Wildlife Trust Of India

Protecting the protectors: Capacity Building of Frontline Forest Guards


Life is harsh for the lowest level in India’s state forest department hierarchy- the forest guards. Living in isolation under adverse conditions, these protectors of the wild do not even have proper field gear like shoes, jackets, torches, to conduct their duties well. Apart from the professional hazard of danger from wild animals, today forest guards in India often find themselves in combat like situations facing well-equipped, armed poachers and timber smugglers. While the wildlife trade network allows poachers to access more and more sophisticated weapons and combat tools, our forest guards are still mostly equipped with old, inefficient arms. This leaves most active forest guards exceedingly vulnerable to attacks, injury, manhandling and even death, in the line of duty.

What makes it worse for them and their families is that in case of injury, temporary disability or even death, compensations take a long time to process and most of the time when the money is received it is not adequate. This is especially true in cases where the injuries cause handicap or even death, leaving their families with no way to earn a living; often these men are the sole breadwinners in their families, in remote parts of the country.

Since the year 2000, over 10,000 frontline forest guards have been trained and equipped in over 125 protected areas under the Guardians of the Wild Division of WTI. The training empowers them with knowledge on how to combat and curb poaching of wildlife, especially tigers and illegal trade in tiger parts. These guards have also been equipped with a basic patrol kit that makes it possible for them to conduct their foot patrol activities more efficiently. WTI also runs a unique Group Accident Insurance Scheme, providing an insurance cover to over 17,000 frontline staff, in case of permanent disability or death on duty.

$100 USD will train and equip one Frontline Forest Guard

$10 USD will provide Accident Insurance Coverage for THREE Frontline Forest Guards!

Can you help? To learn more and assist, visit the NWHS/WTI Alliance Web Page