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'Looking At This Matter With Anxiety': SC Mulls Over Alternative Solutions To Protect Crops Without Killing Wild Animals

Sanya Talwar
30 July 2020 10:39 AM GMT

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to States of Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, among others in a plea seeking action against the indiscriminate use of snares, traps etc to save standing crops from wildlife attack, which often leads to the death of animals.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun mulled over the issue of killing of wild animals and asked Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra who appeared for the petitioner - BJD MP Anubhav Mohanty, whether any alternatives to deal with the issue of wild animals that wander into fields where standing crops persist could be adopted instead of killing them brutally.

CJI: We are looking at this matter with anxiety. We want to know the extent of what forest authorities are doing. We need to preserve our crops, no doubt about that. A man-eating animal should be killed, there's no doubt about that. We need information about what Forest officials have done to tackle this. We want you to suggest actively what are the other options to scare away animals?

Luthra pointed out that encroachments of humans in areas where animals may have a natural habitat creates problems.

Bench also stated that a solution was required for dealing with the issue with a more humane approach.

CJI: "We need a solution. No solution lies only in saying don't kill them. Look at it terms of solution."

The bench then proceeded to tag the instant plea with a similar petition filed in the backdrop of a death of an elephant in Kerala, after it reportedly fell victim to a snare.

In his petition, Mohanty had averred that many State Governments have financially incentivised the killing of wild animals such as Nilgai, Rhesus Macaque and Wild Boars.

"The petition is in response to the death of several animals after use of heinous practices such snares, wire traps, explosives, bomb baits, poison baits etc. were reported and documented to destroy wild animals. The is a direct result of faulty and policies of the Central and State Governments. The petition specifically asks for directions against States which are rewarding and encouraging killing of wild animals which is leading to usage of "bomb baits" and "poison bait"

In a press note, the MP has highlighted the serious issue of man-animal conflict, bringing to the fore, the fact that currently there exist no guidelines for dealing with the same.

"Currently there are no proper guidelines in place for the purpose dealing with man-animal conflict. This has led to the emergence of haphazard, unscientific and excessive policies being exercised by Central and State Governments. This encourages poachers and public to hunt animals. Man – animal conflict is a serious issue and we must look at scientific methods such immunocontraception, community sensitization, creation of rapid response teams for coordinating and managing conflict to ensure our animals are not hunted" Mohanty said in the press note.

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