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The Wild Life Protection Act, 1972



Wildlife conservation is imperative because it helps us maintain the ecological balance. The reason why we must maintain the ecological balance is to protect and maintain the stability of the ecosystem. In simpler words, wildlife conservation is nothing but the protection of fauna and their habitat.

Society needs to protect wildlife to prevent droughts, floods, barren lands, deserts, and fires emerging in forests. Wildlife helps us in more than ways which include food production, plant productivity, and pharmaceutical drugs found in the medicines. The most prevailing concerns hindering wildlife protection are poaching, hunting, exploitation, destruction of their natural habitat, pollution, and climatic changes. To regulate such activities and protect wildlife, the Central Government enacted the Wildlife Protection Act. 

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Importance of the Wild Life Protection Act 

With a vision to protect wildlife, various steps were taken by the colonial government and imperial authorities. One such act that was laid down by the British Government was the Wild Birds Protection Act, of 1887. In 1935, the Wild Birds and Animal Protection Act was framed. The year 1972 was of great significance as it formulated the Wild Life Protection Act on 9th September. This Act warrants the ecological and environmental safety of the country. 

The Wild Life Protection Act regulates the protection of specified plants, trade, and commerce in wild animals, animal articles, and animal trophies and discusses the prevention and detection of offenses.    

Wild Life Protection Act: A National Treasure 

Wild Life Protection of 9th September 1972 was encapsulated to protect, conserve, and manage wildlife. It deals in matters connected with, ancillary, or incidental to the Act to ensure the environmental protection and the maintenance of ecological balance. The Act contains 66 sections covered within 7 chapters and 4 schedules. 

The most important sections of the Act are discussed below:

  • Definitions (Chapter 1, Section 2): This section provides for the meaning and interpretation of the recurring words in the Act such as animal, animal article, captive animal, chief wildlife warden, circus, habitat, hunting, land, license, meat, national park, permit, protected area, recognized zoo, reserve forest, sanctuary, specified plant, trophy, uncured trophy, wild animal, wildlife, wildlife warden and zoo. 
  • Authorities to be appointed or constituted under the Act (Chapter 2, Sections 3-8): These sections include the appointment of a director or other officers, the appointment of Life Warden and other officers, Delegating powers, the Constitution of the National Board for Wild Life, standing committee of the National Board, Functions of the National Board, Constitution of the State Board for Wild Life, Standing Committee of the Board, Procedure to be followed by the Board, Duties of (State Board for Wild Life) 
  • Hunting of Wild Animals (Chapter 3, Sections 9-12)
  • Protection of Specified Plants (Chapter 3A, Sections 17A-17H)
  • Protected Areas (Chapter 4, Sections 18-39): This chapter talks about sanctuaries, their protection, collector and their functions, national parks, conservation reserves, sanctuaries, and national parks declared by the Central Government. 
  • Central Zoo Authority and Recognition of Zoos (Chapter 4A, Sections 38A-38J)
  • Constitution of National Tiger Conservation Authority (Chapter 4B, Sections 38K-38XA
  • (Wild Life) Crime Control Bureau (Chapter 4C, Sections 38Y-38Z)
  • Trade or Commerce in Wild Animals, Animal Articles and Trophies (Chapter 5, Sections 39-49):  This chapter revolves around wild animals which are government property, Surrender of captive animals and animal articles, prohibition on dealings in trophies and animal articles without license, suspension, and cancellation of license, purchase of animals by license, restriction on transportation of wildlife and purchase of captive animal without a license.
  • Prohibition of trade and commerce in trophies, animal articles, etc., derived from certain animals (Chapter 5A, Sections 49A-49C)
  • Regulation of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora as per convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (Chapter 5B, Sections 49D-49R) 
  • Prevention and detection of offenses (Chapter 6, Sections 50-58)
  • Forfeiture of Property derived from illegal hunting and trade (Chapter 6A, Sections 58A-58Y)
  • Miscellaneous (Chapter 7, Sections 59-66) 

The Wild Life Protection Amendment Bill, 2023

The Wild Life Protection Act, of 1972 is an important piece of legislation that has not only contributed to the protection and conservation of wildlife in India but also saved the extinction of species like Royal Bengal Tiger and one-horned Rhinos. But every Act has its loopholes and thus, the Wild Life Protection Act has attracted criticism as well during the last decade. Affected are those who have their lands close to the forests. They have to continually face the foreshadowing of wild animals and extreme weather conditions. Animals like wild boars have outgrown in numbers and are a serious threat to the lives of farmers and their lands. The people living near or in the vicinity of forests need to be granted leverage in case to prevent their lands and lives from the attacked by such wild animals.

This Bill protects forest dwellers from hunting wild animals under special circumstances. Furthermore, the Bill also wants to increase the punishment for illegal wildlife trade, manage protected areas in a much better way, and the protection of forest lands. 


The enforceability of the Wild Life Protection Act has paved the way for the conservation and management of wildlife in a way wherein the ecological balance is maintained between the flora and fauna and the living organisms co-exist in a safe and healthy ecosystem. Since the Wild Life Protection Act has been in place since 1927, it has certain gaps which the Wild Life Protection Amendment Bill, 2023 seeks to fill. As a part of the ecosystem, we must protect and conserve the fauna along with the fauna and not indulge in activities leading to the extinction of wildlife species.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.


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