Goa to declare certain species as vermin

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Panaji, March 18 (IANS) Goa Environment and Forest minister Rajendra Arlekar on Friday said that the process to identify animals and birds which damage farm crops has begun and it was the first step towards officially declaring certain species as vermin.

Arlekar announced this during the ongoing monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly, even as leader of opposition Pratapsing Rane of the Congress demanded that since wild boars were “profuse breeders” and extensively damaged crops they should be declared vermin and culled.

“Declaring an animal as vermin is not easy. Data needs to be collected about which animal is vermin… There is a data collection procedure. A process has been started by the (Goa) forest department about which animals were harming crops,” Arlekar said.

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The minister said this involves vetting the data by the State Wildlife Board which in turn will then be recommended to the central government.

A team of the ministry of Environment and Forests will then be dispatched to the state and if they agreed permission to declare specific birds and animals as vermin can be given for a specified time and area, he added.

Earlier, Rane, while conceding that he used to hunt wild boars, also demanded that wild boars should be declared as vermin because they cause tremendous damage to agriculture, horticulture and floriculture crops.

“I had killed some of them at a time when there was no law. Nowadays no one shoots them,” Rane said.

“I grow flowers at Sanquelim and send them to Delhi and Bengaluru. The wild boars attack the farm and eat the bulbs of the plants. Some people have quit farming because of the wild boar menace. In Maharashtra and Kerala wild boar is already declared a vermin,” Rane said.

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In February, Goa’s agriculture minister Ramesh Tawadkar had said that a process was on to declare peacocks, bisons, wild boars and some species of monkeys as vermin or nuisance animals because they were damaging farm crops and horticulture.

Public pressure forced Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to issue a retraction on the issue of declaring peacocks and bisons as vermin.

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