28 July, 2021

The Amazon and Aarey, Nilgai And Nero

Is a nilgai on a Delhi street an illegal immigrant? Or are we not asking the right questions of science and ethics before enforcing our will on wild animals?

Not A Forest Species
Calling a nilgai a pest for being outside the forest is like calling out a fly for flying
Photograph by Neha Sinha
The Amazon and Aarey, Nilgai And Nero

It was nearly four years ago—on December 1, 2015—that the central government put out the notification. “Overpopulation of nilgai and wild pig in areas outside forests” was causing damage, it said. Thus, the state deemed it necessary to “balance local populations of these species to mitigate damage to human life, crops and other properties”. So, nilgai and wild pig were declared vermin for a year. This meant they could be killed—by hunting or other means. Rather nonchalantly, the notification also added that this was being done for “ensuring conservation of wildlife in the forests”. Four years later, Bihar has extended its hunting efforts, putting out another culling order in January this year.

And in September, a video emerged that shocked the nation. In the video, we see a large male nilgai standing near a dug-up pit near some fields, calling out pitifully. It has been injured and shot at, though this is not immediately obvious. On cue, a large mechanised crane arm appears in the frame. The arm pushes the nilgai into...

Latest Magazine

August 02, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section