Cat tracker Combating Training hence
BHUBANESWAR: The Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF), dedicated to track the movement of big cats at Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), is scheduled to be trained up for combat training by the state police from May last .
The state government had recruited 63 personnel for STPF, the second such force in India after Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Bangalore, to be deployed at the STR.
As per schedule of the training programme ,the combat training will continue for a month, after which STPF personnel will be deployed for carrying out regular vigilance activities and during their deployment, the personnel will also receive wildlife training to check movement of poachers.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has sanctioned 112 STPF staff, recruitment for the remaining posts would be done after the state government gives a go-ahead.
“We used the services of STPF (temporarily) by forming a team of 17 foresters and 45 forest guards. The forest staffs were deputed from Baripada, Karanjia, Rairangpur and Similipal Tiger Reserve divisions. But following the new recruitment, we have a permanent and dedicated force,” said Naik.
STR is spread over 2,750 sq km with a core of area over 1,195 sq km and a buffer of 1,550 sq km. According to NTCA (2010 census), there are about 23 tigers in the sanctuary. The state government in 2004 claimed that the reserve had movement of 64 tigers.
“We don’t have exact figure of tigers except the one given by NTCA. After the STPF is pressed into the job, the big cat number can be ascertained,” said an official, adding that the central government asked the STR to set up the STPF in February.
In September, 2013, eleven forest staff from Similipal had gone on an exposure visit to Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh to learn hi-tech tiger tracking and protection system. “The senior forest officials, who visited Kanha, will supplement the training of the STPF staff after their combat training is complete,” said an official.