De-listing of wild pigs may deny farmers crop-loss compensation

Notifying wild pigs as vermin may deprive the farmers crop-loss compensation caused by the species besides relieving the Kerala government of the financial burden of providing damages.

Wild pigs account for around 60% of the crop loss in the State. Once notified, compensation claims for crop loss or loss of human life by wild pigs may not be entertained. The notification will also take away the restrictions on its hunting and consumption of meat, according to the officials.

The Kerala Forest Department officials expect the Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change to notify the species as vermin on its application shortly.

Kerala had distributed around ₹5 crore as crop-loss compensation in 971 applications in 2020-2021 against the ₹3.53 crore of 2019-20. In 2018-19, ₹4.6 crore was disbursed, according to a reply submitted by the Forest Department to a question in Parliament.

Currently, the species is listed in the Schedule 3 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The notification will see wild pigs being bracketed along with Common crow, Fruit bats, Mice, and Rats in the Schedule 5 of the Act.

The State had been repeatedly canvassing for including the species in the Schedule 5 of the Act. Farmers too had been demanding the de-listing of the species, which would help them to eliminate it while entering farmlands.

Even if notified, killing of the species in forest areas and wildlife habitats could lead to legal complications, as the entry into forest and protected areas is restricted. There are also apprehensions that the lifting of the restrictions on its killing could lead to the hunting of other animals too, which is a culpable offence, says a senior Forest official.

The campaign to cull the species, which began in June, has resulted in the killing of 354 pigs by the gunners employed by the department, says Bennichan Thomas, the Chief Wildlife Warden, Kerala.

The shooters of Eastern Circle killed 201 pigs, followed by Southern Circle (95), Northern Circle (44), Central Circle (8), and the High Range Circle (6). The elimination will continue in the coming days, says Mr. Thomas.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 6:43:27 PM |

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