Karnataka's Wildlife Bill amendment faces heat from experts (Bengaluru)

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Tue, Nov 22, 2022 8:22 PM

Karnataka's Wildlife Bill amendment faces heat from experts (Bengaluru)
Bosky Khanna, The New Indian Express
November 22, 2022

Experts and conservation organisations have opposed the central government
proposal to amend the Wildlife Protection Bill, 2022, with to stop
man-elephant conflict and poaching of elephants.

The amendment, which is listed to be discussed in the upcoming winter
session of the Rajya Sabha, has come under fire with experts informing the
members in a letter that it will be create a special exception for transfer
of ownership, for religious or other purposes, adding that it might lead to
capture and hunting of wild elephants.

“This is a regressive step. Transfer of captive elephants as mentioned in
the proviso is usually done through donating or gifting, which have always
been, in most cases, an euphemism for commercial sale. Allowing transfer
under section 43(2) is tantamount to a wildlife crime,” said Suparna Baksi
Ganguly, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, Karnataka, who is one
of the 13 signatories of the letter.The signatories have stated that any
new amendment must continue with the existing policy of phasing out private
captivity and commercial use of elephants.

“Elephants are the only wild animals allowed to be owned through an
exception in section 40 of the WPA, contrary to the tenets of the Wildlife
Act and Constitution,” the letter stated.

A senior forest department official, on condition of anonymity, said that
although it is permitted to keep elephants in private spaces, it must stop
as cases of cruelty are being regularly reported.

Jumbo Task Force Will Monitor Hassan, C'Magaluru, Mysuru, Kodagu
Bengaluru: In the wake of increasing man-elephant conflict in four
districts, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting with officials
and announced the formation of an elephant task force. Soon after the
meeting, Bommai signed the orders for the formation of committees. He said
the elephant task force, headed by the deputy conservator of forests, will
be set up in Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Mysuru and Kodagu districts, where
cases are high. He said the task force should swing into action with
immediate effect and work under instructions of the respective chief
conservator of forests of the circles concerned.

The job of the task force involves patrolling jumbo-infested areas,
monitoring elephant movement in human habitations, agricultural fields and
coffee estates, and driving them back into the forests. The committees must
also share information about the movement of wild elephants, and create
awareness among the people not to move in forest areas.  The forest
department must also set up control rooms in the headquarters of every task
force, and share the contact number with citizens.

The task force members must be provided walkie-talkies, guns and crackers
to drive wild jumbos back into forests. The head of the forest force must
deploy range forest officers, assistant conservator of forests and forest
guards in each district task force. Three jeeps must be provided to each
district elephant task force to reach the jumbo-infested areas immediately.
Besides, vehicles must be taken on rent and handed over to the task force.
Police help must be sought at the time of driving back the wild jumbos into
forests.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/nov/22/karnatakas-wildlife-bill-amendment-faces-heat-from-experts-2520760.html

Karnataka's Wildlife Bill amendment faces heat from experts (Bengaluru) Bosky Khanna, The New Indian Express November 22, 2022 Experts and conservation organisations have opposed the central government proposal to amend the Wildlife Protection Bill, 2022, with to stop man-elephant conflict and poaching of elephants. The amendment, which is listed to be discussed in the upcoming winter session of the Rajya Sabha, has come under fire with experts informing the members in a letter that it will be create a special exception for transfer of ownership, for religious or other purposes, adding that it might lead to capture and hunting of wild elephants. “This is a regressive step. Transfer of captive elephants as mentioned in the proviso is usually done through donating or gifting, which have always been, in most cases, an euphemism for commercial sale. Allowing transfer under section 43(2) is tantamount to a wildlife crime,” said Suparna Baksi Ganguly, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, Karnataka, who is one of the 13 signatories of the letter.The signatories have stated that any new amendment must continue with the existing policy of phasing out private captivity and commercial use of elephants. “Elephants are the only wild animals allowed to be owned through an exception in section 40 of the WPA, contrary to the tenets of the Wildlife Act and Constitution,” the letter stated. A senior forest department official, on condition of anonymity, said that although it is permitted to keep elephants in private spaces, it must stop as cases of cruelty are being regularly reported. Jumbo Task Force Will Monitor Hassan, C'Magaluru, Mysuru, Kodagu Bengaluru: In the wake of increasing man-elephant conflict in four districts, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting with officials and announced the formation of an elephant task force. Soon after the meeting, Bommai signed the orders for the formation of committees. He said the elephant task force, headed by the deputy conservator of forests, will be set up in Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Mysuru and Kodagu districts, where cases are high. He said the task force should swing into action with immediate effect and work under instructions of the respective chief conservator of forests of the circles concerned. The job of the task force involves patrolling jumbo-infested areas, monitoring elephant movement in human habitations, agricultural fields and coffee estates, and driving them back into the forests. The committees must also share information about the movement of wild elephants, and create awareness among the people not to move in forest areas. The forest department must also set up control rooms in the headquarters of every task force, and share the contact number with citizens. The task force members must be provided walkie-talkies, guns and crackers to drive wild jumbos back into forests. The head of the forest force must deploy range forest officers, assistant conservator of forests and forest guards in each district task force. Three jeeps must be provided to each district elephant task force to reach the jumbo-infested areas immediately. Besides, vehicles must be taken on rent and handed over to the task force. Police help must be sought at the time of driving back the wild jumbos into forests. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/nov/22/karnatakas-wildlife-bill-amendment-faces-heat-from-experts-2520760.html