February 19, 2020: The Namdapha Tiger Reserve of Arunachal Pradesh, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Regional Office, Guwahati, and WCS-India conducted a training module for field personnel on wildlife law enforcement and combating wildlife trafficking at the headquarters of the Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh from Feb 19 to 21. Two researchers from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun (WII) were also invited to train field staff on the use of patrol software MSTrIPES developed by the WII. The training was attended by 80 field officials of the Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Kamlang Tiger Reserve and Namsai Forest Division of Arunachal Pradesh.
Field officials of Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Kamlang Tiger Reserve and Namsai Forest Division of Arunachal Pradesh at the workshop
On the first day, Dev Prakash Bankhwal, Retd. PCCF (Wildlife) and Project Leader conducted a session on the basic principles of surveillance and patrolling. He explained the concepts of informed surveillance, intelligent patrolling and deployment of field units without falling into a routine and giving one’s strategy away to criminals. He also stressed on the need for a metric such as catch per 100 km walk/perambulation, catch per 100-hour walk, or a mix of both for supervisory officers to determine the quality and effectiveness of the patrol.
This was followed by a look at the important sections of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, and how to use them in conjunction with other laws and court judgments by M.I. Varghese, IFS (Retd.), Legal Trainer at WCS-India. He also elucidated search, seizure and investigation under the Act in detail.
“The staff needs to be exposed to further training. Although they attend many training sessions, they are yet to learn the art of effective patrolling and protection. Continuous training is a must,” Mr. Varghese said when asked about the workshop.
On the second day, D.P. Bankhwal explained the identification of wild animals, birds and their derivatives in illegal trade through pictorial presentation. He also detailed the various categories of protected areas and concepts of management of wilderness areas. On the following day, he shed light on the Boma technique of capturing wild herbivores for translocation from surplus areas to deficient areas for augmentation of populations.
Researchers from WII demonstrating the patrol software application
The WII team demonstrated the workings of a patrol software to forest officers, and how they could use an Android application to record their observations.