Wild boar menace: Centre asks forest dept about low kills
On February 3 last year, the MoEFCC had declared wild boar as a ‘vermin’ in all 13 districts (71 of 79 sub-divisions) of Uttarakhand following a request of the forest department. For this purpose, the ministry had put the wild boar - a protected species under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act - in Schedule V for a one-year period ending in February 2017.Updated: Aug 29, 2017 20:41 IST
DEHRADUN: Declared vermin for a year, wild boars apparently gave a tough time to the forest department which culled less than two dozen in the period. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has now asked the forest department about the reasons for the poor results.
On February 3 last year, the MoEFCC had declared wild boar as a ‘vermin’ in all 13 districts (71 of 79 sub-divisions) of Uttarakhand following a request of the forest department. For this purpose, the ministry had put the wild boar - a protected species under Schedule III of the Wildlife (Protection) Act - in Schedule V for a one-year period ending in February 2017.
In 2015, the then forest minister Dinesh Aggarwal announced to pay for bullets used to kill wild boars outside reserve areas. The Uttarakhand government doles out at least Rs 1 crore annually as compensation to farmers whose crops, especially tubers, are ravaged by wild boars.
Recently, the forest department urged the Centre to permit hunting of wild boars till 2020 for safeguarding crops in agricultural lands adjoining forest areas. But the ministry put the proposal for extending the vermin status on hold till the department submits replies and gives logical reasons for the poor tally.
Within 12 month, the department recorded only 22 kills across the state - a very low number as compared to the destruction caused by wild boars. The old census of 2008 put the wild boar population at nearly 35,000, which is estimated to have gone over 50,000. Interestingly, the forest department doesn’t have a data backed by scientific methods on the population of wild boars.
“Certainly, the number is very less as compared to the thriving population of wild boars. But, we discussed our stance before the Centre, stating that it’s tricky to kill a wild boar and locals generally lack that expertise,” chief wildlife warden Digvijay Singh Khati told Hindustan Times.
In such a situation, the farmers of villages in Pauri, Tehri, Almora, Nainital districts are left helpless while packs of wild boars run amok in their fields. “We have stopped farming now because of the fear of wild boars. They damage our fields and cannot be easily caught,” Pushpesh Rana, a resident of Pauri, said.
“Wild boars are notorious and difficult to trap. Only trained shooters can kill them,” a forest staff concurred.
First Published: Aug 29, 2017 20:41 IST