News / Asia

    Commandos Deployed to Protect Tigers in Southern India

    A three-year-old tiger is seen on June 29, 2008 at India's Sariska Tiger Reserve in the western state of Rajasthan. (file photo)
    A three-year-old tiger is seen on June 29, 2008 at India's Sariska Tiger Reserve in the western state of Rajasthan. (file photo)

    In the sprawling wildlife sanctuaries of southern India, a team of commandos has been deployed to protect tigers from poaching in the first ever initiative by India driven by a dramatic decline in the big cat's population recent decades.

    After three months of training in jungle survival and weapons use, a 54-member “Special Tiger Protection Force” has begun patrolling two major tiger reserves, Bandipur and Nagarhole, which straddle the border of southern Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states.

    The force will counter hunters and poachers, says Karnataka’s top conservation officer, B.K. Singh.

    “[A] special course was designed for them to have combat training so that they can raise arms and fight the armed gangs, etc., who we generally come across every now and then in our tiger reserves… they will be equipped with proper arms," says Singh. "Hitherto our performance in capturing the armed guys has not been up to date, not been to our satisfaction.”

    Wildlife experts have long contended that the lack of properly trained frontline staff to protect the tiger is one of the critical problems facing conservation efforts in Indian sanctuaries.

    Many of the forest guards are older and do not have the necessary skills take on the highly sophisticated gangs which poach wildlife such as elephants and tigers, says Tito Joseph from the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

    “Most of the forest guards are over 45 years old, those people cannot do better patrolling," Joseph says. "Also there is a need for young blood in patrolling areas.  So the Special Task Force is constituted with young people.”

    Forest officer Singh in Karnataka state says that unlike some of the northern states where the tiger is poached for its parts, the big cat itself is often not the primary target in southern India.

    Instead, the hunting of animals like deer reduces possible prey for the tiger.  As a result, he says, some tigers come to the edges of the forest in search of food and fall victim to hunters.

    “The weaker ones once they get pushed out of the reserve, they come into human conflict, they are targeted for killing by the people living on the fringes," he says. "Or sometimes a snare is put for a wild boar, a snare is put for hunting a deer and a tiger gets into it and gets killed.”

    Karnataka, with about 300 tigers in six forest reserves, has the highest tiger population in the country.  But about 25 tigers have been killed in the last five years.

    The state plans to double the commando force from 54 to 108 in the coming years. Similar forces will also be trained to patrol 13 other tiger reserves across the country.

    India, with about 1,700 tigers, accounts for nearly half the world’s tiger population. Experts say the animal's survival here will determine the future of the species.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora