The Wildlife (Protection) Act and Conservation Prioritization of Butterflies of the Western Ghats, Southwestern India
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Various schedules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (henceforth WPA), dictate the level of legal protection given to species of Indian animals. Shortcomings of the schedules of the WPA with respect to insects have been pointed out, but no solutions have been suggested. Here I have used butterflies of the Western Ghats as a case study, analysed their conservation values with multiple species attributes and then compared my findings with the species listed under the WPA. Analysis shows that a large proportion of species with high conservation values, many of them narrowly endemic and endangered, are not listed under the WPA, indicating the need to expand the listings. This methodology can be used to objectively assess conservation values of other animals and their inclusion in the WPA.