News from New Delhi

  Odisha set to face Bengal elephant ire
New Delhi, (ONS): With the environment ministry has declared

the elephants in West Bengal as “vermin” and kill the Gajraj for some time next, Odisha is set to face the ire of elephants from the neighboring state. Wild life experts feel that the state is going to see more and more elephants entering the state and the farmers in the districts like Mayurbhanj, Balasore and Keonjhar may see more problem in future.
  Currently, Odisha has nearly 2000 elephants in various forest divisions. However, Mayurbhanj division has the highest number which is around 500. According to experts, the elephants in Bengal usually travel to Odisha and last few years has seen increased infiltration of tuskers from Bengal to Odisha. With Government in killing spree, these animals might come to Odisha for a safer environment, they added.
  Earlier, the Environment Ministry has asked states which animal species they want to declare “vermin” and kill for a certain period of time in an attempt to address damage to crops and other conflict with humans. Permission has already been given for wild boar to be killed in Uttarakhand, Nilgai to be slaughtered in Bihar and monkeys to be murdered in Himachal Pradesh. But black bucks’ behavior is similar to that of nilgai. Will they be next on the kill list? Surely we can’t simply declare every species of animal “vermin”, but that’s precisely the slippery slope we will find ourselves on if we continue to go down the road of slaying wild animals. Goa even said it wants to classify India’s national bird, peacocks, as vermin making clear that no animal species is safe.
Acting on the proposal, the Union Environment Ministry in February 2016 had declared wild boars as vermin for a year. A schedule-III species, wild boars have been actively contributing to the man-animal conflicts in Uttarakhand. An enthusiastic Uttarakhand government recently announced to even pay for bullets for killing wild boars, but it forgot to identify the root cause behind the rise in population of wild boars and the reason that brings them in direct conflict with humans.
  The animals have been killed under an official scheme allowing Indian states to request certain species be declared “vermin” for a temporary period in order to bring their numbers down. It was introduced amid growing conflict between wild animals and human activity, especially agriculture, as India’s population rapidly expands and encroaches on natural habitats. Last week, professional hunters killed around 200 nilgai in Bihar state, in what Mrs Maneka Gandhi termed the “biggest-ever massacre”. Her remarks have triggered a war of words between the ministries over conservation efforts. (ONS)

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