Chief Wildlife Wardens can declare wild boars vermin; no need to amend wildlife law: Union minister

PTI | Wayanad | Updated: 22-02-2024 18:30 IST | Created: 22-02-2024 18:30 IST
Chief Wildlife Wardens can declare wild boars vermin; no need to amend wildlife law: Union minister
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Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav on Thursday said that Chief Wildlife Wardens (CWW) are empowered under the the Wildlife Protection Act to declare wild boars as vermin, and therefore the law does not need to be amended.

The minister also emphasised that the CWWs have the power under the Act to permit trapping, capture and killing of problematic animals, but urged the state to use this power ''diligently and cautiously''.

The union minister's statement assumes significance as the Kerala assembly recently passed a resolution seeking to get the wildlife protection law amended to prevent human-animal conflict in the state.

One of the suggested amendments in the resolution was to declare or classify as vermin wild boars that come out of the forests and multiply in human-inhabited areas.

Yadav, while speaking to the media after a meeting with the local administration and forest officials here, said, ''No amendment is required. Under section 11 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, enough powers have been vested with the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state.

''So, the power is already there. Under that power, he can issue permission to trap, capture or kill any problematic animal. I urge the government of Kerala that they diligently and cautiously use this power to protect the farming community and their crops.'' Later in a post on social media platform X, he blamed the Kerala government and the local representatives of Wayanad and adjoining regions for allegedly ignoring the escalating human-animal conflict in the district.

''This is rather unfortunate and has led to people losing lives. We request the state to be prompt in its response so that lives can be saved and wildlife can flourish,'' the minister said on X.

His statement comes in the wake of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who represents the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, visiting the homes of the persons who died in the animal attacks.

The Wayanad district administration, in a statement, said that in the meeting the MLAs demanded a permanent solution to the wildlife attacks here.

They demanded that steps be taken to provide state-of-the-art equipment to the forest caretakers, relax provisions of forest laws and appoint high-level officials in the district, the statement said.

Besides that, they also demanded that families living inside wildlife sanctuaries be rehabilitated and concessions be given to the state to include cutting of undergrowth and trench construction works in the employment guarantee scheme, it said.

Union Minister Yadav, told the press after his meeting that the central government has enhanced the compensation for human casualties in animal attacks to Rs 10 lakh from Rs 5 lakh.

He said that the payment is to be made by the state government which is provided the required funding based upon the Annual Plan of Operation (APO) raised by it.

''The payment has to be done by the state government. They should do it immediately and in a transparent manner,'' he said.

Yadav requested the state government to create a suitable mechanism and protocol for payment of the compensation in a transparent manner.

''Whenever the state government raises the APO, we give them the money. The state government has to pay the compensation and raise the APO,'' he further said.

The union minister also said that Centre has sanctioned Rs 15.82 crore during the financial year 2023-24 under various schemes to the state of Kerala.

''Based on the demand/Annual Plan of Operations proposed by the state government, the Centre will consider funding support under CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) and other schemes for site-specific elephant proof walls and other mitigation measures,'' he said.

He also said that the Centre, through the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), will assist in preparing corridor management plans in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, for the smooth movement of elephant herds in the region.

Besides the human-animal conflict, the minister also spoke about capacity building in the eco-tourism sector of the district, saying it will help create employment opportunities in the area.

Yadav arrived in Kerala's Wayanad district on Wednesday evening following the rise in animal attacks here.

He visited the families of the three men who died in animal attacks in this mountainous district of Kerala and assured them of all possible help to put their lives back on track.

Two persons, Ajeesh and Paul, were trampled to death by two different wild elephants this month, and another person, Prajeesh, was killed by a tiger in December 2023.

A state ministerial delegation had visited Wayanad on Tuesday on the directions of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed remedial proposals during a meeting attended by the local people's representatives and officials.

Prior to that, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had visited the family members of those killed in the recent animal attacks.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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