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Aaranyak’s specialised anti-poaching dog squad mourns passing of Sheela

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HT Bureau

Guwahati, Aug 9: The renowned K9 unit, a specialised anti-poaching dog squad of Aaranyak, experienced a heart-wrenching loss with the passing of one of its esteemed members, Sheela, early on Wednesday morning. Sheela, a Belgian Malinois dog, was stationed at the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and played a pivotal role in wildlife conservation efforts, leaving a sense of sorrow among the Aaranyak family and the broader wildlife conservation community in the region.

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Sheela joined Aaranyak’s elite K9 Sniffer Dog Squad in June 2019, following intensive training. Her assignments included assisting park authorities and forest departments in anti-poaching measures and detecting wildlife crimes. She served in prominent wildlife reserves such as Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, and Raimona National Park, and was stationed at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary under the care of her handler Rahul Das during her final days.

One of Sheela’s significant accomplishments was her role in tracking down criminals responsible for poaching a baby bear in Manas National Park. In June 2022, Sheela’s remarkable tracking abilities led her handler to specific households within a village near the park, ultimately exposing the individuals involved in the killing of the baby bear. This accomplishment highlighted the valuable role that trained K9 squad members can play in solving wildlife-related cases and promoting harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife.

Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, CEO of Aaranyak and a renowned wildlife conservationist, expressed his deep sorrow over Sheela’s loss. He stated about Sheela’s contributions to wildlife protection and referred to her as a conservation hero.

The K9 dog squad, consisting of five Belgian Malinois dogs and their handlers, has actively assisted forest and police officials in various protected areas, including Kaziranga Tiger Reserve, Manas National Park, and Orang National Park. Their efforts have led to the arrest of numerous poachers by law enforcement agencies. The operational costs for Sheela were supported by NABU International.

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Dr Barbara Maas of NABU International paid tribute to Sheela’s memory, describing her as a bright-spirited, loving, and determined soul.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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