THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Senior BJP leader and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has come out against the state government decision empowering local bodies to kill wild boars that destroy crops. Terming it an ‘ecologically extremely dangerous’ decision, the BJP MP urged the government to reconsider the same.The former union minister said the government decision will result in a massacre of wild boars not only in panchayats and agricultural land but also in forests.
Forest Minister A K Saseendran, however, made it clear that the government will not go back from the decision. He also criticised the Union Government for rejecting Kerala’s demand to declare wild boar as vermin. In a letter to Saseendran, Maneka Gandhi pointed at major ecological consequences if the decision is implemented. “The wild boar is an extremely useful animal and no forest can survive without it,” she said adding it’s the only animal that eats bracken - an undergrowth that prevents seedlings in the forest from growing. “The constant scratching of wild boars on the floor clears the way for fresh growth,” she said.
Maneka said the decision could also lead to tigers wandering outside forests in the absence of wild boars. Referring to an instance in Maharashtra, she said a similar decision by a forest minister led to 60 tigers moving into villages within a month.
“No headcount of wild boars has been made. No forest officer who is experienced has demanded this, no wildlife expert has asked for this,” she said. Meanwhile Saseendran said the decision was taken as per the Wildlife Protection Act. The government took the decision to address the concerns of farmers. No decision has been made to hunt animals in forest, he said. The government will send a formal reply to Maneka Gandhi explaining the reasons that led to the government decision.