The Bihar government has hired 13 professional shooters to kill wild boars and ‘ghodparas’ or nilgais to save crops, a forest official said on Tuesday.
Animal lovers have opposed the move and demanded that the government find a long term solution to the problem and not allow the killing of the animals. The state environment, forest and climate change department has sent the list of the professional shooters to the authorities concerned in all 38 districts in the state to use their services wherever required.
Districts where these two animal species are found in large numbers include Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sitamarhi, Bhojpur, Sheohar and West Champaran, he said. There is no record of the number of nilgais or wild biars in the state. “These two animal species move in herds and destroy acres of crops in a day. Farmers sit out all night to protect their ripening crops from them in some Bihar districts. Both ghodparas (nilgais) and wild boar are vermins and can be killed, but according to laid down procedures,” P K Gupta, Bihar Chief Wildlife Warden, told PTI.
Efforts should be made to kill only full grown animals and the shooters have been instructed to follow norms while carrying out culling operations, he said.
Gupta said besides damaging crops, nilgais also cause road accidents. ”Human lives have been lost due to man-animal conflict, along with loss of crops and valuable property”.
The role of mukhiyas (village heads) is important in the operation beginning from the killing of the animals to their burial. All village heads will have to engage the professional shooters to kill the two specie with utmost caution as and when required, Gupta said.
“As per the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the mukhiyas have been appointed as the nodal authority to identify and allow killing of these two specie with the help of professional shooters outside the protected area. The mukhiya concerned can allow the killing by hired shooters on the basis of complaints received from farmers of his/her respective area in coordination with the officials of the environment and forest departments,” he said. Explaining the procedure, Gupta said the state government will provide a specific amount to the village heads for cartridges that will be used for killing nilgais and wild boars and Rs 700 for the burial of the animals.
“A mukhiya will issue hunting permits to shooters only after proper verification of the complaints of farmers of his or her respective area. The village heads will have to submit a monthly report of permissions and animals hunted of their respective areas to the competent authority,” the chief wildlife warden said.
Reacting to the government move, the managing director for Humane Society International (HSI), India, Alokparna Sengupta, said the killing of any animal must be condemned. HSI works round the globe to promote human-animal bond. ”The state government should try to find out a long term solution and not allow the killing of these two species in this way. It is a fact that several state governments have already allowed killing of the two animals but the problem of crop damage by them still persists,” Sengupta added.