Wildlife effectively encompasses all forms of life, whether plant or animal which are found wild in nature and also include marine, freshwater and coastal ecosystems. Wildlife conservation is the endeavour to protect the endangered animal and plant species, along with their natural habitat which has been advocated through the years by many government and NGOs worldwide. For instance, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an international organisation whose key aim is to conserve the nature and to reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on the planet. The Living Planet Report, 2017 of WWF reveals that the world populations of wildlife are declined by 58% since 1970 to 2012. On the other hand, the INTERPOL estimates that internationally the illegal wildlife trade is about 10 to 20 billion USD each year.
The wildlife conservation treaties collectively comprise international wildlife law that includes 'Big 5', e.g., the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) 1973, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals 1979, the Bio Diversity Convention 1992, the Ramsar Convention 1971 and the World Heritage Convention 1972. These are generally accompanied and informed by an embryonic set of non-binding instruments, e.g., Conference of the Parties (COP) decisions and different action plans.
It is worth mentioning here that Bangladesh is a State party to all of these aforementioned international legal instruments. Also it is one of the mega biodiverse States in this present world and a wide variety of animal diversity is found in the wilderness areas of this country. Article 18A of the Constitution of Bangladesh deals with the protection and improvement of environment and biodiversity and provides, “The State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to preserve and safeguard the natural resources, bio-diversity, wetlands, forests and wild life for the present and future citizens”.
The Wildlife (Preservations) Order, 1973 was promulgated by the Government of Bangladesh which was further enacted as the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) Act, 1973. Subsequently in order to provide safety and conservation of forest, wildlife and biodiversity the National Parliament has enacted another Act in 2012 i.e., the Wildlife (Preservation and Security) Act, 2012 which has repealed the earlier enactment. At present this legislation is acting as the apex legal document for conservation of wildlife and biodiversity in Bangladesh.
Though all legislations are commonly based on the sovereign decisions made at national levels, States are also bound by the provisions of the world treaties to which they are parties and hence should base their legislations on the provisions of these treaties. The enactment, implementation and enforcement of legislations on the cross-border movement of wildlife animals are performed by the national bodies of individual States. Likewise in Bangladesh, though few areas are protected under the existing laws, a large portion of its wildlife is currently under serious threat.