Sniffer dog squad to guard Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj

Baripada: A pack of sniffer dogs from TRAFFIC-World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF India) would be deployed soon to guard Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary in Mayurbhanj district, a source said today.

The dog squad is to comprise 11 canines and their 22 handlers, who are presently being imparted training at the Basic Training Centre (BTC)-Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Panchkula of Haryana. The 11 sniffer dogs are aged between six to nine months and are of Belgian Malinois species.

The selected sniffer dogs will undergo tough training for a period of seven to eight months. After completion of training, the canines will be deployed to identify and curb crimes against wildlife.

The sniffer dog squad will be pressed into service in tiger reserves of four states including Odisha. The other three wildlife sanctuaries are Pench of Maharashtra, Achanakmar of Chhattisgarh, and Buxa of West Bengal. Because of their strong sense of smell, the trained dogs will be able to detect poachers and haunters in a forest. Even to the extent they can detect planted explosives, a trainer expressed.

Worth mentioning, TRAFFIC is a wildlife monitoring network and a strategic alliance of WWF and IUCN, which came into existence in 1976. In India, TRAFFIC operates as a programme division of WWF-India, working closely with national and state governments, and various other agencies to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade in India.

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