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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Anti-poaching crusader Babli passes away at Orang National Park

Babli was instrumental in enhancing the anti-poaching measures in Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve.

GUWAHATI:

A well-trained member of the elite anti-poaching K9 Dog Squad of Aaranyak, named Babli, passed away on June 15 morning due to an illness.

Babli, a female Belgian Malinois and a prized frontline staff of Aaranyak, was stationed at Orang National Park in Assam from August 11, 2018. During her association with the K9 Dog Squad of Aaranyak, which was from 2014, she was instrumental in enhancing the anti-poaching measures in Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve, which boast of a treasure trove of one-horned rhinos.

“We, all in the Aaranyak family, are deeply saddened by the loss of Babli, a well-trained member of our elite K9 unit, stationed at Orang National Park to support its anti-poaching efforts. She breathed her last this morning around 8.40 am due to illness,” said Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, chief executive officer (CEO) of Aaranyak.

The contribution of Babli towards complementing the government agencies’ efforts for overall wildlife crime mitigation in and around Orang National Park will always be cherished, he added.

“She was brought to join Aaranyak’s K9 unit in 2014. During her last hours, our K9 team was with her, along with the CEO Talukdar,” said an Aaranyak official.

Prevention or checking of poaching, which is difficult to achieve, holds the key to the success of wildlife conservation efforts. It has been globally experienced that exemplary punishment to poachers/perpetrators of crime could be a deterrent to poaching. However, to convince the court of law to hand out exemplary punishment to accused poachers under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act in vogue is a tough task as the court demands very convincing evidence.

To facilitate a tough judgement from the court of law against accused poachers, the investigating agencies need to collect concrete evidence that can convince the court of the wider/global ramifications of an incident of poaching of wildlife species.

In case of poaching and other wildlife crimes, evidence collection needs to be very scientific, systematic and prompt (especially in case of poaching). For the perennially understaffed government wildlife protection agencies, which sometimes lack well-equipped experts to carry out scientific investigations to gather concrete evidence, handling poaching incidents often becomes a difficult proposition.

In this respect, the K9 Dog Squad has now become the pride and glory of Aaranyak as well as wildlife protection agencies in Assam and other parts of Eastern and Northeastern India. The K9 squad has revolutionized the investigation of wildlife crimes in the Assam Valley region since its inception. It has added many teeth to the investigation process and led to an increase in the conviction rate in cases of poaching of wildlife species including the one-horned rhino in the region.

Babli and her handler were supported by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, UK.

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