Kerala

Maneka objects to govt. decision on wild boar culling

Animal rights activist and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Maneka Gandhi has slammed the State government’s decision to empower panchayats to cull wild boars. She cautioned against the far-reaching consequences the move would have on the ecology and public life in general.

However, Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran staunchly defended the move and criticised the Centre for rejecting the State’s repeated demands to declare the species as vermin and for propagating misleading claims in the issue. The decision has been made in the face of the Union government’s apathy towards the woes of large sections of people who resided in forest fringes, he said.

In her letter to Mr. Saseendran, Ms. Gandhi said the decision could result in a massacre of wild boars not just in panchayats and agricultural lands, but also in the forests.

On their relevance

Stressing the ecological relevance of wild boars, she said the species was the only one that consumed bracken, an undergrowth that prevents seedlings from growing by blocking sunlight in forests. Besides, its trait of constantly scratching on the floor aids forestation by clearing the ground for fresh growth. “No forest can survive without it,” Ms. Gandhi stated.

The MP also raised caution against the possibility of big cats wandering outside forests in search of food in the absence of wild boars. She recounted an instance in Chandrapur in Maharashtra when a Forest Minister’s order led to the culling of 200 wild boars within a week. He had to rescind the order after 60 tigers moved into the villages and four were found dead on a railway track.

Ms. Gandhi alleged that demand to cull wild boars was made by hunters and others who stood to gain monetarily through poaching and not by agriculturists, forest officers or wildlife experts.

Minister’s stance

In a statement, Mr. Saseendran said the government’s decision was made in accordance with the Wildlife (Protection) Act. It is aimed at finding a permanent solution to the problems faced by farmers and other inhabitants who resided in forest fringes. The government has not granted permission to hunt the animals inside forests, he said.

He also instructed the Principal Secretary, Forests, to furnish a formal reply to Ms. Gandhi to explain the rationale behind the government’s decision.


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 11:31:25 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/maneka-objects-to-govt-decision-on-wild-boar-culling/article65463947.ece