Cull orders on wild boars
Mir Ayoob Ali Khan, TNN, Aug 16, 2010, 01.44am IST
HYDERABAD: Buckling under pressure from farmer lobbies, the chief wildlife warden (CWW) has authorized divisional forest officers (DFOs) to kill the wild boar, a commonly found animal in the wild that is accused of destroying crops.
The permission granted last week is perhaps the first of its kind in AP for culling a wild animal. The order issued by CWW also says that the DFOs could assign the job of culling wild boars to hunters and others. Though the CWW has put certain conditions for the killing of the animal, wildlife experts believe that since the authorization is for the entire state and transferable to hunters, the possibility of its misuse becomes huge.
A wild boar which belongs to the Suidae biological family, that also includes domestic pigs, is known for rampaging agricultural and horticultural crops. In some cases, the animal has also attacked and killed humans. The nocturnal animal roves in groups of about 20 and with its pair of sharp extended canines could dig up ground to extract tubers and roots. It mostly eats nuts, berries, carrion, refuse, insects, small reptiles, etc. The districts of Chittoor, Anantapur, Kurnool, Adilabad, Mahbubnagar, East Godavari and West Godavari are affected by wild boar forays. Farmers have been killing wild boars by setting up snares and fencing of fields by live electrical wires.
According to sources, reports of crop damage by wild boars first came from Chittoor, the home district of minister for forest and environment Ramchandra Reddy, about six months ago. It was claimed that the wild boars have eaten away nearly two third of the groundnut seedlings in the district. The Chittoor district DFO was given permission to deal suitably to what was termed as wild boar menace. Soon after, the CWW was told that the problem is not restricted to Chittoor alone and he should therefore include the entire state in his order. Faced with an unprecedented situation, CWW Hitesh Malhotra reportedly sought direction from the government which quickly responded that since the problem is widespread he should give orders to all his field officers to cull the animal.
According to wildlife experts, the order should not have been so sweeping in nature. The government should have asked the department to deal with the wild boar problem on a case-by-case basis. There are certain districts from where no complaint of wild boar attack has been reported. Though the CWW has struck a few notes of caution in his orders such as the presence of a range officer during the culling of the animal by hunters, declaring the dead animal property of the government and burying the body three feet under the ground, experts believe that such guidelines are not practical. The DFO would not be able to spare a range officer (RO) on every wild boar hunting expedition and even if the RO is assigned the job he would not be able to keep a tab on the hunters. The hunters could be killing many animals but claiming that they have hunted only a few of them.
Experts believe that the permission would lead to massacre of wild boars. However, defending the decision a forest department officer said that it has been given only on an experimental basis. The forest department would review the situation next year and decide the future course of action. But it is anybody's guess how many wild boars will be gone for ever till then.
Read more: The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...#ixzz0wsKmyQuU