New Delhi, Jul 18: The Environment Ministry had issued notifications declaring three wildlife species as vermin in five states on their request, the government said today.
"Section 62 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act empowers the central government to issue notifications declaring any wild animal, other than those specified in Schedule I and Part II of Schedule II, as vermin for any specified area and a specified period by including the species in Schedule V of the Act.
"The Ministry has issued notifications under this provision of the Act based on the request of states," Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha. Bihar had sought a notification declaring Nilgai and wild pigs as vermin in 31 districts and 10 districts, respectively.
Uttarakhand had asked for a notification for wild pigs in 13 districts, he said. Himachal Pradesh had sought a notification for Rhesus Macaque in 10 districts, Gujarat for Nilgai in 19 districts and Maharashtra for Nilgai in one district, and wild pigs in four districts.
The notifications are not applicable to forest areas of the respective states and only cover selected areas outside forests.
They are valid for one year from the date of their publication, he said. "The notifications do not prohibit enforcement of any law related to welfare of animals. As such, the existing animal welfare laws continue to be in force," the minister said in reply to another question.
Dave said that representations were received from several organisations pursuant to the Ministry's notifications declaring Nilgai, wild pig and Rhesus Macaque as vermin in specified areas of these states. Recently, Union ministers Maneka Gandhi and Prakash Javadekar had locked horns over culling of animals with the former saying there was "lust" for killing in the Environment Ministry.
Javadekar, who held the post of the Minister for Environment and Forests before the Cabinet reshuffle, had defended animal culling, insisting it is done on the request of states to protect crops. Animal rights bodies had also expressed "shock" over the Environment Ministry's stand, saying such killings will not help mitigate human-animal conflict.