By M.K. Ananth
Personnel from the police, customs and postal departments were given hands-on training in identifying poaching spots, gathering evidences and details that should one look for strengthening the case against poachers. The exercise was part of the two-day workshop on ‘Strengthening Wildlife Law Enforcement and Conservation in India’ held in Coimbatore on Saturday.
The participants were divided into four teams and were taken to as many artificially created poaching pockets on the Forest College premises to have a first-hand experience on how and why culprits hunt wild animals. Participants were exposed to traps set for hunting tiger, deer, wild boar and birds and smuggling of valuable exotic medicinal plants and sandalwood trees.
They were also trained on using metal detectors for detecting land mines and to know if the animal suffered a bullet injury, to collect evidence from where the animals were hunted and identify the exact purpose for which the hunting took place.
The demonstrations were followed by a training session in which the participants were asked to explain the scenarios and other details which included food and vessels left by poachers or carcass of animals left behind after collecting the vital parts.
Forensic expert M. Gunachandran, wildlife veterinarian N.S. Manoharan and other wildlife experts suggested areas where the participants should improvise in collecting evidences and clues in a scientific manner and gather information from the evidences to make the investigation stronger.
Staff from the department of posts were invited to participate in the programme, as there were many incidents when skin of wild animals and other poached wildlife being sent to different parts of India and abroad via post.
Experts handling practical sessions said that live snakes too are sedated and sent in postal covers. “Training them on these subjects would help the postal department personnel to check suspicious covers containing such illegal materials and bring down trafficking,” Shekhar K. Niraj, Head of TRAFFIC (India), said. Postal staff said that the programme threw light on how they too could prevent smuggling.