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Bihar shoots dead 13 rouge antelopes

State permits farmers to shoot down animals damaging their crops

Gulf News

Patna: As many as 13 blue bulls which are the largest Asian antelopes were shot dead in Bihar after they were found causing extensive damage to crops in the farmland. This was the first time in the state that blue bulls were killed with official permission.

The blue bulls, locally known as Nilgai (boselaphus tragocamelus) were killed in Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s home district of Nalanda in the weekend. The culling of the animals which are often seen in farmland or scrub forest followed a formal permission granted by the state government last month to kill the blue bulls to check the crop damage caused by them.

The permission for culling of Nilgais were given to farmers who have licenced guns was granted at a meeting of Bihar State wildlife Board chaired by the chief minister. The government also announced to compensate the farmers for cartridges used to shoot them down and for money spent on burial of the dead animals.

Wildlife officials said the farmers from Silao block in central Bihar’s Nalanda district were quite much disturbed over the continued damage of crops by the rampaging crops and they finally approached them for help. Officials said although they had the permission to target the animals, they were unable to kill them since the blue bulls run very fast, and also they move in groups which include calves whose culling is totally banned.

Eventually, the wildlife officials hired an expert S. Ali Khan from southern Indian city of Hyderabad to shoot down the animals and it was then that their culling finally took place.

“A total of 13 blue bulls were killed with the help of an expert,” Chief Wildlife Warden, Bihar D.K. Shukla told the Gulf News over phone on Tuesday adding the Nilgai menace had become a major headache for farmers in the state.

Another wildlife official said they had to resort to selective slaughter of animals to check the blue bulls’ terror but he described it as a “painless killing”. “The animals get killed even before they fall down on the ground,” said the official adding the expert hit them at certain points like between their eyes, between eyes and ears, brain or hearts.

Last year, the Patna High Court had asked the Centre to shift some 25,000 blue bulls from Bihar’s 15 districts to forest reserves. Such was the menace that the chief minister was flooded with requests from aggrieved farmers to kill the animals during his recent tour to the state in the rural hinterland. Their fast-increasing population has become a major headache for farmers in Bihar although the Nilagai menace is mostly centred in some five districts, including Bhojpur, Rohtas and Gaya and Nalanada.