Dogs to protect Rhinos in Kaziranga

Dogs to protect Rhinos in Kaziranga

GUWAHATI: Dogs are being trained to protect Rhinos in Assam statein northeast India.  Four new Belgian Malinois dogs are being trained to add to the existing two-member dog squad to assist anti-poaching operations in Kaziranga National Park and other rhino bearing areas of the State.
The new dogs are being trained in an undisclosed location. A trainer from abroad will be brought in to impart advanced training to the canines which are likely to join the existing two in the coming winter season.

NGO Aaranyak had introduced the K9 sniffer dog unit support received from UK-based The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation to assist anti-poaching measures in rhino bearing areas of Assam in 2011. In past three-four years, the dog unit was assisting Kaziranga National Park authorities and was stationed in the Unesco World Heritage Site where there had been unabated incidents of poaching.

A report submitted by the then director of KNP to Gauhati High Court with regard to a PIL related to rhino protection in Kaziranga had mentioned that the K9 dog unit had assisted arrest of key rhino poachers. So far the dog unit assisted Kaziranga authorities and police parties giving vital clue from scene of rhino poaching incidence in Kaziranga that has enabled the KNP authorities and police nab more than 30 poachers.

“Based on the demand for this dog breed, we are adding four more trained Belgian Malinois dogs in the rhino bearing areas of Assam and also in North Bengal by November this year. The dogs are being sourced and currently undergoing training at an undisclosed site in varied terrain of northeast India,” Bibhab Talukdar of Aaranyak told a local newspaper.

“The reason why we used this particular breed is because of their extreme prey drive capability. They are capable of even assisting arrest of suspects if the situation demands. Once they pick up a scent and track and come to a lead, they have the capability of outrunning and bringing the suspect down in case the suspect tries to escape. This breed has been successfully used as military working dog by American and European forces. The breed has shown exemplary performance in sniffing out explosives and drugs and also tracking down anti-government forces in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Talukdar stated.

[prepared from media sources by Debashish]