A first: UP to get exclusive force to protect wildlife
Posted: Mon Sep 20 2010, 05:40 hrs
Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department will soon set up an armed force to tackle poachers and check the crime against wildlife in the state.
The Wildlife Protection Force (WPF) is being constituted on the guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The personnel will be given training at par with the state police force.
Though the main focus of the security force will be to check crime against wildlife, particularly tiger poaching, it will also check crimes like illegal cutting of trees. The forest department has sent the proposal to state home department seeking training support, and as soon as the proposal is finalised the recruitment process will kick off, said a senior forest department official.
“Wildlife poaching is a major problem in UP. The tiger reserves of Dudhwa in Lakhimpur Kheri and Katarniya Ghat in Bahraich are under constant threat from poachers. After declaring the area as critical tiger habitat, this (forming a special force) is the second step we are taking for tackling wildlife crime and managing tiger conservation in the state,” Minister for Forests and Wildlife Fateh Bahadur Singh told The Indian Express.
“They (personnel of Wildlife Protection Force) will be deployed across the Indo-Nepal border, apart from the two tiger reserves,” added the minister. This is for the first time that UP will have a special force designated for managing wildlife crime, and it is most likely to be operationalised within this financial year.
“Apart from regular police training, the personnel of WPF will be imparted knowledge wildlife Acts. Since the poachers use best equipment, they too will be given latest equipment like arms and ammunition, communication tools and satellite tracking devices. They will be given regular trainings for updating their skills,” said an official.