4 more Belgian dogs join hunt for poachers

Misky, Sheela, Leon and Jubi will be soon on the prowl in rhino-bearing areas giving hot chase to poachers.

By Roopak Goswami in Guwahati
  • Published 14.05.18
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The four new Belgian Malinois. Picture courtesy: Aaranyak

Guwahati: Misky, Sheela, Leon and Jubi will be soon on the prowl in rhino-bearing areas giving hot chase to poachers.

Four new Belgian Malinois, including a male, brought by Aaranyak, an wildlife NGO, will soon be deployed in rhino-bearing areas of Assam and Bengal.

Misky, Sheela and Leon (the only male) are supported by the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) while Jubi is sponsored by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF).

NABU is one of the oldest and largest environment associations in Germany.

In all, there are now six sniffer dogs, including the four new ones.

The K-9 dog squad of Aaranyak was launched in 2011 with induction of Jorba, a male Belgian Malinois sponsored by the Foundation. The second dog Babli (female) was initially sponsored for one year by Care for the Wild International in 2014 and since 2015 it is being sponsored by the Foundation.

"All the four new dogs received initial training from Susan, a well known dog trainer from Germany in November last year and will soon be deployed in rhino-bearing areas of Assam and Bengal. The training was given around the Deepor Beel area to get the taste of flood plains and then taken to the hills on the Assam Meghalaya border," CEO of Aaranyak, Bibhab Talukdar, said.

He said the success rate in Kaziranga in giving vital clues from a scene of crime is more than 50-60 per cent.

The K-9 dog unit in Kaziranga provided vital clues to the park officials and police from a scene of crime, leading to nearest hideout sites which helped the enforcement agencies nab more than 40 poachers since 2013.

On one occasion, the dog squad also helped Orang National Park authorities and police to identify a house where rhino poachers stayed. The dog picked up the trail from the scene of crime and led security forces to the house. After the dog had them to the house, police and forest officials could confirm that a poacher operating in Orang did stay in it the house. They could even deduce that the poacher had fled the same day.

Talukdar said: "The reason why we used this particular breed is because of their extreme prey-drive capability. They are capable of even assisting in arrests of suspects. Once they pick up a scent and get a lead, they are capable of outrunning and bringing the suspect down if he tries to escape. This breed has been successfully used as military working dog by the US and European forces. This sniffer dog squad has assisted the forest officials with vital clues on a poacher's exit route after a rhino-poaching incident, leading to the arrest of culprits by the forest and police officials."

Currently, Jorba and Jubi are stationed in Kaziranga while Babli is stationed in Guwahati.