INDIA NEWS: Soon, 14 new sniffers to join India’s wildlife dog force

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INDIA NEWS:

The Super Sniffers will join the forest department force after a 7-month training course at BTC-ITBP camp in Panchkula, Haryana

Nagpur: India’s fight against wildlife crime got further boost when 14 young wildlife sniffer dogs, also known as ‘

Super Sniffers
, along with their 28 handlers will join the force after completing a seven-month-long training course in Haryana.
Since 2008, Maharashtra has received 10 sniffers and will get three more for Amravati, Gondia, and Pandharkawda forest divisions, two each will join Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, and Odisha forests, and one each will be for Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu forest departments. Two sniffers will be joining the Railway Protection Force (RPF).
The latest unit of wildlife sniffer dogs passed out from the Basic Training Centre Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (BTC-ITBP) camp in Panchkula (Haryana), and is the ninth batch to be trained since the launch of TRAFFIC and WWF India’s pioneering wildlife sniffer dog training programme in 2008. To date, 88 wildlife sniffer dog squads have been trained.
This programme was carefully designed to accommodate both basic obedience and detection skills specifically to combat the illegal wildlife trade. At the training center, dogs were taught how to spot tiger skin and leopard skin, elephant trunk, skin and antlers from spotted deer, and sambar.
The trainers used small-sized wildlife articles to accustom the dogs to find targets with low scent concentration in these complex environments.
TRAFFIC’s India office head Dr Saket Badola said, “The sniffer dogs trained under the programme are working relentlessly in tough terrains and have so far assisted the agencies in over 400 wildlife crime cases. The response from the forest departments to deploy and use ‘Super Sniffers’ to control wildlife crime has been overwhelming.”
Badola said, “Other agencies such as the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Customs are also interested in deploying wildlife sniffer dogs. We hope that in the coming years, wildlife sniffer dogs will be used by more enforcement agencies, who are mandated to protect and conserve India’s wildlife.”
The two dog squads will be deployed by the Southern and West Central regions of Indian Railways under TRAFFIC’s newly formed alliance with the RPF. The RPF deployed two specially trained wildlife sniffer dogs squads in India last year to stop wildlife smuggling through its extensive railway network.
Ravi Singh, secretary-general & CEO, WWF India, said, “Starting with just two wildlife sniffer dogs in 2008, today that number has grown to 88. The dedication and commitment of the wildlife sniffer dog squads are admirable, and the dogs have been a game-changer in the efforts against wildlife crime.”

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