No more listing of wild animals as 'vermin'

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 10/23/2020 12:40:02 PM

NEW DELHI, Oct 22: As a sequel to a Supreme Court hearing, the Centre has asked the state governments not to apply for declaring the harmful wild animals as "vermin" (harmful to crops and farm animals) since it leads to their culling.
The Environment Ministry's wildlife panel National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), which has been declaring the wild animals as "vermins" on the applications by the state governments, has asked the states and the Union Territories to involve the Panchayati Raj institutions and locals more actively in dealing with the human-wildlife conflict. It even asked them to avoid forwarding proposals for declaring any wild animal as "vermin" and instead use the provisions contained in the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 for dealing with the problematic wild animals.
Its advisory comes in the wake of a petition filed in the Supreme Court by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Anubhav Mohanty in July, seeking its intervention against the brutal killing of the wild annimals, declared as "vermin" in different states. His contention is that such killings encourage poachers and the public to hunt for the animals.
Some states were even using "bomb baits" and "poison baits" that invariably lead to indiscriminate hunting of non-target animals succh as elephants, leopards, tigers and jackals, Mohanty alleged in his petition.
The petition came just a month after the Environment Ministry approved the Himachal Pradesh Government's proposal, fourth in a row since 2016, to declare rhesus macaque monkeys as "vermin," allowing them to be killed for preventing crop depredation, conflict with humans an loss of property.
Rhesus macaques, classified as being of "least concern" in the ICUN Red list, were declared "vermin" to enable the authorities to cull them.
In the past, the Centre has also given nod to such proposals from various states which deployed inhuman methods like snares, wire traps, explosives, bomb baits and poison baits to kill the animals in conflict. Biar, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala had even given financial incentives for killing Neelgai, wild board and Rhesus Macaque after they were declared vermin.
The 1972 Act referred by the NBWL had banned hunting of the wild animals. Its objective as well as the objective of the Article 48A of the Constitution are violated by allowing backdoor methods of slaughter of the wild animals through "vermin" declarations.



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