Pune: WCT, in association with Panthera, is conducting a first-of-its-kind ‘Site Security Training’ for officials of the Special Tiger Protection Task Force (STPF) of the Pench and Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserves from February 23 to March 3, 2015.
Twenty four (24) STPF officials (12 from Pench, 12 from Tadoba) have been handpicked by their field directors to attend the workshop which will be conducted by international experts in the field of law enforcement. The sessions will cover various aspects of patrolling including patrol tasking and planning, camouflage, concealment and obstacle crossing. STPF officials will also be trained in basic self-defence and how to communicate when working in a team apart from acquiring other expertise. The training will improve law enforcement in these two reserves with a larger goal of reducing incidences of poaching. It will alsohelp STPF staff respond to emergencies in a timely and effective manner. This is particularly important in conflict situations where staff need to ensure that no lives – human or animal – are lost. Similar workshops have been conducted in various parks in Southeast Asia and the response has been very encouraging.
Dr. Anish Andheria, President, WCT, said, “Very recently, a STPF guard suffered serious bullet wounds during a hand-to-hand battle with poachers in the Pench Tiger Reserve. Better trained officials will be able to minimise injuries to themselves during hostile situations. WCT is here to support our forest department and we are confident that this training will benefit officials. Importantly, every STPF personnel who will undergo this training will be equipped to pass on his/her learnings to other in the department.”
The Pench and Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserves of Maharashtra are an integral part of the Central Indian Landscape, which is home to 688 tigers as per the latest All India Tiger Estimation report. This is approximately 31% of the Indian tiger population, making it one of the most important tiger conservation units in the world. Pench and Tadoba are the only two tiger reserves in central India to have taken the initiative to constitute the STPF, dedicated to protecting wildlife and mitigating human-animal conflict.
Over the years, WCT has focussed on strengthening the protection mechanism of several parks in the Central Indian Landscape by donating patrolling vehicles and equipping Anti-poaching Camps. The WCT Wildlife Crime Prevention Training programme is part of the core curriculum in forest training institutes in Maharashtra and MP. Till date, this workshop has benefitted over 4,000 guards in Protected Areas across the country.
WCT and Panthera plan to provide this Site Security Training to several other reserves in the country and the first batch of trainees will also be involved as training assistants in future programmes. A follow up session will conducted for these 24 officials in October-November 2015 to both assess and reinforce their skills.
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