Call to declare exotic species in 6 months

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 6/5/2020 1:00:51 AM

NEW DELHI, Jun 4: Amid scare that Coronavirus may spread through pets, the government has served an ultimatum on the owners and animal breeders of the exotic live species such as fish, birds and animals to voluntarily declare and register their stocks within six months and obtain their health cards. It's not actually voluntary as the notification makes the declaration mandatory, requiring a lot of documentation by those delaying the declaration within the time limit.
The idea is to prepare an inventory and streamline the import of exotic animals/birds and fish species, warning that this is necessary since there is a risk of zoonotic (animal to human) transmission of virus.
Officials in the Environment Ministry said listing of the exotic species is a step in the direction of precaution as better than prevention before any coronavirus kind of pandemic spreads in India through then. In India as in most parts of the world, it is legal to keep the exotic live species. In fact, there is large demand and market for them like ball pythons, pocket mokeys, crocodile skinks, hissing cockroaches and a wide range of exotic birds.
The ministry, however, has no record of the population of the live species, illegal trade hubs and numbers poached. To plug the gap, the ministry has issued an advisory enlisting dos and don'ts to streamline the trade and laid down the process of import and possession of exotic live species.
The chief wildlife wardens of the respective states shall, after physical verification, register the stock an maintain a record in their offices and issue an online certificate of possession of the species declared within six months. The owners will have to inform him about any fresh acquisition, death, trade, change of possession within 30 days and also provide address where they have been kept, says the advisory.
It says: "Animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of wild fauna and flora will be part of the advisory and does not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972."



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