Karnataka first state to form dedicated tiger protection squad

The personnel of the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) have already been deployed in Bandipur reserve, Karnataka Chief Wildlife Warden BK Singh said.

The STPF is being set up under the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) according to which the company should comprise 18 foresters and 90 guards.

The Force will be commanded by an Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) with three tiger force range officers under him.

"We have appointed 18 foresters and 63 frontline guards who are being given training in forestry from September 15. It will take almost an year to complete the training," Singh said.

After that they will be given rigorous training in the police and paramilitary courses, a protocol for which is being prepared by the NTCA. Members of the STPF will be armed with modern weapons and facility of telecom network.

"We plan to appoint 30 per cent of the total forest guards (90) from among the locals to ensure better conservation," he said.

The NTCA will also provide vehicles, arms and other equipment to the STPF personnel which will be entrusted with keeping a watch on tigers within the state as well as monitor the porous borders to keep the poachers at bay.

Spread over an area of around 874 sq km, Bandipur sanctuary has been chosen out of Karnataka's four tiger reserves because it has a rich landscape. The vulnerability of the Waynad-Bandipur zone has also been taken into account.

States like Uttarakhand and Rajasthan have issued notification declaring their intentition to set up the STPF which the Centre hopes will help in better protection of the endangered tigers.

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