Jose Louies, WTI’s Regional Head – South India, addresses trainees during a classroom session in Indravati TR
Indravati Tiger Reserve, Chhattisgarh, September 22, 2016: As part of the continuing efforts under its Van Rakshak Project to train, equip and boost the morale of frontline forest staff across the country, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), in partnership with the Chhattisgarh Forest Department, conducted two refresher training programmes in wildlife crime prevention from September 6 to 10, 2016.
The training events were attended by 74 frontline personnel from across twelve divisions of Indravati Tiger Reserve and Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary. The curriculum included legal and biological aspects of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, as well as wildlife crime prevention components such as the basics of wildlife biology, tracks and signs, anti-poaching patrolling techniques, intelligence gathering, search and seizure, interrogation, crime scene investigation and the preparation of Preliminary Offence Reports. Trainees were also briefed on relevant provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Proceedings, and the powers conferred on them therein for the prosecution of wildlife crimes.
The purpose of the training was to ensure that forest staff received both wide angle and specific perspectives on the investigative and the legal aspects of wildlife crime, with close attention paid to proper case documentation and appropriate legal procedures. Trainees were evaluated on the basis of a test conducted before and after the programme; field kits were distributed to trainees who passed this evaluation.
WTI has been conducting such Wildlife Crime Prevention Training programmes under its Van Rakshak Project (VRP) since 2001. Over 16,000 frontline forest personnel have been trained in over 138 protected areas across 14 states. VRP follows a multi-pronged strategy with four thrust areas abbreviated as TEAM: Training, Equipping, Awareness and Morale Boosting, to build capacity and strengthen spirits of personnel in tough field conditions.