The south Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been reported as major sources of ivory and large cat skins, which are sold in the international market. Widespread poaching and illegal trade threaten the long term survival of predators as well as prey species in this region. There are reports of local hunters using country-made guns and snares to poach animals, and trading animals body parts through established gangs with a network of agents and carriers. Since 2009, WTI has assisted the state Forest Departments in cracking down on seizures of body parts and the arrest of suspects for legal action.
Anti snare patrolling is an effective method of combing the fringe area of the forest where human interference is high. A snare is simply a wire cable stretched between two trees or stones, which tightens around the neck or the limb of wild animals leaving them to die.
In south India, several small teams of two or three people combed the entire boundary of Bandipur National park and Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, covering some 11 ranges. All snares and evidences of snares were geotagged with their location before handing over to the forest department. Anti-snare walks conducted with frontline staff in south India resulted in the removal of more than 600 snares from various locations in 2012.
Encouraged by these results, WTI proposes to increase the frequency of foot patrols and actively equip and train frontline forest staff to combat wildlife criminals in our mission to protect tigers and other wild animals and their habitats.
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