Living in denial
TheUnionenvironmentministryrefusestodeclare monkeysasvermin THE MINISTRY of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) issued a notification in December, 2014, seeking opinion from states on the menace caused by nilgais or blue bulls and wild boars. Following the directions from the MoEF&CC, Uttarakhand declared certain species of nilgai and wild boar as vermin. Although both the animal species are protected under schedules 2 and 3 of the Wild Life Protection Act, state governments can now allow culling of these animals. The notification says that in some cases, the animals can be also be moved from schedule 2 to schedule 5 of the Wild Life Protection Act, which includes rats, crows and rabbits that are usually considered pests. According to forest officials, the difference between vermin and nuisance is that vermin animals can be killed by anybody, while nuisance animals can only be killed by the state forest department. The environment ministry in March 2014 rejected a proposal by the Himachal Pradesh government to declare monkeys vermin. The ministry, instead, asked the state to scientifically identify the areas where monkeys were wreaking havoc.