Vermin Current Affairs - 2019
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The government of Himachal Pradesh has made an announcement regarding the announcement of Monkey as Vermin for the period of one year in 11 districts of the state. Monkeys were declared as vermin in 38 tehsils and sub-tehsils of 10 districts in Himachal Pradesh. The period of this notification was extended for one year on December 20, 2017.
The state government had urged the centre to declare Monkeys as vermin because the animals have been adversely affecting crops and causing harm to humans.
What does the designation of Vermin mean?
Vermin refers to pests or nuisance animals which spread diseases or destroy crops or livestock. In India Section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 empowers the states to send a list of wild animals to the Centre requesting it to declare them vermin for selective slaughter.
The Central Government through notification may declare any wild animal other than those specified in Schedule I and part 11 of Schedule H of the law to be vermin for any area for a given period of time.
For the period the notification is in force such wild animal shall be included in Schedule V of the law, depriving them of any protection under that law.
Declaration of Vermin provides a reprieve for those who kill these animals in the specified areas for a year after these notifications, from the jail terms and fines that hunting these animals typically invite.
The hunted wildlife is declared as government property and it imposes restrictions on how these carcasses must be disposed of.
It is criticised that once the animals are slotted as vermin they become an easy game for hunters as well as traders in meat.
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has declared Wild Pig (sus scrofa) as vermin in Uttarakhand for a year.
In this regard, MoEFCC has used its powers enshrined to it by section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972. For this purpose, ministry has shifted protected wild pig (listed in schedule III to the Act) in the vermin category to Schedule V of the Act for period of 1 year.
Earlier, Uttarakhand forest department had forwarded proposal to the MoEFCC to declare both wild pig and Neel Gai (blue bull) vermin. In its proposal, authorities had mentioned that due to overpopulation of these animals in the areas outside the forest, they have created havoc by harming life and property including large scale destruction of agriculture produce.
Note: MoEFCC has rejected forest department’s proposal to declare Neel Gai (blue bull) vermin.
What does it mean?
- This decision will allow state forest authorities and people to carry out an extermination (hunting/poaching) of wild pigs outside the reserve forest on a large scale.
- To do so, they will no longer require permission from the forest or wildlife officials and thus their actions cannot attract penal provisions of the WPA.
- It will seek to balance local population of the wild pigs to mitigate the damage to human life, crops and other properties in the state for ensuring conservation of wildlife in forests.
What is Vermin?
- Vermin means wild mammals and birds which are harmful to crops, farm animals or which carry disease.
- In India, wild animals can be declared as vermin if they have become (i) dangerous to human life or property (including standing crops on any land). (ii) become disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery.
- Using these provisions, any animal listed in Schedule I to IV of WPA can be declared vermin by listing it in Schedule V for a specific period.
- Currently, some animals like the common crow, fruit bats, mice and rats have been listed as vermin in Schedule V of WPA.