In April 2012, training sessions on Wildlife Crime Prevention was initiated in Manas National Park in Assam, India, to build capacity of more than 550 front line forest guards who protect this World Heritage Site. The training modules were custom designed by the WTI Guardians of the Wild team to build a knowledgeable, strong and motivated front line force to curb wildlife crime.
The course began with an overview of trends in wildlife crime in India and around the world. Subsequent topics dealt with various aspects of Indian wildlife law (Wildlife Protection Act, 1972), poaching prevention techniques, crime scene investigation, intelligence gathering, and preparation of the Preliminary Offence Report (POR). Information on procedures and techniques for collection and preservation of evidence from the crime scene was also imparted. A mock crime scene investigation was also played out as part of the field demonstration.
About 550 foot patrolling kits consisting of a backpack, winter jacket, waterproof poncho, water bottle, torch and cap were distributed to the front line forest guards. The equipment had been selected taking into consideration the terrain and weather conditions that the guards experience while patroling their beat. Six anti-poaching camps in the remote Chirang Reserve Forest were also provided with solar powered equipment for charging communication devices. With the improvement in communication between forest camps, forest guards in this area have carried out four successful operations against poachers and encroachers over the past month.
WTI’s work in Manas began in the early 2000s, with research to generate the crucial baseline data immediately after peace was restored following two decades of civil unrest. Since then, numerous initiatives have been implemented to facilitate landscape conservation through a holistic approach. In addition to advocating and garnering political will to create Greater Manas, these also include promotion of green livelihoods, awareness generation, and pioneering initiatives like the reintroduction of rhinos in Manas, rehabilitation of rare and endangered wildlife including clouded leopards, tiger, elephants, Asiatic black bears, and many other displaced animals.
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