• Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has proposed an amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972 to accord legal status to elephant reserves and corridors on the lines of tiger reserves.
• Elephant reserves or corridors not covered under WPA or under the Environment Protection Act and are out of the purview of any National Board of Wildlife (NBWL).
• Therefore, such lands are at risk of being diverted for mines, polluting industries, etc.
• Under WPA, state forest departments have to prepare a tiger reserve management plan with an adequate number of forest staff and strategies in place to protect tigers.
• It also says that no mining or industrial activity will be allowed in the vicinity of the reserves and that their boundaries cannot be changed without approval from NBWL.
• It also gives legal status to the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the regulatory body for tiger reserves.
• India has more than 60 % of Asian elephants (IUCN status: Endangered) population with Karnataka having the highest number of wild elephants.
Mains Paper 3: Environment
Prelims level: Wildlife Protection Act
Mains level: Read the newscard