India doubles its strength of sniffer dogs for wildlife protection in 2015 | WWF India

India doubles its strength of sniffer dogs for wildlife protection in 2015

Posted on 20 June 2015   |  
© Shaleen Attre/TRAFFIC
Bhopal: With the passing out parade and a magnificent display of learnt skills by the 14 sniffer dogs and their 28 handlers today at the 23rd Battalion of Special Armed Reserve Forces, located at Bhopal in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India doubled its strength of wildlife sniffer dogs, by deploying these newly trained dogs to its wildlife protection and anti poaching squads across India.
 
A passing out parade was organized today at the Dog Training Centre in Bhopal by TRAFFIC and WWF-India to celebrate the successful completion of the training programme in presence of the chief guest for today’s programme, Mr. Narendra Kumar, IFS, PCCF and CWLW, Government of Madhya Pradesh and the guest of honour at the programme, Mr. K.N. Tiwari, IPS, ADGP, Special Armed Forces, Government of Madhya Pradesh and several other senior officials from the state of Madhya Pradesh and other states in India.
 
This ceremony was attended by all the seven states- Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Karnataka- which received their newly trained dogs today.
 
Mr. Narendra Kumar in his opening remarks congratulated TRAFFIC and WWF-India for their efforts in leading the sniffer dog programme in India. He emphasized the use of sniffer dogs as a highly effective tool for wildlife crime detection and prevention in India. He also congratulated the Dog Training Center in Bhopal for their continuous support for this programme. Mr. Kumar has been a supporter of sniffer dog’s programme for a long time and has taken keen interest in the activities performed by the sniffer dogs in detecting wildlife crimes in Madhya Pradesh.
 
Mr. K.N. Tiwari, said “Enforcement agencies across India have a long proven experience of using and handling sniffer dogs for crime prevention and detection. We are glad to see their emerging role in curbing wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade in India. We hope that many more state forest departments deploy sniffer dogs and use them in their wildlife law enforcement endeavors”. 
 
Dr Shekhar Kumar Niraj, Head of TRAFFIC in India said, “India has a huge forest cover and with only 25 trained sniffer dogs, pressure for protecting India’s wildlife remains immense on these four legged creatures. It is TRAFFIC’s vision that at least four to five dogs are deployed in each State in the next few years for boosting wildlife conservation and protection efforts.”
 
Mr. Ravi Singh, SG and CEO, WWF-India further added, “India’s wildlife is under grave danger from the ever increasing illegal wildlife trade. Poachers and traders are employing new tools and technologies to expand their illicit business and this is proving to be a major challenge for the forest department and other enforcement agencies. Use of sniffer dogs for wildlife crime prevention and detection has proved to be an effective tool and we are happy to be involved in this first of its kind programme in India”.
 
These 14 professionally trained dogs and their 28 handlers from seven Tiger bearing states of India have now joined 11 dogs and 22 handlers already trained and deployed across India under this programme, taking the total strength of TRAFFIC/WWF-India’s wildlife sniffer dogs to 25. This programme is conducted by the New Delhi based Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC), which functions in India as a WWF’s programme division dedicated to monitor illegal wildlife trade and to combat poaching. The programme is funded jointly by TRAFFIC and WWF-India promotes use modern tools and technologies in fighting wildlife crimes.
 
Starting in 2008, 13 sniffer dogs have already been trained and later deployed at key sites for detection and prevention of wildlife crime where they have been involved in more than 100 significant wildlife seizure cases in recent years. Jimmy, one of TRAFFIC’s sniffer dogs, was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the Governor of Madhya Pradesh in 2013 after the dog helped bust at least 25 wildlife poaching and smuggling cases.
Even though the dogs are  trained for sniffing out wildlife products such as Tiger and Leopard bones and skins, meat, bear bile, etc these sniffer dogs are also detecting other wildlife contraband such as ivory, deer meat, live bird species, Red Sand Boa, Blackbuck, hare, python, rat snake, porcupine and even weapons by self actualization and improvisation. They have been taking up huge roles in wildlife investigation and prosecution.
 
TRAFFIC acknowledges its on-going partnership with the Dog Training Centre of the 23rd Battalion Special Armed Force, Madhya Pradesh Police Department based in Bhopal, for their continuous support for strengthening wildlife protection across the country. Taking this opportunity, the organization also thanks the donors and supporters of sniffer dogs training programme from different regions of India and the world.
 
For more information and images, please contact Shekhar Kumar Niraj at 986817827 or Mohnish Kapoor at 9718043401. 
  1. TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network is a strategic alliance of WWF, the global conservation organization and IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. TRAFFIC currently works on wildlife trade issues in over 25 countries and territories, with ongoing research and activities in several others. In India, TRAFFIC functions as a division of WWF-India. TRAFFIC India works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature in India. For more information please visit www.trafficindia.org or www.traffic.org
  2. WWF-India is one of India’s leading conservation organizations with programmes and projects spread across the country. The organisation works towards the conservation of biodiversity, natural habitats and the reduction of humanity’s ecological footprint. The mission of WWF-India is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. For more information, please visit www.wwfindia.org
Illegal wildlife trade is widespread globally, and is probably fourth largest in value behind the illegal narcotics, arms trade and human trafficking. The  most commonly known products in illegal wildlife trade in India are: Mongoose hair, snakeskin, Rhino horn, Tiger and Leopard claws, bones, skins, whiskers, Elephant tusks, deer antlers, turtle shells, musk pods, bear bile, medicinal plants, timber and caged birds such as parakeets, mynas and munias.
© Shaleen Attre/TRAFFIC Enlarge
Sniffer dog
© Shaleen Attre/TRAFFIC Enlarge
© Shaleen Attre/TRAFFIC Enlarge

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