Why in news?
The Ministry of Environment recently permitted states to declare earlier protected wild animal species as “vermin” under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, thereby allowing private shooters and others to kill these species with few safeguards and no risk of prosecution.
Which species were declared vermin?
- Nilgai in Bihar and Maharashtra
- Rhesus macaque in HP
- Wild pig in all States except Himachal Pradesh
Why these species were listed for culling?
- Human life loss
- Economic loss : Destroy standing crops
What is the legal mechanism?
- Wildlife laws divide species into ‘schedules’ ranked from I to V.
- Schedule I members are the best protected, in theory, with severe punishments meted out to those who hunt them.
- Wild boars, nilgai and rhesus monkeys are Schedule II and III members — also protected, but can be hunted under specific conditions.
- Crows and fruit bat fall in Schedule 5, the vermin category.
- Section 11(1)a of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) authorizes chief wildlife warden to permit hunting of any problem wild animal only if it cannot be captured, tranquillized or translocated.
- For wild animals in Schedule II, III or IV, chief wildlife warden or authorized officers can permit their hunting in a specified area if they have become dangerous to humans or property (including standing crops on any land).
- Section 62 of Act empowers Centre to declare wild animals other than Schedule I & II to be vermin for specified area and period.
Why culling is bad?
- No evidence that culling will solve the problem. HP has tried culling in 2007 and issue only increased
- Culling may lead to illegal hunting
- These animals might be killed for fur, meat etc. they are in demand
Why conflict has increased?
- Habitat loss: leading to man-animal conflict
- Fall in predator population: leading to increased population of these animals
- Draught: leading to animals coming out of their habitat