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Anti-poaching unit to be strengthened with 3 more Malinois
Rituraj Borthakur

A Belgian Malinois undergoing training
 GUWAHATI, May 13 - Three more Belgian Malinois will join the anti-poaching K9 unit of Aaranyak by this year-end, in what is expected to give a big fillip to the ongoing operations against rhino poachers.

 Germany’s NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) International is supporting the three new dogs. Founded in 1899, NABU is one of the oldest and largest environment associations in Germany.

“The three new dogs, a little over one year in age, are being trained in different forest ranges of the State. Their training had begun in September last year. A German training was also here in December. We hope by end of this year, we can deploy them in the K9 unit,” Aaranyak secretary general Bibhab Kumar Talukdar told The Assam Tribune.

Currently, the K9 squad has three dogs, one of them – Jubi (a female) – deployed just recently at Kaziranga and is still undergoing on-field training. She is being used for patrolling in the park as of now.

The K9 dog squad was used for the first time in Kaziranga National Park in 2013. In 2011 and 2012, the same K9 dog squad was stationed in Pabitora wildlife sanctuary.

Currently, Jorba, a trained member of the K-9 dog squad trained as a tracker dog, has been stationed at Kaziranga for investigating wildlife crimes in the park. Used in over 30 operations so far, Jorba has been instrumental in nabbing a number of poachers. Babli is a back-up dog stationed in Guwahati which is sent to rhino bearing areas other than Kaziranga whenever needed.

Three of the dogs are supported by The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) of UK.

Skilled at tracking, detecting, guarding and apprehending, the Malinois breed is favoured for this highly specialised work as they are known to be intelligent, loyal, agile and sturdy. The canines faithfully sniff out bullet caches, carcasses and poacher pathways, but their most intense task is actually going toe-to-toe with the poachers themselves.

“The reason why we used this particular breed is because of their extreme prey drive capability. They are capable of even assisting arrests of suspects if the situation demands. This breed has been successfully used as military working dog by American and European forces,” Talukdar added.

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