The legal and advocacy programme of Aaranyak is yet another step that addresses the illegal wildlife crime and policy reforms to enhance wildlife conservation and protection in north eastern region of India. The programme scans various public policies and conduct research on social impact assessment of legislations and their amendments through study of social scenario, comparative laws and our constitutional and judicial principles.
The success of any anti-poaching efforts will ultimately depend on the rate of conviction. Due to lack of orientation and poor interpretation skills of the forest staffs, the existing wildlife, forest and environment laws are either not enforced or used properly to increase the rate of conviction to the poachers and smugglers involved in the illegal trade on wildlife contraband. Aaranyak has for the first time in North East India, started the legal orientation programme for the forest officials working in the Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks and other law enforcement and judicial officials in Assam in 1996. Since then, covering almost all the protected areas of Assam, Aaranyak has organised more than 18 legal orientation programmes. Advocate Gautom Uzir of Gauhati High Court is the Chief Legal Advisor of Aaranyak, he is in-charge of conducting the legal orientation camps for the benefit of forest staffs in Assam. Ajoy Kumar Das who joined Aaranyak in 2006 is the Associate Lawyer of the Legal programme.
The legal orientation camps often cover the laws like the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 as amended , Forest Conservation Act of 1980, Environment Protection Act of 1986,Biodiversity Act 2002, Indian Panel Code of 1860, Code of criminal Procedure of 1973, Indian Evidence Act of 1872, Arms Act of 1959, Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act of 1960 etc. The species included in Appendix 1 of CITES are also discussed in such legal orientation camps.
Wildlife Crime Monitoring Project (WCMP):
This programme also run a wildlife crime monitoring project which is in place since 1998 and generate intelligence regarding illegal killing of wild animals and share such intelligence with law enforcement agencies to check poaching of wildlife. This project also launched the K9 Sniffer Dog Squad in August 2011 by putting in service of forest officials a well trained Male Belgian Melinoise dog and its service so far being used by Kaziranga National Park and Pabitora WLS in Assam. The reason why we used this particular breed is because of their extreme prey drive capability. They are capable of even assisting arrests of suspects if the situation demands. Once they pick up a scent and track and come to a lead, they have the capability of outrunning and bringing the suspect down in case the suspect tries to escape. This breed has been successfully used as Military Working Dog by American and European forces. This sniffer Dog Squad has assisted the forest officials with vital clue of poacher's exit route after the rhino poaching incidences leading to arrest of culprits by the forest and police officials.