West Bengal’s attempt to use contraceptives on elephants ‘regressive’: SC
The Supreme Court has restrained West Bengal from taking steps to administer “any kind of contraceptives” or methods of sterilisation to curb the rising elephant population in the state.
A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Vikramjit Sen said the government’s attempt is “regressive, absolutely impermissible and also condemnable”.
The West Bengal forest department is mulling over the use of immuno-contraceptive drugs on female elephants, a method successfully used in South Africa to curb pachyderm population.
State Forest Minister Binay Krishna Barman had told The Hindu on Monday that the government was in talks with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) regarding administration of PZP (Porcine zona pellucida) vaccine, which can prevent pregnancy in elephants for about a year.
“If everything goes fine, the technique can be used on 100 female elephants,” Mr. Barman had said, adding that the elephant population in both north Bengal and south Bengal was on the rise and resulting in man-animal conflict.
“The State of West Bengal has decided to introduce contraceptives so that the elephants do not procreate and consequently the accidents of the present nature are avoided. If it is so, it is absolutely impermissible and also condemnable,” Justice Misra observed. The Bench directed Avijit Bhattacharjee, counsel for West Bengal, to take instructions and file an affidavit of the competent authority in this issue.