Wild boars have become a major threat to crops as well as people residing even in villages situated far away from the forests in Pathanamthitta.
A rapid increase in wildlife population and the pressure on the fringe areas due to the cultivation of crops along the forest borders have been identified as two major factors leading to the frequent straying of wild animals into human habitation.
The trend of wild animals straying into human habitations along the forest fringes is particularly high in the months leading to summer when the water sources in the forests dry up in the scorching heat.
Wild boars destroying crops in villages situated far away from the forests like Naranganam, Kadammanitta, Kattoor, Cheukol, Ayroor, Kozhencherry, Thumpamon and even in Adoor has become common in recent times, says T.R. Balagopalan Nair, Janakeeya Kashaka Samrakshana Samiti (JKSS) president.
Mr. Nair says there are also farmers who have stopped cultivation due to the threat of wild boars attacking their farmlands. The hapless peasants fear wild boar attack on their crops any time, he says.
The Samiti organized a march to the Divisional Forest Office in Konni recently, demanding effective steps to protect their crops from the ever-growing boar menace. The farmers have also urged the government to pay them adequate compensation for crop losses.
Though the State had permitted shooting down of crop-raiding wild boars way back in 2011, stipulations fixed for killing the animal stand as a hindrance, says Mr. Nair. The norm that the crop-raiding boars should be shot down only after obtaining permission from the Forest Department is grossly impractical, he feels.
The farmers also voiced similar concerns. They feel the authorities still consider wild boars as part of wildlife and hint at action against those who attack the animal.
Meanwhile, the Forest Department has declared the crop-raiding wild boars harmful animals and the Government Order has been subsequently modified giving permission to the Divisional Forest Officers and Wildlife Wardens to kill such boars.
Experts are of the view that raiding of crops by wild boars is an adaptation trait shown by the animal in the wake of its natural habitat and food base shrinking progressively.
According to them, the wild animals are forced to stray into human habitations owing to changes taking place in the forest ecosystem fuelled by climate change and excessive human intervention.