Wildlife Sniffer Dog Simi passes away
"She was ailing for the last six months and was not deployed for duty. On Sunday, she passed away and we performed final rites for her before the burial," he added.
VIRUDHUNAGAR: After eight glorious years of service at the Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary (now part of Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve) in Srivilliputhur, Simi, the state's first wildlife sniffer dog, died on Sunday owing to age-related ailments.
Forest Range Officer M Karthick said the canine had helped them solve around 30 cases. "She was ailing for the last six months and was not deployed for duty. On Sunday, she passed away and we performed final rites for her before the burial," he added.
The female German Shepherd dog was all set to turn 10 years old next month. Though the state police department always had sniffer dogs to help out with cases, Simi was the first dog to join the state forest department to detect wildlife crimes. Speaking to TNIE, forest guard and dog handler V Periasamy said Simi was more like a child to him. "She was very talented and active. The process of retiring her from service was underway," he added.
Following nine months of training under the TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) with the 21st Battalion of Special Armed Forces in Bhopal along with Periasamy, Simi was brought to Srivilliputhur 2015. She has since helped foresters detect country bombs, identify poachers, trace smugglers, etc.
"In 2018, Simi helped us identify four accused persons involved in the poaching of six wild elephants near Cumbum in Theni district. She was roped in on the mission following the intervention of the High Court in the case. After sniffing, she walked around 6 km before identifying the accused. The same year, she traced 360 kg of sandalwood that was hoarded illegally. She has even assisted in rescue activities during floods near the hills here. Poaching activities in Rajapalayam, Sivilliputhur and Watrap regions have significantly reduced following patrols taken up by Simi," Periasamy recalled.
The state government honoured Periasamy and Simi in 2018 for their meritorious service.