GOODBYE SUPER SNIFFER RANA: TRAFFIC AND WWF-INDIA MOURN THE DEMISE OF AN ACE WILDLIFE SNIFFER DOG
As a young German Shepherd dog, Rana joined the forces at Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka, in June 2015. He and his two handlers Prakash Somaning Honnakore and Kalaklakar Mage, completed their training under TRAFFICs and WWF-India's pioneering wildlife sniffer dog training programme organised at the 23rd battalion of special armed force, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
During his service, Rana assisted in solving at least eight tiger-related cases, over 45 leopard-related cases, and several wood theft cases, including the recovery of Red Sanders.
In 2020, the Honorable Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, Shri Prakash Javadekar, also lauded the excellent efforts of wildlife sniffer dog Rana in investigating the tiger poaching case of Nagarhole Tiger Reserve.
Dr P. Ramesh Kumar, Director, Bandipur National Park said, "Rana's contribution in operation to capture the man-eating tiger prowling for eight months in Gudalur, which falls within the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu, will always be remembered. Due to his efficiency in solving the most difficult of wildlife crime cases, Rana was perceived as a nightmare by poachers and wildlife smugglers. The forest department will truly miss him".
Rana's handler Kala Kalkar Mage added, "Rana was my mission partner and a family to me. Losing him feels like a personal loss".
Dr Merwyn Fernandes, Coordinator, TRAFFIC India, said, "Rana was a skilful wildlife sniffer dog and a flag bearer of our wildlife sniffer dog training programme in India. His life and its mission is an adept example of the role of a wildlife sniffer dog in detecting and curbing wildlife crime. TRAFFIC and WWF-India mourn his demise and will always remember his contribution towards wildlife protection".
As a show of respect and to acknowledge the contribution of Rana, Karnataka Forest Department had organised a funeral with complete state honour for the most loved canine member of their force.