Kanpur, January 17, 2014: In a bid to strengthen the existing force of the forest staff of the UP Forest Department, International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI), at the behest of the UP Government, has organised a ten-day long training on wildlife conservation and management in the city of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
Member of Parliament Maneka Gandhi inaugurates the ceremony
Photo credit: WTI
The closing ceremony of the first batch of training was held today, where field gear was also given to senior forest officials. The training was inaugurated at the venue of the workshop- FTI, Kanpur- on January 15, 2014 in the presence of Maneka Gandhi, senior political leader, along with S P Yadav, the Minister of State for Zoological Gardens, V N Garg, Principle Secretary of Forests and Vivek Menon, Executive Director, Wildlife Trust of India.
V N Garg stated, “The department is committed to ensure that the forest staff will be adequately skilled as part this initiative. The Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav, who is also the Forest Minister is ensuring that the department, including the frontline forest staff, is trained and equipped.”
V N Garg, Principle Secretary of Forests
Photo credit: WTI
Maneka Gandhi in her inaugural speech on Wednesday commented on the stipulation of diligence on behalf of forest department saying, “The (forest) department should be as vigilant as the armed forces who guard the borders of our country since every inch of our forest if under threat from encroachers and poachers. It is the duty of the department to protect these open treasures of our nation.” She further went on to commend the UP Government in initiating such a training for the frontline forest staff of Uttar Pradesh. The senior MP also remarked on the necessity of conducting training to combat wildlife cyber-crime which is emerging as a prominent market place for wildlife traffickers.
“I expect Wildlife Trust of India to impart the best training possible as they have the requisite expertise to conduct this kind of a beneficial workshop for the forest staff,” she added.
Vivek Menon remarked, “The aim of this training is to provide a holistic understanding of the many nuances which are attached with wildlife conservation and management. We welcome this initiative by the UP Government since training and equipping the forest department will go a long way in strengthening them as a force ready to combat any situation- whether it be rescuing an injured animal or apprehending poachers and helping convict them. However, a single training will yield only partial results. It is vital that a refresher training be carried out every six months to ensure that the forest department is prepared for any exigency in the harsh field conditions.”
The training has been divided into two broad modules for over 130 staff of the forest department- from senior officials to frontline forest staff- covering issues ranging from health and hygiene of captive and wild populations, visitor management in PAs, wildlife crime prevention, wildlife crime investigation and identification of wildlife parts and products among other significant themes.
Ashish Tiwari, CF of the UP Forest Department, who participated in the sessions, commented on the workshop saying, “The training enables the participants to deal with various challenges we face in the state, with a specialised focus on certain issues that are relatively new to us. For instance trade over internet is a tricky area and we need to make sure we acquire the required skills to meet these concerns.”