Training programmes aimed at augmenting skills and capacities has to be a continuous process in order to update knowledge and keep pace with the changes, especially in the background of growing technology, said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, R. Sundararaju on Wednesday.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the "Training Programme on Conservation of Tigers and their Habitats for Field Staff of Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR)" organised by the Wildlife Conservation Society, (WCS) Osai, an NGO working for environmental protection and ATR of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department.
Mr. Sundararaju said that frontline field staff was crucial in the protection of the rich flora and fauna of the forests and their role was more pronounced in protecting the Tiger population in ATR. He said that there were 10 to 12 types of forests and the officials should be aware of specific categories to effectively prosecute plunderers of forest wealth.
He recalled that during the last two years, he had conducted a training programme with the help of the Central and State governments for nearly 1,800 field staff across the State on the need to protect and conserve all types of bio-diversity.
Field Director of ATR H. Basavaraju said that frontline staff definitely required such a training to handle situations and resolve them without aggravating the problems. Training would help the 85 anti-poaching watchers in 23 anti-poaching camps. He said that decline in the ‘prey base' would result in carnivores expanding their territory resulting in man-animal conflict situations. Mr Basavaraju pointed out that the Global Positioning System (GPS) was introduced for the first time in the Forest Department and it helped monitor the field staff. Speaking at the training programme, project co-ordinator of Osai, N. Sivaganesan said that there was a pertinent need to ensure that protected areas and reserves were maintained by ensuring zero disturbance of forest environment.
The slightest disturbance would make it an impossible situation in the conservation of the tiger population. He said that training in nine batches would be conducted over six months for all the 200 field staff of ATR of the total strength of 341. District Forest Officer (Tirupur) K. Rajkumar said that training was a continuous process to make one excel in the duty assigned to him.
Deputy Director of ATR and District Forest Officer (Pollachi) A. Thiyagarajan said that such training programmes were aimed at increasing efficiency of the field staff. N. Lakshmi Narayanan of WCS exhorted the participants to utilise the training programme effectively.