I saw them filter noiselessly through the forest, their camouflage outfits blending perfectly into the foliage of the Pench Tiger Reserve. Moments later they were gone, swallowed by the jungle.
I marvelled at the ease with which they moved, searching the game trails for human footprints, lethal jaw-traps and snares. After decades of dogged demands, we actually have a trained anti-poaching team in place, dedicated exclusively to protecting tigers in a geography that had been losing cats to the poaching trade faster than cubs were being born.
A handful of these special teams had been set up simultaneously in 2012, including the one I was with in Pench, Maharashtra this year.
Fighting poachers, changing traditions
The women of the Pench Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) we had just caught sight of would only return to home base six hours and 18 kilometers later. Entirely funded by the National Tiger Conservation…
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