During June a short training activity for 15 senior rangers was conducted at Khao Laem National Park in response to evolving poaching tactics.
Known poaching trails are monitored in the national park and if illegal hunting is recorded the rangers will form rapid response teams. This is extremely hazardous as many poachers carry shotguns and home-made muzzle-loading rifles intended to kill wildlife. These weapons can also be turned on rangers in a bid to avoid arrest. So, to increase their efficiency and safety, rangers were taught a number of skills to improve their reactions and teamwork.
The course was intended to refresh ranger’s interception skills and was implemented in response to a noticeable increase in the use of snares.
Snare detection and removal is now considered a high priority by the park management to address evolving poaching tactics. All snares are recorded and mapped by rangers in the park monitoring software allowing teams to go back to their exact locations.
Content of the training
Training topics included silent field signals, ambushes and raids, search and arrest techniques and weapons safety. Most of these tactics are standard military drills so rangers with previous military experience were already familiar with them. This training therefore served as both a refresher and a way to improve cooperation within the teams.
In conjunction with this training, rangers were taught how to use GSM cellular trail cameras, camouflage and concealment of cameras. They were also shown ways to test cell coverage strength and processes to call the rapid reaction force into action.
The cameras have already recorded numerous armed poachers and we hope to soon see a decrease in snared wildlife.