BANGALORE: Manjunath Malagi (21), a forester from Gadag who completed his Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) commando training on Tuesday, is enthusiastic to get into the field and discharge his duty.
Speaking to Express, he said, “During these 13 weeks we had to undergo physical training that included unarmed combating method, weapon (pistol, grenade) training, map reading, disaster management, first aid, crowd control management. Once we get into the field this training will be helpful.”
Awarding the certificates on completion of their commando training from the Police Training School, Yelahanka, to the batch of 54 foresters and forest guards who would be forming the STPF, Dr Rajesh Gopal, member-secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), said, “The STPF is different from the normal forest guards. When it comes to tiger poaching and smuggling it requires professionally trained combating force. In 2011, we lost around 50 tigers across the country, of which 22 fell to bullets of poachers.”
Appreciating the initiative of the Forest Department, he assured support to the department in matters related to tiger conservation.
Similarly, the STPF have been sanctioned for 13 other tiger reserves across nine states, he said.
Meanwhile, B K Singh, principal chief conservator of forests (Wildlife) related about instances wherein the forest force had failed because of poor handling of information system, due to lack of trained manpower.
He said, “The trained 54 foresters and forest guards will be deployed at Bandipur and Nagarhole as the poaching threat is higher in these two reserves.”
Speaking to the media regarding the translocation of elephants from Alur in Hassan district to Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, Minister for Forests C P Yogeshwar said, “The case will be heard in the High Court on Wednesday. Following which in a week’s time we will conduct a meeting and a decision will be taken on the issue.”