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Protecting the tiger protectors

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Protecting the tiger protectors: India's Frontline Forest Guards

Life is harsh for the lowest level in India’s state forest department hierarchy- the forest guards. Living in isolation under adverse conditions, these protectors of the wild do not even have proper field gear like shoes, jackets, torches, to conduct their duties well. Apart from the professional hazard of danger from wild animals, today forest guards in India often find themselves in combat like situations facing well-equipped, armed poachers and timber smugglers. While the wildlife trade network allows poachers to access more and more sophisticated weapons and combat tools, our forest guards are still mostly equipped with old, inefficient arms. This leaves most active forest guards exceedingly vulnerable to attacks, injury, manhandling and even death, in the line of duty.

What makes it worse for them and their families is that in case of injury, temporary disability or even death, compensations take a long time to process and most of the time when the money is received it is not adequate. This is especially true in cases where the injuries cause handicap or even death, leaving their families with no way to earn a living; often these men are the sole breadwinners in their families, in remote parts of the country.

Since the year 2000, over 10,000 frontline forest guards have been trained and equipped in over 125 protected areas under the Guardians of the Wild Division of WTI. The training empowers them with knowledge on how to combat and curb poaching of wildlife, especially tigers and illegal trade in tiger parts. These guards have also been equipped with a basic patrol kit that makes it possible for them to conduct their foot patrol activities more efficiently. WTI also runs a unique Group Accident Insurance Scheme, providing an insurance cover to over 17,000 frontline staff, in case of permanent disability or death on duty.

$100 USD will train and equip one Frontline Forest Guard

$10 USD will provide Accident Insurance Coverage for one Guard

Can you help? To learn more and assist, visit the NWHS/WTI Alliance Web Page


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wow very disturbing , I never thought about .. training and insurance for guards is most important !

It has always been mentioned on the NWHS/WTI Ally page at our website, There were just no details.



Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department to assist the authorities in tiger conservation in the state through the UP Tiger Conservation Project. The project takes a multi-pronged approach including conflict mitigation involving biologists, sociologists and veterinarians, tiger status monitoring and capacity building of Forest Department staff.
These efforts include, but not limited to; Tiger Status Monitoring, Human–Tiger Conflict Mitigation, Rapid Response Teams and
Capacity Building and Training.

paulinel said:

wow very disturbing , I never thought about .. training and insurance for guards is most important !

The capacity building and training of Forest Department staff, is of extreme importance, because these guys are on the ground, frontline, handling the problems that effect tigers and other wildlife. They deal with human/tiger conflict, and even translocation of problem tigers. They also, of course, deal with poachers.

They need equipment, and accident and life insurance is sadly a huge need too. Poachers are very well equipped. We can at least make sure Forest Guards have decent shoes on their feet.

If people want to help wild tigers, then helping the Forest Guards is a big part of that effort.

I can't help financially now, but I will save the link and go back. I WILL remember to do so.

I read it Patrick. One can certainly see the need for financial support.

We tiger conservationists and all those who care, desire the Forest Guards to do the very best job possible, to protect the last remaining tigers in India, from harms way.

While the independent poachers and poaching syndicates have the very most modern equipment, firearms and communication devices, many Forest Guards could do a better job if they just had a decent pair of shoes.

Agreed, that's why we are taking this on. It's a needed investment in the future of wild tigers

Mandi Traut said:

I read it Patrick. One can certainly see the need for financial support.

They are putting their lives on the line for tigers. So thankful for them. Helping pay for their training and insurance is a great way of saving the tigers. I pray for these people on the front lines and their families. I will keep site to help out when I get more money soon. Thanks for the information Catman.

There's also a level of corruption in the Forest Guards, a few bad apples. Low pay entices them to get involved with poaching.

However, increasing training, providing decent equipment and getting them insurance to protect their families, helps to avoid the pitfalls of the corruption that's so easy to fall into (and profitable). Being well equipped instills a strong sense of pride. It also allows WTI to keep close to them, through the ongoing training, and work side by side. That too decreases the chances of straying into the poacher's world.

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