Wildlife sniffer dog training begins in Gwalior, TRAFFIC recruits another 12 dogs
Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India, 5th April 2018— 12 wildlife sniffer dogs and their handlers began training early this week at the National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD), in Tekanpur Gwalior. On completion of their nine-month long course they will join existing squads already deployed across the country, taking the total strength of India’s wildlife sniffer dogs to 68.
The new recruits are a mixture of German Shepherds and Labradors aged between six and nine months old, and are the seventh batch of dogs to be trained under TRAFFIC’s wildlife sniffer dog training programme since its inception in 2008. They will undertake a rigorous schedule to give them the focus, discipline and skills required to detect concealed illegal wildlife products.
These new dog squads will be deployed by the Forest Departments of West Bengal, Telangana, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru and by Customs at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi.
In Uttarakhand, the wildlife sniffer dog squad will be deployed at Pithoragarh, reported to be one of the most vulnerable locations for illegal wildlife trade where contraband including leopard skins, medicinal plants and cordyceps pass through to Nepal.
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 and deployment of wildlife sniffer dog squads from across the country. It is further encouraging to learn that the Customs department in India recognises the importance of wildlife sniffer dogs and has come forward to deploy them at the airports.”
TRAFFIC’s wildlife sniffer dogs, popularly known as “Super Sniffers”, will be trained to detect Tiger and leopard skins, bones and other body parts, bear bile, Red Sanders and other illegal wildlife products.
Dr G.S Nag, CVO, Officer commanding, NTCD, at the inaugural ceremony organised on 2nd April at Tekanpur said, “This is the third batch of wildlife sniffer dogs being trained by us in collaboration with TRAFFIC. NTCD recognises the important role played by sniffer dogs for combating wildlife crime and is hopeful that these dog squads will be widely used following their deployment. We welcome the new batch and wish them good luck on their training”.
TRAFFIC’s Wildlife Sniffer Dog programme is generously supported by WWF-India.
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.