Hyderabad: In its efforts to curtail poaching and smuggling of forest produce, the Telangana State forest department will be deploying sniffer dog squad in forest areas. The dog squad would be deployed for first time in the state to curb the wildlife crime.
The department has sent two of its personnel to the National Training Centre for Dogs (NTDC), BSF Academy in Tekanpur Gwalior. “The two persons are being trained at the academy in handling the sniffer dogs. After the training is completed, they will be deployed in the forest after assessing the need,” Mr Munindra, additional principal chief conservator of forest (Admin).
The forest departments in a few southern states already have a dog squad. After deploying the squad, the officials admitted that they were able to curb poaching and smuggling of the forest produce. The Telangana forest department will be getting a German shepherd which is a tracker dog, and a Labrador whic is a sniffer dog.
“Depending on the performance, we will be deploying more dog squads in the forest in the state to curb wildlife crime,” the official said.
The dogs are trained to sniff out items, including sandalwood, elephant tusk, tiger and leopard skin, bones and meat of wild animals hidden in secret places in the forest. Apart from this, it will also be used to track down the path of tigers and other wild animals straying into human habitats.
Forest department officials said that the dog squad would go out for patrolling with the beat officials in identified sensitive areas, where regular poaching of animals and smuggling of forest produce is reported in large scale.
According to the officials, the dog squad is being deplo-yed with the support of TRAFFIC – an NGO working for protection of wildlife.
Dr Saket Badola, Head of TRAFFIC’s India office said, “The response to TRAFFIC’s wildlife sniffer dog training programme in India has been overwhelming and this is reflected through the numerous requests received for training from across India.”