Wild boar shooting scenes should not be exposed in view of animal lovers. PCCF issued special guidelines
Telangana PCCF (HoFF) R Shobha has issued special guidelines stating that wild boar shooting scenes should not be exposed in the eyes of animal lovers. She appealed to the Sarpanch’s and forest officials not to hurt the minds of the wildlife lovers by exposing the scenes related to them even though the wild boars were shoot as per the government regulations.
Recently on 26.1.2021, the Government of Telangana have issued orders appointing the Gram Panchayat Sarpanches as Honorary Wildlife Warden under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The Chief Wildlife Warden based on authorization issued Government delegated her powers under the Act to the GP Sarpanches to permit culling of Wild Pigs damaging crops. Based on orders issued, culling operations have commenced in certain areas wherein the GP Sarpanches have requested the expert shooters from the panel prepared by Telangana Forest Department to take up shooting of Wild Pigs damaging Agricultural crops.
However, certain instances have come to the notice of the Forest Department, wherein the shooters after completing the operation have got themselves photographed with rifle in their hands standing behind the carcasses of the Wild Pigs killed. Such pictures on one hand give bad publicity to the culling operations, which are meant to help the farmers in saving their crops from predation by Wild Pigs and is disturbing to the animal lovers on the other hand. This practice of taking photographs with dead Wild Pigs is bad and undesirable for the following reasons:
Wild Pigs are scheduled animals and are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The Government have appointed the Gram Panchayat Sarpanches as Honorary Wildlife Warden under Section 4 (1) (bb) of WLPA, 1972 and authorized Chief Wildlife Warden to delegate his powers under Section 5 (b) to the GP Sarpanches to permit culling of Wild Pigs U/s 11 (1) (b) of WLPA, 1972.
This clearly shows that the Wild Pigs damaging standing Agriculture / Horticulture crops shall be permitted to be culled within the purview of WLPA, 1972 duly following the Government Orders and guidelines prescribed by Chief Wildlife Warden, Telangana.
Section 39 of WLPA, 1972 states that wild animal which is hunted under Section 11 shall be the property of the State Government. Even though permission is being given on case to case basis to cull Wild Pigs damaging crops, the species continues to be a scheduled animal protected under the Act. Hence, culling of Wild Pigs under the orders of the Government cannot be considered as trophy hunting.
Detailed instructions have been issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden to GP Sarpanches and Forest Officials for proper disposal of the carcasses. It is also mentioned that, no person shall use or consume any part of the Wild Pig killed as it is the property of State Government.
It is ethically binding on every citizen of India to treat every animal, wild or domestic, dead or alive with compassion and dignity as embedded in Article 51 A- (g) of the Constitution of India. Getting photograph with carcasses of Wild Pigs violates this principle and also goes against the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
The shooters come into picture at the invitation of the GP Sarpanch to cull Wild Pigs damaging crops in order to bring relief to the farmers. They are expected to take up the job responsibly as a voluntary service to the cause of farmers showing discipline, magnanimityand compassion during the culling operation.
Based on the above it can be construed that photography with dead animals is not only unethical and unwarranted, but also in poor taste. Publicizing such photographs may lead to resentment and anger among animal activists, nature lovers, general public and well minded people, which must be avoided at all costs. All the shooters in the panel, and officials involved in the process have been sensitized about this issue.