Bhutan, March 2 , 2015: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – Wildlife Trust of India’s (WTI) Van Rakshak Project is organising a ‘Prevention of Wildlife Trade Training’ workshop for the staff of Forest Protection and Surveillance Unit (FPSU), Department of Forest and Park Services, Ministry of Forests and Agriculture, Bhutan. The training is being held at Phuntsholling, Bhutan from 2nd to 5th March 2015. The workshop intensively focuses on training the forest staff on prevention of cross border wildlife trade.
13 forest staff, with 7 staff from FPSU and 6 staff from Wildlife Crime Division (WCD) are participating in the training. Jose Louies, Head, Trade Control, WTI developed a specialized crime control training module for this workshop after discussing it with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and FPSU. This module contains two days of field exercises and two days of theory. During the course of the training, participants will undergo a proper cross-border mock wildlife trade class in the field exercise apart from being taught intelligence gathering and use of surveillance techniques, crime scene investigation and offence report writing. They will also learn regional species identification so that they are able to identify commonly traded species in illegal international trade in the region.
During the course of the training, experts from IFAW-WTI and Bhutan Forest Department would be present to share their expertise and experiences with the participants. The trainers include Jose Louies, Aniruddha Mookerjee, Senior Advisor and Chief Mentor – Guardians of the Wild, WTI, and Krishnendu Mondal, Technical Officer – Enforcement and Law, WTI.
In a bid to equip and strengthen the frontline forest staff of the country, IFAW-WTI has been conducting Wildlife Crime Prevention Training Programmes, under the VRP since 2001. Jose Louies said, “VRP follows a multi-pronged strategy with four thrust areas, abbreviated as TEAM: Training, Equipping, Awareness and Morale Boosting, aimed broadly at capacity building and keeping high the spirits of personnel in tough field circumstances. The Bhutan training is a specially designed module to equip the forest staff in Bhutan to fight against cross border wildlife crime and make their beautiful forests a safer haven for wild animals.”
Bhutan possesses a rich biodiversity that includes many endangered animals including elephants, rhinos, Tibetan Antelopes and other species, which are important to conservation of the country’s diverse ecosystem. “To fight wildlife crimes, the forest staff needs to be trained in effectively controlling international wildlife trade, and to have a knowhow of intelligence gathering and surveillance so that no criminal gets away easily. We are thankful to IFAW-WTI for holding such training programmers in Bhutan to ensure that the Bhutan Forest Department is equipped to break the backbone of organised international poaching network,” said Karma Tenzin, Chief, FPSU, DoFPS.