It was a sad day for forest officials and wildlife lovers as Zorba, India’s first dog used for tracking down poachers died in Guwahati due to old age.
Zorba, a male Belgian Malinois, was a member of K9, the country’s first dog squad for wildlife crimes was 12 years old. He is credited with helping law enforcement authorities nab over 60 poachers.
Following a warm farewell by forest officials and well-wishers, he was buried in the capital on Tuesday.
On Independence Day, this year Zorba who had retired from service in 2019 was honoured for his services with a traditional Assamese gamosa and a citation.
From 2012 till his retirement, Zorba had served mostly in the Kaziranga National Park and helped authorities to nab people involved in rhino poaching. On many occasions, he was deployed in other national parks.
In one case which took place in Orang National Park in Assam, Zorba provided vital clues from the crime scene which led to the identification of the suspect’s house outside the park, following which the accused was arrested.
K9 was set up in Assam in 2011 under the initiative of biodiversity organisation Aaranyak. Talking to the media about Zorba, Bibhab Talukdar, Aaranyak’s CEO said: “Zorba’s contribution during his lifetime will always be remembered and we will always regard him as a conservation hero.”
The dog squad K9 includes six Belgian Malinois dogs who along with their handlers have helped police and forest officials in the Kaziranga and Manas National Parks and also other rhino-inhabited areas in Assam. Their assistance has resulted in the arrest of many poachers.