‘Save bisons, peacocks, but monkeys and wild boars are a menace’

Panaji, Feb 13 (IANS) Modern techniques should be used to keep peacocks and bisons away from farmland instead of culling them, but wild boars and monkeys are a menace and could be declared vermin, says Goa’s leader of opposition Pratapsingh Rane.

Speaking to IANS, the senior Congress leader also said that Goa should emulate Kenya, which has managed to sustain a bounty of wildlife alongside urban centres.

“Modern scientific methods should be used to keep peacocks and bisons from the fields instead of declaring them as vermin. Peacocks can be kept away from farms by getting equipment that makes a loud sound. It frightens the birds,” Rane said.

Rane, a former chief minister, however, said that wild boars and certain species of monkeys had become a menace and suggested that they could be declared as vermin.

“There was a time when wild boars could be killed. They are prolific breeders and there are too many of them. Certain kind of monkeys are also becoming a problem for farmers,” he said.

Rane’s comments come on the heels of a statement made by Goa’s Agriculture Minister Ramesh Tawadkar who said that a process was on to declare peacocks, bisons, wild boars and monkeys as vermin or nuisance animals.

“We have said in the last assembly (sitting) about monkeys and wild boars creating a nuisance for farmers and that a committee would be formed to assess and declare them as vermin,” Tawadkar said.

The peacock is India’s national bird and is a protected species under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

“Some farmers said that peacocks were damaging their crops in fields in hilly areas. The committee will also assess whether peacocks should be declared vermin or nuisance species,” Tawadkar said, adding that Goa’s state animal, the Great Indian bison, an animal protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, could also be classified as vermin.

Rane also said that Kenya had managed to successfully balance wild fauna and urban centres. “We should learn from Nairobi. They have fitted electric fences to separate farms from wildlife areas,” the Congress leader said.

Goa state Congress president Luizinho Faleiro has said that the move to classify peacocks and the Great Indian bison, also known as ‘gaur’, as vermin was suicidal.

“They are out to finish the state. I pray to God to give them sense to save Goa for our generations. When someone wants to kill the national bird and the state animal it is suicidal. They are out to kill environment, ecology, everything you have got,” Faleiro said.

During the winter session of the Goa legislative assembly last month, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had stated that wild boars, monkeys and other wild animals that disrupt agricultural and horticultural activity and destroy crops would soon be classified as vermin.

“Time has come to classify some of these animals as vermin. Monkeys and wild boar regularly destroy fields,” Parsekar said.

Rapid growth of urban areas and shrinking forest cover in Goa have left little space for wildlife, which often encroaches upon human habitat.

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