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Security training for tiger protection force

The Times of India, New Delhi, 24th February, 2015


PUNE: About 24 officials of the special tiger protection force (STPF) at Pench and Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserves in the state will now be better equipped to improve law enforcement and reduce incidences of poaching, thanks to the special site security training by the Wildlife Conservation Trust in association with Panthera.

The training that started on Monday will end on March 3 and will help the tiger protection force staff respond to emergencies in a timely and effective manner. This is particularly important in conflict situations where staff need to ensure that no lives — human or animal — are lost, a statement issued by the trust said here on Monday.

As many as 24 tiger protection force officials (12 from Pench, 12 from Tadoba) have been handpicked by their field directors to attend the workshop being conducted by international experts in the field of law enforcement. The sessions cover various aspects of patrolling, including patrol tasking and planning, camouflage, concealment and obstacle crossing. Tiger protection force officials will also be trained in basic self-defence and communicating with a team, apart from acquiring other expertise. Similar workshops have been conducted in various parks in Southeast Asia and the response has been very encouraging.


Anish Andheria, president of the trust said in the statement, "Very recently, a STPF guard suffered serious bullet wounds during a hand-to-hand battle with poachers in the Pench Tiger Reserve. Better trained officials will be able to minimise injuries to themselves during hostile situations. The trust is here to support our forest department and we are confident that this training will benefit officials. Every STPF personnel who will undergo this training will be equipped to pass on his/her learnings to others in the department."

The Pench and Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserves of Maharashtra are an integral part of the central Indian landscape, which is home to 688 tigers as per the latest All India Tiger Estimation report. This is approximately 31% of the Indian tiger population, making it one of the most important tiger conservation units in the world. Pench and Tadoba are the only two tiger reserves in central India to have taken the initiative to constitute the STPF, dedicated to protecting wildlife and mitigating human-animal conflict.

Over the years, the trust has focused on strengthening the protection mechanism of several parks in the central Indian landscape by donating patrolling vehicles and equipping anti-poaching camps.

The trust's Wildlife Crime Prevention Training programme is part of the core curriculum in forest training institutes in Maharashtra and MP.

Till date, this workshop has benefitted over 4,000 guards in protected areas across the country.