Workshops for Forest Staff to Strengthen Monitoring, Tackle Wildlife Crime in Madhya Pradesh

Posted on 11 May 2016
The ongoing camera trap exercise in the Balaghat district, Madhya Pradesh
© WWF-India
Jabalpur/Mandla, Madhya Pradesh: In the face of a sudden spate in tiger deaths in Madhya Pradesh recently, a day-long workshop on ‘Forensic Sample Collection and Examination’ was held at the Centre for Wildlife Forensics and Health (CWFH) campus, Jabalpar, on 20 April 2016.

Conducted by WWF-India in partnership with CWFH and Nanaji Deshmukh Veterinary Science University, the workshop aimed at strengthening wildlife monitoring efforts in Tiger Reserves and forest conservancies across the state.

Thirty forest officials -- including Range Officers (ROs) and Deputy Range Officers from the Shahdol, Seoni, Sheopur, Indore, Bhopal, Sagar, Gwalior, Mandla, Jabalpur, Chatarpur, Ujjain, Vidisha, Khandwa, Rewa and Balaghat Territorial Divisions; and Pench and Sanjay- Dubri Tiger Reserves -- attended the training. Topics like forensic sample packaging and delivery, species identification, early diagnosis of diseases, organ identification and carcass examination, were discussed. The training was headed by Dr. A.B. Shrivastav, Director of CWFH.
On 5-6 March 2016, WWF-India along with the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department Organized another workshop aimed at helping forest officials upgrade their skills in surveillance, crime detection and prevention of offences, at the Khatia Eco-centre, Kanha Tiger Reserve.
Titled ‘Use of Modern Techniques in Wildlife Crime Investigation’, the workshop offered training to mid level forest officials on use of modern techniques to investigate wildlife crime. ROs and Assistant Conservators of Forests from Kanha, Pench, Panna, Satpuda, Sanjay-Dubri and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserves and Balaghat, Seoni and Jabalpur Territorial Forest Divisions participated in the workshop.

The sessions were conducted by well-known experts from the legal and digital intelligence fields, including Advocate Kartik Shukul, Special Counsel for the Maharashtra State Forest Department; Mr.Varun Kapoor, Additional Deputy General-Narcotics-Indore; Mr.Sudeep Goenka, Superintendent of Police, Indore; Ms.Pratibha Ahirwar, Sub-Divisional Officer, Maheshwar; and Mr.Rajnish Singh, Assistant Director, Kanha Tiger Reserve. It included discussions on the Indian Evidence Act, digital intelligence and search techniques, Electronic Evidence Analysis, Call Data Records Analysis and dynamic wildlife trade in non-Protected Areas. A session on understanding the Pardhis, the hunting community of Central India was also held.

Besides increasing the knowledge and capacity of the staff, the training was driven by other objectives – to create an interactive atmosphere for information and knowledge exchange between forest officials and to develop and maintain technological advancement in crime investigation.

Camera trap training

To build capacity of the forest staff in wildlife monitoring, two workshops on use of camera trap were also held in the Mohgaon Project Division (Corporation), a Madhya Pradesh Forest Development Corporation (MPFDC) area in Mandla, on 17 and 18 February 2016. The workshops were organised by WWF-India in partnership with the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department.

The first training was conducted in Pandiwara and was attended by 32 forest staff including Range Forest Officers, forest guards, beat guards from Nainpur, Chiraidongri, Bamhni and Anjaniya Ranges. The second training was held in Devridadaron, and attended by 20 forest staff from Chabi, Kanchan Gaon and Harra Ranges.

The participants received training on the process of installing camera traps, its history, importance and various uses of the data derived. Topics like use of camera traps to establish cattle kill information etc, were discussed.

WWF-India is currently working on setting up camera traps in Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh, a globally recognised Tx2 site, where conservation measures are underway to increase wild tiger numbers by 2022.

For further information,contact:
Soumen Dey, team leader, Satpuda-Maikal Landscape, WWF-India: 
Nitya Kaushik, Sr. Communications Manager, Species and Landscapes, WWF-India:
The ongoing camera trap exercise in the Balaghat district, Madhya Pradesh
© WWF-India Enlarge
WWF-India honours forest guards at the forensic workshop
© WWF-India Enlarge
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