Chennai: In the backdrop of red sanders making headlines, the Andhra Pradesh government has approached experts with Traffic, a wildlife investigation agency, and WWF India to provide expertise to curb illegal timber felling and also to explore the commercial aspects of red sanders in international market.
A team led by Shekhar Kumar Niraj, head of Traffic India from Delhi, and former additional chief conservator of forests Manoj Kumar Sarkar from Chennai on Friday left for Tirupati to ascertain the timber ecology of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
“The team after field visits and studying the genetic breeds of indigenous timber endemic to Andhra Pradesh will recommend solutions for long term sustainability of red sanders”, said Manoj Kumar Sarkar.
Meanwhile, Traffic which is helping states to combat wildlife crimes, will sign MoUs with southern states on making available dog squads trained at National Training Centre for dogs at Gwalior.
“All southern states are to get new dog squads by November and for the first time, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala will get trained sniffer dogs to protect their forests and timber,” said Shekar Niraj. The canines are now undergoing specialized training and they can sniff timbers including red sander and sandalwood.
For Tamil Nadu, three dogs will be given and they are to be positioned at tiger reserves. As per standard operating procedure, the canines have to be maintained and by 2020, Traffic would have sponsored dog squads for all Indian States. Trained in tracking and sniffing, these dogs are a hit. A canine Jackie in Madhya Pradesh had helped foresters crack 45 cases in the past four years, he said.
According to Tamil Nadu forest department sources, last year the state acquired a dog for its Srivilliputhur wildlife sanctuary and three dogs are likely to be inducted at Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Kalakkad- Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.