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Boar trading rampant in Kandhamal: Wildlife Protection Act just for the Namesake

"Although there is an Act for the protection of wildlife, most people in the villages in and around the forests of Kandhamal are into the practice of domesticating slaughtering and selling wild Boars for mutton."

Basudev Mahapatra (with inputs from Simanchal Pattnaik in Phulbani) : July 9, 2008

Recently, a man in Orissa was arrested for keeping a Bear in his house as confining a wild animal in a domestic set up is a violation of India’s wildlife protection act. And, this happened only when a local media carried the story. Was the police unaware of the incident before the story came on TV Channel? Even after knowing about the fact, did they properly investigated why and how the man brought the beer to his house and opted to keep the bear like a pet animal? It was only to avoid further stories by the media that police did nab the man and took him into custody. 

Here is another story of wild animals that are kept in house not as pets but as a business. The tribals of Kandhamal keep wild Boars in large numbers in their houses as any other domestic animals. And the irony is, knowing very well about the fact, neither the forest department nor the district police take any action to stop the illegal practice.

Kandhamal District is the district of forest that inhabits a variety of wildlife such as Tigers, Elephants, Beers and Boars. But, now, these wild animals have been vulnerable to human encroachment and many of the wild species are nearing extinction.

Although there is an Act for the protection of wildlife, most people in the villages in and around the forests of Kandhamal are into the practice of domesticating wild Boars. The villagers use to pick baby Boars from the forests and grow them along with the pigs or cattle for 6-7 years. Once grown up, the Boars are either slaughtered by the owner for mutton or are sold to outside people at a price of between 10 and 12,000 rupees each.

The practice of domesticating wild Boars is rampant in villages of Tikabali, Sudrukumpa, Phulbani, Karada, Chakapada Forest ranges. While visiting the places when we asked some villagers of Pasara in Tikabali, they said that most of the villagers of Pasara and nearby villages are into the practice. Their reply was rather an offensive one. They also admitted that the Boars are kept for five to six years in the home till the teeth grow and the wild pig turns violent. it's then only, the Boars are sold at a cost over 10 thousand rupees which is quite a good amount for the tribal people. Seeking anonymity, the villagers told that the potential takers are political leaders and high economy group people apart from few big hoteliers and outside traders.

Knowing that this practice is rampant in the district, the forest department is completely ineffective and maintains total silent about the issue. When asked about the rampant domestication and trading of wild Boars across the district, Kandhamal DFO Nimain Mohanty admitted the fact and told that that they have difficulties in differentiating domestic pigs and wild pigs when they are in baby stage.

However, taking adult Boars in daytime with the pigs and cattle for grazing is a normal practice among the villagers. If this is not visible to the forest department officials then they must not be visiting the places in daytime or they are not interested in executing the law meant for the protection of wild animals.

Even NGOs and wildlife activists of the district are well aware of the fact. Not only domesticating Boars but hunting Boars in the night is again almost a regular affair in the forests of Kandhamal and Boudh. Quite astonishingly, the activists never raise the issue to let the wild pigs live in the forests what they are destined to.

If the practice goes on, within few years Boar population of the District would come down to a marginal point nearing extinction.

So this is high time that urgent attention should be given to the particular issue of domesticating and trading of wild Boars which is a clean violation of the norms of wildlife protection Act. The forest department and the activists of the state must come forward to stop this heinous practice and save the Boar population in the forests of Kandhamal.

 

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