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Technical Training Workshop on Call Data Records Analysis Conducted for Wildlife Crime Investigators at Periyar Tiger Reserve
Trainers and trainees at the CDR data analysis workshop at Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala, December 08, 2016: As part of the continuing efforts under its Van Rakshak Project to train, equip and boost the morale of forest department personnel across the country, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), in partnership with the Periyar Tiger Conservation Foundation and Mumbai-based Ketan Computers, conducted a two-day technical workshop on Call Data Records (CDR) analysis for a select group of Kerala Forest Department officers earlier this week.

The use of CDR – which involves the analysis of cellular tower data in a specified set of locations to shrink/expand a suspect pool as needed, or track a suspect’s movements – as an investigative tool is fairly recent in India, and even more nascent in the investigation of wildlife crimes. It has already provided spectacular results in some instances though, such as in 2015 when officials of the Kerala Forest Department and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, with WTI’s assistance, used Ketan Computers’ CDR software to generate leads in a poaching case in the state. What began as a single elephant poaching incident was revealed to be a complex web of interstate poachers, traders and carvers involved in the ivory trade, and culminated in the seizure of 538 kilograms of ivory in New Delhi six months later.

The technical workshop at Periyar Tiger Reserve aimed to build the capacity of forest officers state-wide in the use CDR data analysis in ongoing and future wildlife crime investigations. The workshop was inaugurated by Dr Amit Mullick, the Field Director of Periyar, and conducted by Ketan Desai and Manoj Dubey, the developers of Ketan Computers’ CDR analysis software.

The duo from Ketan Computers assists state police departments in criminal investigations across the country. Their endeavour at this workshop was not merely to provide trainees with the basic technical knowledge required to use their software, but rather to inculcate the logical mindset that allows CDR data to be effectively leveraged to pinpoint suspects and their activities. The participants had the opportunity to conduct a real-time CDR analysis of a previous case on which Periyar Assistant Field Director Manu Sathyan and WTI Regional Head Jose Louies had worked.

“We want our officers to be as capable of using modern technology in criminal investigations as the police cyber cell is. This is the first step and we will work to develop their skills further”, said Manu Sathyan.

“This workshop is part of WTI’s ongoing efforts to help state forest departments in the capacity building of their personnel”, said Jose Louies. “With a modern, technical and systematic approach, wildlife crime can be detected when it happens and prevented before it happens.”  
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