Soon: Ban on peacock plume trade
Possession for religious purposes not to be prohibited
New Delhi, June 30
To check rampant poaching of the national bird, the government is proposing an amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, to prohibit trade in peacock tail feathers and articles and trophies made from it. However, possession of such articles for religious purposes will not be prohibited keeping in mind the traditional use of peacock feathers and articles in religious ceremonies.
Worried over declining number of the national bird, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had wanted a complete ban on trade in peacock feathers. However, after observations that peacock feathers were widely used for religious purposes, it was decided to keep this section out of the ban.
Once the amendment is cleared by Parliament, it would become essential that every person in possession of such articles makes a declaration and gets ownership certificate from the Chief Wildlife Warden. Transfer is prohibited even after the ownership certificate has been granted as this would amount to a violation of the prohibition in trade.
A ban on trade of peacock feathers had become essential to protect the national bird from illegal poaching. Peacocks shed feathers only once a year, but going merely by articles sold on traffic signals throughout the year it is clear that the national bird was being sacrificed for its colourful plume.
There are reports that the national bird is becoming more and more vulnerable because of the gap between demand and availability of their tail feathers. Earlier, the Wildlife Protection Act allowed the possession and domestic trade of naturally shed peacock feathers.
The Wildlife Protection Act will be amended to remove exemption granted under Sections 43(3)(a) and 44 for transfer and sale of tail feathers and articles or trophies made from them. While the Act already prohibits killing of peacocks as well as export of tail feathers or articles made from them, it allows domestic trade in them under the assumption that these are naturally shed.
The amendment Bill is ready and on the verge of being forwarded to the Law Ministry.However, cottage industry workers are not very impressed by the proposed ban, which, they say, will hit them hard.
As per the amendment Bill, persons who immediately before the commencement of the Act were in possession of tail feathers of peacock and articles will have to declare their number to the Chief Wildlife Warden within six months of the commencement of the Act. They will also have to declare that they will not transfer by way of sale or by any mode of consideration of commercial nature the tail feathers of peacock and articles.
Any person, dealer, trader or manufacturer carrying on the business or occupation in the trade of tail feathers of peacock and articles will be prohibited from carrying on such business. Those who immediately before the commencement were carrying on the business will have to dispose of all items made from tail feathers of peacock .
Declaration a must
Once the proposed amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, is cleared by Parliament, it will become essential that every person in possession of articles made from peacock feathers makes a declaration and gets ownership certificate for the same from the Chief Wildlife Warden.