Visakhapatnam: The dog squads inducted into the forests have performed effectively in identifying crimes and tracking criminals. The German Shepherds squads have helped the forest departments of the Telugu States by solving 31 cases in which 40 criminals were arrested.
The four dogs sent to AP and TS have been deployed in tiger reserves but their services are also being used outside whenever there is a requirement. In AP, the two dogs received in October 2016 have been posted at the Atmakur forest division in Kurnool district and Dornala in Prakasam district. Both divisions are part of the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam tiger reserve.
Dolly, the German Shepherd that was placed in Atmakur has been an extraordinary performer. It has solved about 15 cases and helped forest officials in arresting 21 wildlife criminals. The cases include seizure of wildboar meat, spotted deer and sambar meat, sloth bear carcass, the flesh of a jungle cat and also helped forest officials in a tiger death case in a train accident. The dog in Markapur, Tiger, has no major tasks and has helped in cracking a single case. The TS forest department has also deployed two dog squads in tiger reserves. ‘Cheetah’ was deployed in Jannaram division of the Kawal tiger reserve in December 2018 and ‘Bruno’ at the Achampeta division in Amrabad tiger reserve in January 2019. The Kawal squad has traced about nine cases in which seven people were arrested, while the Amrabad squad has tracked six cases in which 12 people were arrested.
Speaking to this newspaper, field director, Kawal tiger reserve, C.P. Vinod Kumar said, “‘Cheetah’ has given us many surprises. In two cases were leopards were killed, it took us directly to the house of the poachers. We didn’t expect this and were surprised.”
He said, “We have issued a timetable to inspect the villages and to check the village markets on the fringes of the forest. Now the poachers and villagers are aware that the dog will find them for sure if any wild animal is poached. This dog is really serving the department a lot.”
Deputy conservator of forests and divisional forest officer of Atmakur Venkatesh Sambangi said, “The dog squad is spreading the message to nearby villages that poachers can be identified immediately. There are chances for managing the people during the inquiry, but it is impossible for criminals to manage the dogs. As there are few problematic villages in the tiger reserves, we are doing regular inspection in those fringes. Now the people know that the dog will be on alert all the time and therefore the poaching activity has also come down.”
Dog Squads deployed in 18 states, 1 UT: Traffic India
Dog squads were deployed across 18 states and one UT till date. About 66 dogs were trained and deployed by Traffic India, the wildlife trade monitoring network, since 2008. Traffic India has trained the dogs in identifying flora and fauna.
The dogs have undergone training at ITBP. Traffic India has tied up with the 23rd Battalion of the Special Armed Forces and the National Training Centre for Dogs at the BSF Academy. Training for the new batch with 10 dogs is about to begin from the month-end, and the dogs will be deployed in another eight states. Speaking to this newspaper, senior project officer, Traffic India, Amar Nath Choudhary said, “We train the dogs for nine months in three phases. In the first phase, they will be provided basic training and taught discipline. In the second phase, they will be trained on sniffing, searching and tracking. The final stage of training will be on perfection.”