempt to do so
(b) driving any wild animal for any of the purposes specified in sub clause
(c) injuring, destroying or taking any body part of any such animal, or in the case of wild birds or reptiles, disturbing or damaging the eggs or nests of such birds or reptiles.
  • "taxidermy" means the curing, preparation or preservation of trophies.
  • "trophy" means the whole or any part of any captive or wild animal (other than vermin) which has been kept or preserved by any means, whether artificial or natural. This includes:
(a) rugs, skins, and specimens of such animals mounted in whole or in part through a process of taxidermy
(b) antler, horn, rhinoceros horn, feather, nail, tooth, musk, eggs, and nests.
  • "uncured trophy" means the whole or any part of any captive animal (other than vermin) which has not undergone a process of taxidermy. This includes a freshly killed wild animal, ambergris, musk and other animal products.
  • "vermin" means any wild animal specified in Schedule V.
  • "wildlife" includes any animal, bees, butterflies, crustacean, fish and moths; and aquatic or land vegetation which forms part of any habitat

Hunting (Section 9)[edit]

This section describes what constitutes hunting and the intent to hunt. Hunting of wild animals is prohibited.

Ownership (Section 40 & 42)[edit]

Regarding ownership issues and trade licences

Penalties (Section 51)[edit]

Penalties are prescribed in section 51. Enforcement can be performed by agencies such as the Forest Department, the Police,the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), the Customs and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Chargesheets can be filed directly by the Forest Department. Other enforcement agencies, often due to the lack of technical expertise, hand over cases to the Forest Department.


The Code has been amended several times.

S. No. Short title of amending legislation No. Year
1 Wild Life (Protection ) Amendment Act 1982 1982
2 Wild Life (Protection ) Amendment Act 1986 1986
3 Wild Life (Protection ) Amendment Act 1991 1991
4 Wild Life (Protection ) Amendment Act 1993 1993
4 Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002[1] 2002
5 Wild Life (Protection ) Amendment Act 2006 2006
6 Wild Life (Protection ) Amendment Act 2013 2013


  1. ^ * http://www.envfor.nic.in/ Official website of: Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]