BENGALURU: Wildlife activists have called for the withdrawal of the recent government order allowing killing of wild boars in Karnataka. They say this order will set a wrong precedent when the state is known for its conservation policies.
They further say this will facilitate indiscriminate hunting of wildlife and help both poachers and wildlife traders to carry on their trade in the guise of wild boar hunting.
On the other hand, forest officials claim that the notification on October 1 has come into existence due to concerted demands made by people’s representatives as they claimed wild boars were damaging crops in many districts.
The notification allows farmers to kill wild boars with licensed firearms only in the event of damage to crops. Captured boars should be handed over to the forest department and the animal should be killed in the presence of foresters and a mahajar.
Other conditions include: permission letter from the forest department for hunting; the meat of killed boars should not be eaten and it should be buried three feet below the ground or burnt; animals in prohibited areas cannot be killed and if they escape to forest areas, they should not be followed, and lastly, feeding mother boars cannot be killed.
Even as activists raise serious concerns, hunting of wild boars, a major prey of leopards and other carnivores, have been reported from Ramanagara, Mandya, Kodagu, Mysuru, Chikkamagaluru and other districts.
Wildlife activist Ashok Hallur said, “During October-November, four to five leopards were captured and relocated in Ramanagara as they were picking up goats, sheep and cattle. This is because of lack of prey. So, declaring wild boars as vermin and killing them is unfortunate.”
Activists say the proposal to take up the 2014 Central advisory and declare any wild animal as a vermin should be only for a limited period.
Indrajit Ghorpade, honorary wildlife warden, Koppal, added, “Was the due process of law followed and discussed with the Wildlife Board? Killing of wildlife is an extreme step and who asked for it? Any such order should be based on study, consultation, experts’ opinion and surveys.
“The period for which the notification is proposed should be specified. Even the area with clear boundary description should be marked. This order does not adhere to any guidelines and is impractical even if its the last resort.”
Calling it an unscientific order,G Veeresh, conservationist from Chikkamagaluru adds, “No time limit or hunting period has been specified. Work pressure on forest field staff will increase. Karnataka forest department does not have such a huge field staff. How can they go to the spot for each killing, dispose of the carcass and also do a mahajar?” This order will lead to indiscriminate hunting of wild animals by poachers, activists say. “This will be a boon to poachers and aid wildlife trading. How will the department monitor whether the poachers are hunting wild boars or tigers or leopards or elephants. Every illegal firearm will come out in the open now,” Veeresh adds.
The importance of wild boars
Boars are important prey animal for tigers, leopards, wolves, and other carnivorous animals. Their absence will disturb the ecological harmony resulting in food scarcity for carnivores and increase in man-animal conflict.
The central advisory says to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts outside protected areas, species like blue bulls and wild boars can be hunted when it threatens the life of humans and damages crops. This was done by putting these species in Schedule V of Wildlife Protection Act so that killing of these animals is out of purview of regulations.