Animal rights activists worry as Kerala allows local bodies to kill wild boars

The Kerala government’s decision to empower local bodies to kill wild boars has raised concerns among animal rights activists.

On Wednesday, the state cabinet opted to empower local bodies to kill wild boars that damage crops and property and threaten human lives. The cabinet made its decision after considering intense demand from farmers, as well as those living near forested areas across the state, citing vandalism caused by wild boars.

According to an official statement, gram panchayat presidents, municipal presidents and mayors of corporations would be appointed honorary wildlife wardens, and secretaries of local bodies would be appointed authorized officers of the chief wildlife warden. Although local agencies have the power, they are not allowed to kill boars using poison, explosives or electrocution.

Also Read: Electric boar trap kills two cops in Kerala

However, not everyone is happy with the Cabinet’s decision. Former Kerala Animal Welfare Board member MN Jayachandran said the decision was unscientific and could be challenged in court. Jayachandran also alleged that political leaders made the decision to please the vote banks.

He also said that while the increase in wild boar population was the reason given for holding local bodies accountable, there was no proper data or studies to establish this claim. He also said authorities were not taking measures to prevent human-wildlife conflicts in forest areas, such as ensuring water availability.

The Federation of Indian Animal Welfare Organizations also opposed the move. The decision comes as the Center has rejected repeated requests from the Kerala government to declare the boars vermin and to ease the procedure for killing wild boars.

There have been several incidents in Kerala where farmers have attempted to kill wild boars using illegal methods such as food containing explosives, traps and electric fences. Recently, three people, including two police officers, were killed after being trapped in one of these electric traps.

Strongly condemning the decision, FIAPO CEO Bharati Ramachandran said it would lead to the indiscriminate culling of the species and threaten other predators that feed on wild boar. The government should take measures such as creating sufficiently large buffer zones between forest areas and agricultural lands and digging well-filled water holes deep in the forests, he said.

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