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Tuesday
Apr042017

Adding teeth to law enforcement: 13 dog squads commence wildlife detection training

Trainee sinffer dogs and their handlers receive training on detecting wildlife products © TRAFFICGwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India, 4th April 2017—Thirteen puppies aged 6-9 months old and their 26 dog handlers today began their training to become wildlife sniffer and tracker dog squads at the National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD), BSF Academy, Tekanpur Gwalior.

Once trained, Forest Departments in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim will be deploying wildlife sniffer dogs for the first time—a total of five squads.

Other States to receive squads will be West Bengal (3 squads), Uttarakhand (2), Assam (1), Odisha (1), Kerala (1).
 
TRAFFIC pioneered the wildlife sniffer dog training programme in India in 2008. Since then, 43 dog squads have been trained with support from WWF-India. This is the sixth phase of the programme.

Merwyn Fernandes, TRAFFIC’s Coordinator in India said: “Over the years, the wildlife sniffer dogs—popularly known as TRAFFIC’s Super Sniffers—have been successful in at least 150 wildlife seizure cases, involved during the arrests of about 100 people and detected numerous wildlife products, including skins and bones of Tigers, Leopard parts, bear bile, ivory, star tortoises, deer antlers, live birds, porcupines, pangolin scales as well as finding snares, traps and weapons.”

Dr Dipankar Ghose, Director of WWF India’s Species and Landscape programme, said “Use of wildlife sniffer dogs is proven to curb wildlife crime and we are happy that this approach has been adopted by enforcement agencies and State Forest Departments in India. We wish success to the 13 dogs and their handlers on their new journey.”

Dr G.S Nag, CVO, Commanding Officer of the NTCD said “NTCD is happy to partner in training wildlife sniffer dog squads. Enforcement agencies across India have long-term experience of using and handling sniffer dogs for conducting seizures and curbing crime. We are glad to see their emerging role in combating wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade in India, and hope that many more State Forest Departments deploy sniffer dogs for use in wildlife law enforcement initiatives”.

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