Wildlife crimes rise by 100% in a year in Kerala (Kochi)
TC Sreemol, Times of India
November 22, 2021
Wildlife-related crimes have increased dramatically in the state and there
has been a 100% rise in the number of cases registered in 2020 compared to
the previous year.
According to data obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the
state registered 303 cases in 2020 as against 151 in 2019 and 61 in 2018.
As many as 156 cases were recorded in the state in 2021 till August 26 this
Most cases pertained to poaching of endangered animals and reptiles,
hunting for meat and illegal trading and possession of horns, tusks, nails,
and teeth. Removing tusks or nails and collecting meat from animals that
died naturally is also an offence.
More than 80% of the total cases registered each year are in connection
with poaching of wild animals other than wild boars that cause extensive
damage to standing crops.
Besides wild boars, sambar deer, spotted deer, porcupines, monitor lizards,
pythons, civets and turtles are among those that fall prey to poaching.
Occasionally, elephants, leopard, tigers and wild gaurs are also hunted
down, say the data.
“Since movements were restricted during the Covid period, people living
adjacent to forests got more opportunities to engage in poaching. Poachers
have also improved their intelligence gathering. The presence of wild
animals also increased in the fringe areas, leading to the rise in poaching
incidents,” said a member of a flying squad of the forest department.
People also lay electric wires to electrocute the animals, besides using
Besides killing the animals, depriving them of food is also an offence, as
the data show. Among the registered cases, two are in connection with
freeing chickens from the mouth of a python forcefully.
“For freeing the prey, people might have used force on the python.
Moreover, they deprived the python of its food. Even chasing an animal or
bird away from its natural habitat is an offence,” said the officer.
Felling branches where protected species make nests will also land people
in trouble. A case has been registered in Ranni range for destroying the
nest of a cormorant, by felling the branches of a tree. The species is
placed in schedule 4 of the protected act.
Another case pertains to the death of a Hawksbill turtle that was caught in
a fishing hook in Pathanapuram range under Punalur
Despite the surge in poaching, the forest department is yet to conduct a
study about the impact of it on wildlife and ecology.