Centre to weigh demand to declare wild boar vermin

The Centre has reportedly put on temporary hold Kerala’s demand to declare wild boar as vermin.

On Monday, Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran met Union Minister for Environment and Forests Bhupendra Yadav in New Delhi to push Kerala’s case to proclaim wild boars as destructive and invasive species.

Mr. Saseendran said the Centre had sought more time to examine the legality of the demand and whether it contravened existing forest laws. The Centre had promised to consider the State’s request sympathetically.

The State Government had come under intense pressure from farmers to eradicate wild boars to save crops and mitigate increasing human-wildlife conflict. It had also appraised the Centre about the threat the fast propagating species posed to the ecosystem.

Wild boar population has abounded in recent years, and marauding sounders of feral pigs have drastically expanded their range, attacking humans, and raiding farmlands.

The State Government also told the Centre that wild boars could carry zoonotic diseases. The species was elusive and nocturnal, making trapping or corralling them highly challenging.

Wild pigs had made farming almost impossible in large swathes of arable land abutting forests and patches of wildernesses. Farmers were against the Forest Department for not doing enough to curb the menace.

The State Government had permitted farmers with licensed firearms to destroy wild boars trespassing into farmlands and population centres under the supervision of forest officials. However, the hunters should render the carcass inedible by pouring kerosene and burying it in the presence of wildlife enforcers.

Mr. Saseendran presented a ₹620-crore scheme for mitigating human-wildlife conflict. The proposal included solar fencing and moats to deter wildlife. He sought 60% Central assistance for the scheme. The Centre had agreed in principle to the proposal but said allocation of funds would depend on the fiscal situation.

The State also told the Centre that a massive drive was under way to rid forests of invasive flora. It had felled large swathes of acacia and eucalyptus plantations and supplanted them with endemic wildlife-friendly fruit trees. Moreover, the Forest Department had also created artificial water sources for wild animals during the dry season. A survey was on to fix forest boundaries.

Principal Secretary, Forests, Rajesh Kumar Sinha, Chief Wildlife Warden P.K. Kesavan, were present.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 5:32:47 PM |

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