Strengthening Rapid Response teams at Kodagu Forest Circle, Karnataka

17 Jun, 2019

In Karnataka, the Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) project is working in Kodagu Forest Circle as the project pilot site, with two divisions, viz. Madikeri and Virajpet. Key HWC mitigation measures include capacity development support to the Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) and support in establishing an Early-Warning-and-Rapid Response system. Capacity Development of the RRTs includes not only training but also equipment support. As part of the Early Warning and Rapid Response system, it is essential for the RRTs to move immediately when they receive an early warning of an animal entering or nearing human habitation. For early response, the RRTs require fast and powerful vehicles, fitted with essential communication and basic monitoring equipment.

In the three project partner States, one of the key project measures that the project is focusing on, is vehicle support to the Rapid Response Teams for Early-Warning-and-Rapid Response system. Three types of vehicles are being procured for the RRTs under the project: Elephant and small-carnivore rescue vehicles. These will be a heavy-duty vehicles with a hydraulic system and specialised features which make it efficient for the RRTs on one hand and are animal friendly on the other. Small vehicles are being procured for easy mobility of the RRTs . In Karnataka, two Mahindra Thar have been procured for this category.

Two Mahindra Thar, to be used by the RRTs in Kodagu, were handed over by the Project to Karnataka Forest Department. The handing over was done by Sh Soumitra Dasgupta, Inspector General of Forest (Wildlife), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to Sh. Punati Sridhar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF- HOFF), in the presence of Sh Sanjai Mohan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Chief Wildlife Warden, Sh Subhash K Malkhede, Additional PCCF, Sh G V RangaRao, APCCF (Project Elephant), Dr Neeraj Khera, Team Leader HWC Project, GIZ, other senior officials of the Karnataka Forest department and GIZ.