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Tell forest guard Shatrughan you care, send a postcard today!

Shatrughan Lal, Forest Guard, Dudhwa Tiger Reserve
“I must have seen a tiger in the wild at least 40 times, but every time I am awestruck by its beauty.”
For 25 years, the forests of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve have been Forester Shatrughan Lal’s home, and the wildlife has been his family. Watching wildlife around him every day, he has learnt to understand their language, read their expressions, guess their next move,and appreciate the laws of the jungle. Working to protect innocent wild animals is the only job he has ever considered.

Encounters with poachers

On several occasions, Shatrughan and his team have come face to face with a gang of poachers lurking around in the forest. Trained over years to handle such situations through ambush or open fire, many of these encounters have resulted in arrests. One particular memory he has is of an encounter in the forest late into the night. Shatrughan and his team were on their routine patrol, armed with .315 bore rifles and lathis, when they heard a gunshot deep inside the forest. They quickly contacted other patrolling teams on their walkie-talkies, and after confirming none of them had fired the shot, they concluded it must be a gang of poachers. They got ready for an ambush and hid behind bushes and trees, waiting for the poachers to approach them. Just when the poachers were a few metres away, the team pounced on the gang, and after a long chase and a few warning shots, they arrested them.

Poachers are not all we worry about

While their primary purpose is to protect tigers and other wildlife, often they have to protect themselves from the wild animals. Some of these sudden encounters with animals can turn out to be fatal, but Shatrughan has a pleasant memory to share. A few years ago, his team was stationed at night at a construction site of a forest bridge inside Dudhwa, guarding the raw material and keeping vigil in the area. They lit up a fire to stay warm and keep away wildlife, and took turns to keep watch while the others caught short naps. Shatrughan remembers waking up suddenly that night to a loud grunting noise, and was horrified to see a full grown sloth bear sitting amongst his team enjoying the campfire! Using his presence of mind, he poked the fire to create sparks which scared the bear away.

Looking back at his years in service, he smiles fondly at all the wonderful memories and adventures of such encounters, and feels determined to serve another 25 years, if life gives him that chance.
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The rangers have limited access to the internet, so a postcard is preferred over an e-card. Thank you.

Buy or make a card and mail it to:

Shatrughan Lal
c/o WWF-India
172 B, Lodhi Estate,
New Delhi- 110003