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Dogs to be trained to go after smugglers, poachers

T.S. Ranganna

Forest Department plans to have its own squad

— File photo: K. Gopinathan

Novel plan: Trained canines will be donning a new role with the Forest Department planning to use them in its pursuit of smugglers and poachers.

Bangalore: With crimes by poachers and smugglers increasing in the forests bordering neighbouring States, the Forest Department is planning to have its own squad of trained sniffer dogs to tackle the problem.

Speaking to The Hindu, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A.K.Varma said he had written to the Secretary, Department of Forests, seeking permission to set up a dog squad. When launched, Karnataka would be the first in the country to have such a squad exclusively for the department.

Mr. Varma said crimes such as illegal mining, quarrying, poaching of animals and smuggling of sandalwood in the forest areas were on the rise.

Mr. Varma said he would meet the Secretary shortly to press for early sanction of the plan.

To begin with, the squad would have six dogs of different breeds and six trainers. They would be maintained in Bangalore.

The squad would be set up in Hubli, Mysore and Shimoga to curb smuggling of sandalwood, medicinal plants and for protecting wildlife.

Mr. Varma said the government had been requested to sanction Rs. 20 lakh for setting up one squad and added that he was sure the plan would be sanctioned, particularly in view of the seriousness of the issue.

At a programme organised recently by the Forest Department to observe the Martyrs’ Day, Upa Lokayukta G. Patri Basavanagoud advised the government to equip the forest personnel with modern weapons and equipment, so that those engaged in the operations against poachers and smuggles could take them on effectively.

In the past 41 years, 33 personnel, including an officer of the Indian Forest Service, have been killed in the operations against poachers and in ambushes.

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