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| Last Updated:12/09/2020

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Army mine detectors to rescue tigers from poachers

 The Pioneer,New Delhi, 31st December, 2009 
Metal detectors used by Indian Army to detect mines would now be used in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve to detect snares used by poachers in catching tigers.
Traffic India, a wing of World Wildlfe Fund (WWF), has armed the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve with four sophisticated deep search metal detectors (DSMD) to catch the poachers. These metal detectors would give additional teeth to the foresters to thwart the poachers, senior forest official VP Singh told ‘The Pioneer’.
“The DSMDs are generally used by Indian Army to detect explosive mines. Their capability would help in detecting iron snares and traps used to catch tigers in dense forests,” coordinator of Traffic India Rahul Dutta said.
The poachers generally use iron traps, coloquially known as “kudka” or “khatka”, to catch the big cats. These are placed stealthily at known tiger trails and are camouflaged with dry leaves and green foliage. Once an animal accidentally treads on it, the trap closes in leaving the animal in excruiciating pain. The poachers then kill the animal and take its body parts for sale.
“These snares are difficult to locate as they are cleverly camouflaged. But the sophisticated DSMD can detect iron traps even if buried two feet deep into the ground or water. This attribute makes it effective in locating these traps,” Dutta said.
The Traffic India has provided four DSMD to Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and similar contraptions would be provided to Kishunpur wildlife sanctuary and Katarniyaghat wildlife sanctuary. The UP Forest department has been promised more such devices if the need arise.
The DSMD is already being used in Bandhavgarh and Kanha Tiger Reserves in MP, Corbett and Rajaji National Parks in Uttaranchal, Simli Tiger Reserve in Orissa, Raipur Tiger Reserve in Chhattishgarh and Sariska Tiger reserve in Rajasthan. “The new contraption has given a positive result in these national parks and expect the same in Dudhwa where poachers are active despite government’s best efforts,” the Traffic India official said.
The DSMD in Dudhwa were put to test early this month when 24 metal snares were hidden in the routes frequented by tigers and the foresters detected these snares within three hours.
“This new contraption would strengthen the arms of the forest guards in their fight against poachers. Now, the forest guards would be able to cover much more area in lesser time,” Forest Minister Fateh Bahadur Singh said.
The DSMD are battery operated and could be charged even with car or tractor batteries. This costs Rs 80,000 which includes training cost. “This is a small price we are ready to pay to protect tigers,” the minister said.