Hunting of the finest birds such as Japanese quails and Edible-nest swiftlets would not be a crime soon.
The government is considering removing these birds from the endangered list of the Wildlife Protection Act on the ground that their population was increasing at an alarming rate.
The animal committee of the environment ministry has finalised a proposal to de-list them, meaning that selling of quail or swiftlet meat would become legal. This has been done as private quail farms are increasing in India and there is a market for their domestic consumption.
Wildlife experts are, however, are against the move saying it will endanger other quails as it would legalise quail meat. “It will not be possible to identify the meat of captive raised quail from that of the wild ones once the feathers have been removed,” said MK Ranjitsinh, member of the national board for wildlife.
At a recent meeting of the standing committee of the board, wildlife experts Asad Rahmani and ATS Johnsingh said the farm-bred Japanese Quails could be de-listed, but the wild variety could be retained.
Other members such as Divyabhanusinh Chavda, Prerna Singh Bindra and Madhusudan were of the opinion that there should be no delisting, but the farming in its present form could continue, with no further expansion or new facilities being set up as in the case of domestic chicken.
On de-listing of swiftlets, some of the members wanted the animal committee to be cautious, asking the government to get its “exact status” before taking them out of the protection list.
The committee, however, recommended its de-listing.
The committee also decided to list Tokey Gecko, described as a million-rupee reptile, as an endangered species to protect it from increased poaching.
Tokey Gecko is one of the largest geckos in the world, with males being as much as 15 inches long.
Apart from India, geckos are found in Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Guinea.
Another animal coming on the critically endangered list is the hog deer.
While running, its head is hung low, which helps it in ducking the obstacles in its way, rather than leaping over them.
The committee has also decided to retain sloth bear in schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.