May 20 this marks National Endangered Species Day 2022 to raise awareness about the endangered species of plants and animals that need to be preserved.
Jammu and Kashmir is home to many species of birds and animals, thanks to its geographical diversity. But sadly, many species are endangered, some critically endangered, while others are on the verge of extinction or near threatened. Immediately what strikes the mind is Hangul and conservation of this species assumes great significance as this is the only survivor of the Red Deer group in the Indian Subcontinent.
The loss of species is a tragedy with broad and deep impact. Animal and plant biodiversity keeps ecosystems functional. Healthy ecosystems allow human beings to survive, get enough food to eat and make a living.
Despite technological advancements to detect and prevent poaching and trafficking, reports keep on pouring now and then that the disturbing trend continues.
In a landmark judgment last year, J&K and Ladakh High Court said that trading in endangered animals or articles made from their skin, bones or any other part was similar to dealing in noxious or pernicious trade like intoxicating drugs.
The court precisely underlined that what was destructive of the environment, forests and wild life was contrary to the directive principles of State policy.
There is complete ban imposed on such trade due to enactment of J&K Wild Life Protection Act, 1978.
It is a settled position of law that the trade which is pernicious can be totally banned without attracting Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India.
The court pointed out that trading in animals close to being wiped out of existence and articles made from their bones, skins or other parts of their bodies, is a situation akin to dealing in any other noxious or pernicious trade like intoxicating drugs. The Parliament is, therefore, well within its powers to impose a ban by way of appropriate legislation on trading in wild life and their derivatives in furtherance of Article 48A like it can prohibit trade in intoxicating drugs and liquors in compliance with the mandate of Article 47.
While the law is there, there is a need to enhance measures to track, prove, and prevent wildlife crimes. There is also a need for evaluative research on interventions that have the potential to allow illicit trade and in other words keep wildlife under danger.
Without drastic action to conserve habitats, the rate of species extinction will only increase.