In a significant decision, the Kerala government has empowered local bodies to cull wild boars that pose a threat to agriculture crops or human life.
Announcing the decision here on Wednesday, Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran said the Cabinet had decided to appoint the chairpersons of local bodies as honorary wildlife wardens after the Central government turned down a suggestion by the State to declare wild boars as vermin. The secretaries of the local bodies concerned will act as the delegated officers.
“Section 11-B (1) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 provides powers to the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) to issue special orders to kill wild animals, if the officer is satisfied that a particular animal has become dangerous to human life or property. Using this legal provision, we are giving special powers to all the local bodies to take appropriate decision with regard to managing the menace posed by wild boars,” the Minister said.
The new decision, applicable across all municipalities and panchayats in the State, stipulates culling of the animal using a licensed shooter or by entrapment. At the same time, the ban on killing the animal using other methods such as snarls, electrocution or poisoning will continue.
The carcass of the culled animal should be disposed of through scientific burial and the Forest department should be duly communicated about the killing. The decision will be reviewed periodically to ensure strict compliance to the guidelines and also to bring in suitable amends.
According to the Minister, over 2,600 wild boars have so far been killed based on orders issued by the CWW. It, however, has done little to allay the concerns of the farmers.
“Crop raids by wild boars have become so widespread that it has left several farmers in debt traps. The local body councils are in a better position to identify the locations that face threats from wild boars and if the situation warrants hunting,” he said, while acknowledging that wild boars were just one among the problematic animals.
Over the years, the wild boar menace has increased manifold across the State. With the Forest department not issuing permissions promptly, farmers have been desperately looking for government intervention. As these animals continued to stray into forest fringe areas, farmers desperate to protect their crops have been laying live electric wires, snares and traps, which also led to human causalities at times.