Squad of native breed dogs to detect wildlife crimes

Four pups of Indian breeds inducted into Forest Dept. after three-month training

Four dogs — Valavan, Kaduvan, Kaaligan and Athavai — are set to become new stars of the Forest Department in the State.

These five-month old pups have been inducted into the country’s first dog squad of native breeds formed to detect wildlife crimes. The dogs, Valavan of Kanni breed and others of Chippiparai, both from Tamil Nadu, were deployed at four forest divisions last week after the completion of three-month training in the Tamil Nadu Forestry Training College (TNFTC), Vaigai Dam.

According to TNFTC principal R. Rajmohan, the department is the first in the country to have inducted native breeds to detect wildlife crimes.

“One of the forest guards attached to the Forest Elite Force (FEF) at Vaigai Dam (Delta team) completed dog handling training at Bhopal. The guard, Vadivelan, trained four dogs of native breeds initially. The four new puppies were given training by the staff trained by Vadivelan,” he said.

The four new dogs were sent to four forest divisions — Coimbatore (Valavan), Pollachi division of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (Kaduvan), the Nilgiris (Kaaligan), and Gudalur (Athavai). Each dog will be under the care of a handler and helper who were trained at TNFTC.

“Native breed dogs are better suited to our forest conditions than the foreign breeds. Maintenance is easy,” Mr. Rajmohan said.

The dogs were given training to check vehicles, search houses, boxes, and ground search (for buried objects), to detect sandalwood, wildlife articles such as hide or bones and contraband like ganja. They were trained for tracking.

According to N. Balasubramaian, one of the trainers at TNFTC, native breeds picked up commands quickly. “The induction of trained dogs will strengthen forest protection, investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes. The native breed dogs easily adapt to our conditions and they are highly efficient. One trained dog for every forest division may become a reality in the near future,” said I. Anwardeen, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Coimbatore Circle) and Field Director (in-charge) ATR.

D. Venkatesh, District Forest Officer, Coimbatore forest division, said that Valavan, who was given for Coimbatore, was currently kept at Boluvampatti forest range.

Though Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Udumalpet division of ATR and Srivilliputhur Wildlife Sanctuary have their dog squad, the canines are of foreign breed.

Source: Read Full Article