SC seeks response on MP’s plea against vermin killings

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The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to states like Bihar and Himachal Pradesh on a plea against permitting vermin killings there to stop damage to standing crops, saying ways have to found to control the “human-animal” conflict.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, in a hearing conducted through video conferencing, took note of the submission of senior advocate Siddharth Luthra that a large number of wild animals like ‘neelgai’ (blue bulls) have been permitted to be killed to save the crops.

“We need a solution. No solution lies only in saying that don’t kill them. Look at it in terms of the solution. We are tagging this matter alongwith elephant matter of Kerala where it was killed by pineapple stuffed with crackers,” said the bench which also comprised Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

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The bench was hearing a plea of a BJD MP Anubhav Mohanty seeking measures to prevent killing of wild animals in the country.

Not killing animals and allowing destruction of crops is not a solution, the court observed, adding that the ways have to found to control “animal-human conflict” without either killing the vermin or allowing damage of the crops.

Luthra said the expansion of human population into the territories of wild animals was one of the reasons of the problem.

There are rubber bullets which can be used instead of culling or killing of such animals, the bench said and asked the counsel to suggest measures to deal with the issue.

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Mohanty, a Lok Sabha MP from Kendrapara constituency, has sought direction to prevent the practice of encouraging and rewarding wild animal killings here.

The plea said states like Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala have incentivised killing of wild animals like ‘Neelgai’.

It sought “proactive, constructive and a scientific” way forward to mitigate human, wildlife conflict instead of encouraging citizens of the country to kills such wild animals.

Earlier, the Centre had approved the culling of wild animals such as nilgai and wild boar in Bihar and rhesus monkey in Himachal Pradesh by declaring them ‘vermin’, under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, in December 2015, following requests from the respective states as they cause harm to the resident population and standing crops.

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