The second of its kind in India after Madhya Pradesh, the dedicated force will be a well-trained unit of 112 persons guarding the tiger habitat in the State. “It will be a full-fledged team guarding the forest patch. The personnel will be specially skilled and trained in use of weapons,” said B K Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief wildlife warden.
The Special Tiger Protection Force, formed as per the guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority, will be trained and disciplined at police training centres for over a period of six months along with policemen. According to officials the squad will also have a regular arms training.
The squad will be headed by an Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF). It will comprise of, three range forest officers (RFOs), 18 foresters and 90 guards. “The squad will be divided into three groups to patrol in all directions of the reserve to have a constant watch. The entire squad including the ACF will be placed under DCF Bandipur and will act as per his directions,” said Singh.
He said the process for recruitment and training is on and that the squad would be operational in a few months.
The squad, set up at an expenditure over Rs four crore (including cost of vehicles and arms) per annum, will patrol the sensitive areas including all the anti-poaching camps. It will be provided arms and ammunition and will have a fleet of dedicated vehicles.
The Wildlife Crime Bureau, which tracks the movement of poachers and a few hunting tribes, will disseminate information of their movement to the squad.
The department is planning to utilise the team to monitor the Nagarhole National Park too.
Team for Bhadra
At the Bhadra tiger reserve, a team is monitoring the big cat.
The first of its kind experiment in the State is already an year old where an ex-serviceman with a rich experience in several crucial points along the borders of the Country has been entrusted with the job to guard the tigers of this reserve.
“We have a supervisor (ex-serviceman) and an assistant with two local watchers, who are part of this special squad,” said Vijay Mohan Raj, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bhadra Tiger Reserve.
Though the local officers have termed this squad as tiger protection force, B K Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests said that this is not on the lines of special force which will be coming up at Bandipur.