Not to utilize services of private shooters for tranquillisation/shoot problem animals.

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With the increase in deforestation and encroachment of forests, fragmentation of forests, a declining prey base, trespassing (to collect forest products or cattle grazing etc) human-animal conflict is bound to rise.

As a society, we failed to give free space to animals. On the contrary, we are snatching what belongs to them. When the conflict animal is a big cat such as a tiger or a leopard, the magnitude of the problem is huge owing to the lack of tolerance by local villagers on seeing mutilated bodies of their kin which gets compounded with the local political aspirations and lack of awareness. Herbivores such as antelopes and deer, too face the wrath for crop depredation, and are tagged as vermin and culled.

The forest department is vested with the rights to tranquilize or shoot and kill the problematic animals but the increasing dependency of state forest departments on private shooter is the cause for concern. Government itself has some very experienced sharp shooters, but the forest department is leaning in favour of private game and trigger-happy shooters, who have their own share of controversies.

Such cases are on the rise in Maharashtra, where services of a private shooters, have been sought too often by the state forest department. Earlier all such acts of putting down the animal or tranquillising it were being carried out by sharp-shooters from Government Departments.

The instances that have warranted such change are incomprehensible. These private shooters have various cases against them, ranging from running illegal resorts (sealed after SC order) to allegations of supplying arms to Maoists.

Even if the PCCF has the authority to award such orders to a private player, under section 11 of the Wildlife (protection) Act 1972, possession and administration of tranquillising agents by a layman is prohibited under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, NDPS Act and Indian Veterinary Council Act-1984; section 30-b.

NTCA/PCCF should intervene/ employ government sharpshooters for killing wild animals than employing private shooters and trigger-happy private individuals. This act of employing private shooters not only tarnishes the image of the department (loss of reputation and trust) for colluding with such elements but also paints a bad picture not only among local animal lovers, but also in international media.

Citing above reasons, your office is requested to revise the policy for larger interest of wild animals and make it mandatory to use services of Government officers from Police / Army/ Veterinarians to carry out tranquillisation or elimination orders.