Jharkhand: Nearly three hundred forest staff in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand are participating in a workshop to equip themselves to tackle wildlife crimes and to protect environment.
Forest staffs of Palamau Tiger Reserve and Hazaribagh Wildlife Division are being trained as part of the country-wide Van Rakshak Programme from January 29 to February 21.
The workshop is jointly organized by Wildlife Trust of India, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Jharkhand forest department.
Some rare animals found in the state include tiger, elephant, sloth bear, leopard and Gaur.
According to a recent official estimate, about 38 tigers, 62 leopards, 260 elephants, 260 gaurs, and 469 sloth bears are in Palamau Tiger Reserve.
The training is organized in four different venues – Betla, Hazaribagh, Kodarma and Garu – comprising two wildlife divisions – Palamau and Hazaribagh.
Palamau was declared a tiger reserve in the year 1974.
The topics of the workshop include wildlife crime investigations, wildlife law – Wildlife (Protection) Act, identification of wildlife products, patrolling and anti-poaching preparedness.
Dr. Rakesh Kumar Singh of WTI and Ritwick Dutta, Legal Advisor of WTI (Supreme Court) are resource persons at the workshop.
“A knap-sack (day-pack), winter jacket, rain suit, cap, water bottle, torch light and uniform are also being provided to each participants.” Pranab Jyoti Patar, Training Officer of WTI said.
“The workshop is important, since, in some areas frontline forest staff has never undertaken formal training to tackle anti-poaching activities.” Patar said.
“Besides poaching of smaller animals, tree felling, and cattle rearing by villagers has been rampant in some areas.” Singh said. “The training is also to create awareness and to boost morale of the forest guards.”
Till date, 74 Protected Areas in 14 states were covered under the programme.
Nearly 5893 individuals have received training and 6191 individuals were equipped with anti-poaching kits.