A directive of the Kerala State Human Rights Commission that the government permit killing of crop-raiding wild boars has come as a shock to conservationists and wildlife authorities.
Commission chairperson J.B. Koshy issued the order on a petition from N. Devarajan of Koduman. He said it was impractical for farmers to seek the permission of the Forest Department to shoot or trap wild boars when they ravaged crops at night.
Mr. Koshy suggested that the farmers should be allowed to kill the animals found in non-forest areas by gunfire or other means.
Meat of the boar killed after obtaining permission from the authorities shall be allowed to be consumed, the directive said.
The commission sought details of compensation paid to the farmers following crop raids by wild boars and the number of animals killed after obtaining the permission from the Forest Department.
The panel also asked the Forest and other departments to file its views on the directives before July 10.
Forest officials feared that the order would lead to indiscriminate hunting and open the trade of wildlife meat.
Wild boar was an important link in the food cycle of carnivores. Indiscriminate killing of the species could lead to dwindling of its population and upset the food chain, which would lead to ecological imbalances, a senior official said.
The department would oppose the directives, as they are against the spirit of the Wildlife Protection Act and the fundamental duties of the citizen, as prescribed in the Constitution.
A wildlife researcher raised concern that the order may eventually be extended to other crop-raiding animals. There was a possibility of other animals being hunted and its meat consumed under the cover of the panel directive.
It would be an uphill task to identify the animal killed from the meat samples, as one may have to go for DNA analysis every time, said the researcher involved in detection of wildlife crimes.
The assumption on population increase of the species without carrying out population estimation would be unscientific and faulty, he cautioned.