Wild boar menace: Centre feels allowing farmers to shoot animals might do 'more harm than good'

New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: Virtually rejecting the Kerala government's request, the Union Environment Ministry has raised concerns about the proposal for declaring wild boar as a vermin on the grounds that allowing citizens to shoot the animal without any control might cause more harm than good.

Against the backdrop of instances of wild boars wrecking havoc in villages bordering forests in the state and impacting the livelihood of farmers, Kerala has sought permission from the Centre to declare such animals as 'vermins'. Such a move will automatically give powers to people to shoot the animals, subject to certain conditions.

The matter was discussed by Kerala Forest Minister A K Saseendran and Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav during their meeting in the national capital on Monday.

Addressing the media after the meeting, Saseendran said the Union minister promised to consider emergency measures that can be taken to deal with the menace.

"The farming community wants permission to shoot the wild animals, especially wild boars, and for that, wild boars have to be declared as vermins, "the state minister said, adding that concerns have been raised by the Union government in this regard.

"This was informed to the central minister... giving permission to citizens to shoot the animals without any control might most of the times do more harm than good. That is the main concern which has come up," Saseendran told reporters in New Delhi.

According to him, the farming community in Kerala has urged the government to categorise wild boars as vermin as their livelihood has been affected due to the destruction of crops by the animals, whose numbers have gone up steeply.

In July, the Kerala High Court permitted the killing of wild boars in agricultural land of a few farmers as the steps taken by the state government to curb the menace had not yielded any results.

Saseendran lamented that incidents of incursion of wild animals, including elephants, into human settlements and towns were reported in many parts of the southern state and no scientific solutions were in place to prevent such incidents.

Yadav is expected to visit Kerala towards the end of this month or in the first week of December. During the visit, Saseendran said there will be discussions to find a permanent solution for the menace.

During his meeting, Saseendran also submitted a memorandum to the central minister, seeking Rs 670 crore assistance for determining borders of forests in the state and creating a proper habitat in the forests for wild animals to prevent their incursion into villages and towns in search of prey and water. (PTI)

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