Uttarakhand seeks fresh permit to hunt wild boars as farmers cry crop damage
The wild boar population in the state increased from 32,613 in 2005 to 34,914 in 2008. Although no census was carried out after that, it is estimated that the number of wild boars has now risen to over 50,000.dehradun Updated: May 15, 2017 21:03 IST
The Uttarakhand forest department has asked the central government to allow hunting of wild boars in the state till 2020, so crops in agricultural lands adjoining forested areas can be safeguarded.
Although the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) had previously permitted this by relegating wild beasts to the “vermin” status, the deadline expired in February. It is necessary to shift the species from Schedule III to Schedule V of the Wildlife Protection Act-1972 for the required permission to be granted. This was last done on February 3, 2016.
According to the forest department, the wild boar population increased from 32,613 in 2005 to 34,914 in 2008. Although no census was carried out after that, it is estimated that the number of wild boars has now risen to over 50,000.
The forest department had submitted a proposal for extension of the hunting permission in January, a month before the expiry date, but they received no response from the MoEFCC. However, state officials continue to push the matter, this time demanding that hunting of wild boars be permitted for three years instead of just one.
“We have sought permission for at least three years, so the nuisance can be eliminated,” chief wildlife warden Digvijay Singh Khati told Hindustan Times.
Officials said farmers are forced to watch helplessly as packs of wild boars run amok in their fields. The animals damage over 200 sq km of farmland annually, causing an average revenue loss of Rs 1 crore.
“Only somebody proficient in hunting can take down a wild boar. The animal is too quick to catch,” said wildlife expert Abhishekh Kumar.
Vidyadutt Sharma, a resident of Sangura village in Pauri district, said wild boars have turned out to be a major menace in his area. “The beasts damage what little we manage to cultivate. The issue is – who will hunt down the animal even if they grant the required permission? We only have elderly men and women here,” he added.
Last July, animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi filed a petition in the Nainital high court against the state government declaring the wild boar as vermin without conducting a census. The court then asked both the central and state governments to clarify their stand on the matter.