Guardians of the Wild

NOTE: This is a guest post from Jose Louies, Head of Department, Guardians of the Wild, Wildlife Trust of India.

Mohammad Hasen Ali (inset) and his team was patrolling their beat in Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park in Assam, India at about 2.30 am in 2010, when they encountered a gang of rhino poachers. Shots were fired and the poachers made good their escape leaving behind a wounded Hasen Ali. Aliís team rushed him to the nearest medical facility but he was declared dead on arrival. Ali is survived by his wife, Rabia Khatun, his aged parents and six children (two daughters and four sons). He was the only earning member in the family.

Almost every day, India’s forest guards face this and other harsh realities while protecting the country’s wildlife. In addition to adverse field conditions and chance encounters with animals, they also often find themselves exchanging fire with much better-armed criminals. In many cases (as with Ali), the sole breadwinners in their families, their difficulties aggravate in case of permanent injuries or even death during these encounters, affecting their morale while carrying out their duties.

Aliís family received $2000 as terminal benefit facilitated through Wildlife Trust of India (WTI)ís Guardians of the Wild (Van Rakshak Project) that runs a unique, non-bureaucratic Group Accident Insurance Scheme for front-line forest guards across the country. Ali was among the 18,000 forest guards insured under this scheme. While the financial relief is but a small token to honor his sacrifice, the insurance scheme will give thousands of forest guards like Hasen Ali a sense of security and motivation to provide better protection to wildlife in India.

Besides this critically important Insurance Scheme, WTIís Guardians of the Wild project also trains and equips front-line forest staff across the country to combat wildlife crime. More than 8,600 front-line forest staff members from over 100 protected areas and more than 25 other wildlife areas have been trained under this project till date.

To learn more about the Guardians of the Wild (Van Rakshak) Project, visit their website.

Photo by Wildlife Trust of India

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Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright3 years ago

Poachers need to be shot questions asked. I have to agree with Thomas M's comments. Agree 100%!

Mary B.
Mary B.3 years ago

This is exactly why all people, every where must be given a stipend to live on every month. Poverty leads to such desperation. Jobs should be the means to earn extra money, not the only money people have because there can never be enough jobs. And the global banks must supply this money.

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A.3 years ago

I only a wish the do gooders are prepared to put their hand in their pockets and support such heros as ALI.

Indian government can do this them selves instead of building bigger and bigger arsenals and mas destruction tools, spend a bit on improving the wildlife protectors firepower.

If these people are given superior fire power then the robbers will think twice before taking them on for a fight. A lot of poachers are also desperate and would do any thing to keep themselves and their families fed. Employment opportunities help reducing such crimes. All the multi Billion corporates, financiers and bankers can help too by paying a fair amount in taxes.

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S.3 years ago

I'm glad their families get something and that this great idea was implemented. I wish it could be more, since these brave guardians are losing their lives.

Leena Fernandez
Leena Fernandez3 years ago

yes Isabel, it is always the good ones who stand their ground that get hurt. these forest guards are the first line of defence that the wild animals have. we have to do everything we can to protect them while they battle on as selflessly as Hasen Ali did.

s. ryan
p. q3 years ago


Christine Stewart

I am grateful WTI was able to provide a small bit of consolation to brave Mr. Ali's family.

Nicole Weber
Nicole W.3 years ago

I agree with Nelson B.

Isabel A.
Isabel Araujo3 years ago

It is sad whwn the good ones get hurt.... Thank you.

Julia B.

A wonderful man, I hope that this will inspire lawmakers.