The state government is planning to install hidden cameras inside forest areas and at check gates to curb wildlife smuggling and other related crimes, according to senior forest department officials.
"We must take the help of technology to curb such crimes. If we install CCTV cameras at key places in forests and at some 250 check gates, we can clearly monitor who are entering the forest area and their activities," said Janardan Dibakar Sharma, principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) at the State Level Wildlife Week celebration ceremony, here.
Wildlife smuggling crimes are frequent in border areas of the state as smugglers often lure the locals to catch snakes, pangolin and rare turtles due to their demand in several neighbouring countries. Last year, a turtle smuggling racket was busted near Bhitarkanika sanctuary with recovery of 14 live turtles.
In Odisha, 18 sanctuaries, one national park and another one soon-to-be operating national park constitute the protected area network of the state, covering 6,611.12 sq km of land area, which is 4.2 per cent of the total geographical area and 11.37 per cent of the forest area of the state. Added to this is also a stretch of 20km wide marine habitat with 1408 sq. kms of seascape in Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary.
In first phase, CCTV cameras would be installed at Satkosia and Chandaka reserve forests and later the system would be adopted in other areas.
The state forest department is also planning to raise awareness among public to save the wildlife from poaching and killing.
"Time and again we get support from public. But we will continue to raise awareness among people," said R K Sharma, state secretary for environment and forest.