November 23, 2016
To help the Anti-Poaching Watchers (APW) working with the Coimbatore Division of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department (TNFD) fight the winter cold, TNFD is providing them with overcoats this week.
According to D. Boominathan, Landscape Coordinator of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Coimbatore, which is sponsoring the overcoats, the coats will help the 136 APWs in the six ranges in Coimbatore who are involved in elephant drives throughout the night to withstand the severity of the cold.
In addition, District Forest Officer R Ramasubramaniam said that the department was also planning to provide them with food every night during elephant drives as they cannot go out of the field to eat and then return.
According to one of the APWs, elephants continue to venture out of the reserve forest regularly during the migratory winter season and the APWs are expected to be in the field on all occasions for the safety of people and farmers. However, lack of safety equipment, including torches, was proving a hindrance to the APWs who risk life and limb walking on the elephant trails to chase them back into the reserve forest.
The DFO said that the department would address all the difficulties faced by the APWs in a phased manner taking one issue at a time. He added that apart from food during the night, tea would also be provided to the APWs during night hours.
“We are also planning to provide the children of APWs with school dresses, geometry boxes and shoes to help in the social and economic upliftment of their families,” he said, adding that the APWs deserved to benefit from such initiatives.