By LE Desk
New Delhi, April 17: The Delhi High Court on April 15, 2021 issued an order directing the Centre to take a decision on framing rules to confer protection for exotic animals that are currently not under the purview of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The court’s order came in response to a petition filed by animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India about the status of a male hippopotamus rescued from the Asiad Circus in Uttar Pradesh, Down to Earth magazine reported.
The court directed that the hippo be permanently kept in a spacious facility in Jamnagar, Gujarat, based on PETA’s petition and an inspection report by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
The AWBI filed the report after an order of the court February 17. The report was based on the physical inspection carried out by the Board of the Jamnagar facility where the hippopotamus is now housed.
The Board expressed complete satisfaction with the mental and physical health of the hippopotamus, the housing conditions and the environmental enrichment and nutrition being given to him.
The AWBI noted that the hippo was in the company of a rescued female hippopotamus and was receiving expert veterinary care. The agency also confirmed that the facility met the Central Zoo Authority’s “Guidelines on Minimum Dimensions of Enclosures for Housing Exotic Animals of Different Species” and recommended that the facility be allowed to provide the hippopotamus with lifelong care.
PETA India had filed its petition in 2018, requesting that the court order the seizure and rehabilitation of the hippo from the Asiad Circus, where he was forced to live a solitary life, confined to a small tank with concrete flooring and filthy water.
Through its petition, the group also requested that the court direct the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to expand the Central Zoo Authority’s purview to include all exotic wild animals, including hippos, birds, and others who aren’t currently protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Down To Earth had recently reported that India’s wildlife law had not incorporated new scientific discoveries and understandings, which was leading to confusion and chaos in wildlife management.