Gujarat forest dept ropes in BSF, FSL experts to curb poaching

The Gujarat government has reconstituted its Wildlife Crime Cell by roping in experts from BSF and Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for effective implementation of anti-poaching operations in the state.

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government has reconstituted its Wildlife Crime Cell by roping in experts from BSF and Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for effective implementation of anti-poaching operations in the state.

The cell was constituted in 2007 in the wake of lion poaching in Junagadh area. Later, its jurisdiction was extended to the entire state to control crimes related to forests and wildlife.

Recently, the Gujarat Forests and Environment Department felt the need to take the help of other entities and experts to curb such crimes. According to Chief Conservator of Forest - Wildlife Crime N S Yadav, the commandant of BSF as well as the director of FSL in Gandhinagar have been made members of the newly-constituted cell recently.

"BSF mainly operates in bordering districts of Kutch and Banaskantha in the state. We have significant number of protected wildlife in those barren lands, such as Wild Ass, which are now seen in far fetched areas of Rann-of-Kutch" said Yadav, who is the member secretary of the cell.

"We felt the need to take their services in getting information about any wildlife related crime in those areas. Now, BSF men will remain in constant touch with forest officials and pass on valuable information to us," he said.

According to Yadav, "Forensic science will prove crucial in speeding up our investigation and help us in putting our case in a better way during court proceedings, making it difficult for poachers to escape due to lack of evidences."

Director of FSL J M Vyas said his organisation will help the forest department in various avenues of crimes.

"We can find out the types of firearms used for poaching with the help of our ballistic science facility. We can help them to match fingerprints of poachers on weapons used by them. Based on our reports, forest department can strengthen their legal case," he said.

Many a times, forest officials find body parts of wild animals from poachers, such as skin, teeth, horns and bones. However, it is a difficult task for a non-expert to find out which part belong to which animal.

"We can help them in finding out the exact species by analysing that body part. With that information, officials can trace the origin of the wild animal and find out where it was killed. We can also provide information about the kind of weapon used, which can lead officials to a specific gang of poachers, who are known to be using that weapon," said Vyas.

The Principle Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) is the chairman of this cell, having 14 other members, including Yadav. The cell also takes help of Coast Guard, Customs, police department and two wildlife experts.