Neelgai Cull – Does India have any alternative to it?

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Blue Bull in Sariska Tiger Reserve

“For the first time, a massacre of this scale has been allowed. The Environment Ministry is writing to all states asking for a list of animals whose killing should be sanctioned, and promising to allow that,” said Ms Menka Gandhi. The statement was carried out by one of the promising media house NDTV on 9th June 2016 in light of around 250 Neelgai (or Blue Bull) been slaughtered within last 3 days in Bihar state of India.

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Blue Bull in Sariska Tiger Reserve

Whilst, India being blessed as one of the richest country in terms of Biodiversity and wilderness, it is well observed that somehow it has become a “curse in disguise” for the entire country. Due to uncontrolled population rise and illegal forest grabbing in India, wildlife is seen to be suffering the most and very few, really do understand their plight. Hence, the best way to mitigate the man-animal conflict, India’s Environment and Forest Ministry has found, is cull. To stop the so called Neelgai entering farms (just because we have encroached most of their habitat) is to slaughter them up, which is arguably the best possible solution to the menace.

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Nilgai Skull in Sultanpur

Just while this decision was taken, the major challenge to pursue this is the religious angle, which this member of deer family carries. The religious angle is associated to this mammal (fortunately or unfortunately) by its name “Neelgai”. In India, the name “Gai” is attributed to Cow, which is unarguably the holiest animal for Hindus. Due to the fact, that name of this mammal has Gai as suffix, (as this mammal resemble more as Cow rather than deer) carries sentiments and bars the slaughter. Apart from this, Forest Ministry also agreed to consider the mammal into “vermin” category so that the menace could be easily justified.

Even to this situation, a lame solution evaporated, and that was to change the mammals’ name and eliminate the (Gai) suffix. Though, this was the funniest ever solution to this situation, it was believed that people would then accept the decision whole-heartedly. Despite the idea seem to be childish, but it worked. Around 200 blue bulls were slaughtered within a span of 3 days, and was recorded as the first bloodbath in Indian history.

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Nilgai wandering within dense grasses of Sultanpur

Whilst, this bloodshed was getting criticised from all over the world, Madhya Pradesh State ministry held back the menace decision, and adopted a surprise. The national newspaper, The Times of India quoted, “In Bihar, around 250 nilgai were killed after the government gave the permission. Here, we decided to adopt the Boma technique,” said Ujjain chief conservator of forests BS Annigeri. 9 Nilgai (4 male, 3 female, 2 fawns) were captured the first day, and the numbers went up to 27. The catch and relocation of the mammal to nearest forest was successful, which did cost 1.7lac INR at an average for each head. Despite the Boma technique being the costly resort, Madhya Pradesh forest department adopted it over shooting these innocent animals. We need to understand, if money is more important than an animal’s life? Madhya Pradesh has set an eye opening example, full of wisdom, in front of all other states of India and MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forest) as well.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kalyan Choudhury
Here, I come forward to be another set of eye for you to explore, India. I go from crowd to corners, urban to wild, and from easy accessible to extreme, to get something different, something exciting, extreme wild, that's what makes me a wildlife photographer, perhaps a story teller.
Kalyan Choudhury

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