Dogs and cats might have a love-hate relationship but these dogs are determined to protect the bigger cats in the jungle. These are wildlife sniffer dogs. And these dogs recently had a very glorious passing out parade for the new recruits. With the passing out parade and a magnificent display of learnt skills by the 14 sniffer dogs and their 28 handlers at the 23rd Battalion of Special Armed Reserve Forces, located at Bhopal in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India doubled its strength of wildlife sniffer dogs, by deploying these newly trained dogs to its wildlife protection and anti poaching squads across India.
Passing out parade was organised at the Dog Training Centre in Bhopal by TRAFFIC and WWF-India to celebrate the successful completion of the training programme in presence of the Narendra Kumar, IFS, PCCF and CWLW, Government of Madhya Pradesh, K.N. Tiwari, IPS, ADGP, Special Armed Forces, Government of Madhya Pradesh and several other senior officials from the state of Madhya Pradesh and other states in India. This ceremony was attended by all the seven states- Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Karnataka- which received their newly trained dogs today.
These 14 professionally trained dogs and their 28 handlers from seven Tiger bearing states of India have now joined 11 dogs and 22 handlers already trained and deployed across India under this programme, taking the total strength of TRAFFIC/WWF-India’s wildlife sniffer dogs to 25. This programme is conducted by the New Delhi based Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC), which functions in India as a WWF’s programme division dedicated to monitor illegal wildlife trade and to combat poaching. The programme is funded jointly by TRAFFIC and WWF-India promotes use modern tools and technologies in fighting wildlife crimes.
Starting in 2008, 13 sniffer dogs have already been trained and later deployed at key sites for detection and prevention of wildlife crime where they have been involved in more than 100 significant wildlife seizure cases in recent years. Jimmy, one of TRAFFIC’s sniffer dogs, was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the Governor of Madhya Pradesh in 2013 after the dog helped bust at least 25 wildlife poaching and smuggling cases.
Even though the dogs are trained for sniffing out wildlife products such as Tiger and Leopard bones and skins, meat, bear bile, etc these sniffer dogs are also detecting other wildlife contraband such as ivory, deer meat, live bird species, Red Sand Boa, Blackbuck, hare, python, rat snake, porcupine and even weapons by self actualization and improvisation. They have been taking up huge roles in wildlife investigation and prosecution.
Recently two more sniffer dogs— Kareena and Babli— were deputed to save the famed one-horned rhinoceros from poachers in Assam’s Kaziranga national park. After months of training in conducting anti-poaching operations, the sniffer dogs arrived in Assam and would be in action after getting acquainted with the landscape. (All photos through TRAFFIC)