19 Nov 2021  |   04:43am IST

Compassion needed to end human-animal conflict

The Forest Department’s clearance to hunting and killing of the wild boar with prior permission will bring some relief to the farmers who had been seeking that the animal be declared vermin so that it could be killed without fear of any legal issues cropping up at a later state.
Compassion needed to end human-animal conflict

It’s been around a decade that farmers have been complaining of wild boars destroying their ripening crops in the field before it could be harvested. Farmers, five years ago, had also sought that the red faced monkey, langur monkey and porcupine be declared vermin. In July the government had acceded to the request of killing wild pigs. The clearance for hunting and shooting the animal, however, does not permit any individual to just pick up a gun and go into forest and shoot the wild boars. 

The farmer will have to write to the Forest Department for permission giving reasons for the action to be taken, after which there will be an inspection and if the situation warrants, then it will be recommended and the wildlife warden’s permission will be sought. Permission will be accorded for a specific period, site and will be non-transferable. The shooter will also have to ensure that no other animal or human is killed or injured and no property is destroyed or damaged and will be held responsible for any such incident. And if anybody thought that this could lead to the flesh of the wild boar being consumed, it can’t happen as the carcass will be government property and disposed of as per the procedure under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for schedule animals. No part of the removed wild animal like meat, skin, tushes, trophy will be consumed, possessed or displayed.

While the killing of the animals that are creating a nuisance to farmers may reduce the damage to the crops, Goa has to lead the way in India to finding more humane ways of getting rid of the human-animal conflict that is rapidly increasing. Mass culling or just killing of animals under controlled conditions cannot be the only answer to this problem. Animals straying into farms and foraging for food is a clear indication of the growing conflict, it is also a clear sign that the animal is not finding enough food in the wild, where it belongs. If, in some way it is humans who are responsible for animals straying into habitation, is killing the animal the answer?

Goa needs to consider taking a more compassionate look at this human-animal conflict and devising ways to contain it. The scientific management of wild animals, especially in relation to their increasing population and loss of habitat, must be devised. Farmers in an area in Kerala found a unique way to keep marauding elephants from straying into their farms and that was in breeding honey bees and having beehives strung along their farms. Elephants have stopped troubling the farmers and in addition, farmers have started harvesting honey. Beehive fencing is actually promoted as a natural means of keeping elephants out of farms and vegetation.

Where wild pigs are concerned, some years ago, a bioproduct had been tested in Vellore farms as a means to keep these animals out. The product was placed in bottles that were hung above the ground and the smell kept the wild boars out. Goa needs to devise some better means to contain the menace of wild animals straying into farms than killing them. Shooting the animals may be the easy answer, but it definitely not the best. A deeper study in Goa is required to find a more humane way of ending this conflict. In this day and age, we cannot go about killing animals just because they are a nuisance.


Idhar Udhar