Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Need of hour: Wildlife forensics debuts at GFSU

In a first of its kind initiative , the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU) is training 20 students in the field of wildlife forensics, keeping in mind the need for experts to solve cases ranging from animal attacks to mauling of bodies dumped in forested areas. Varsity seniors said as part of practical training for the elective course, the Gandhinagar-based institute has taken special permission from the state to allow students a chance to study animals in Gir and other protected forest areas in Gujarat.

The elective, offered to those pursuing a Masters of Science in Odontology, is part of the varsity’s endeavour to increase the avenues of forensic sciences under which they can train and create future forensic experts. Director General of GFSU, J M Vyas, said, “It has been observed that wildlife-related crime cases — be it crimes that have taken place in forests or where animals have attacked people — have been recorded frequently in India and abroad. The varsity decided to focus on training students in wildlife forensics that will play a key role in solving such cases and also track animal movement.”

All 20 students will visit the Gir forest and later other forest areas of Gujarat to track wild animals and study their behaviour, said Director of GFSU Dr MS Dahiya. Dr T Bhavya Chowdary, one of the students who recently completed the field trip to Gir, said,“Odontology is a new concept for Indian forensics but will be very useful in the future. I spend two months in Gir for my research. As per rules, people are not allowed to touch schedule 1 animals without permission so the institute procured required permits following which I ventured into the forests with local staff. This course and my research will be useful in detection and solving of cases. In fact, I intend to prepare teeth casts of various animals too.”

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