The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) will soon be under complete drone camera surveillance, DTR field director Ramesh Pandey told PTI here, today.
Work for the surveillance programme, which is being called e-bird project, has already begun. A pilot operation was conducted on International Tiger Day, July 29, where drone cameras were used to monitor rhinos in the rehabilitation area.
"Within just 30 minutes, we were able to locate and monitor nine rhinos in the rehabilitation area. We managed to keep a close watch on them without being noticed," Pandey said.
The e-bird project is a joint initiative of DTR and Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun. WII, Dehradun, will provide required number of drone cameras to DTR and also give training to the forest staff, Pandey said.
"Drone cameras will assist the patrolling teams to keep a watch on the movement of tigers, leopards, rhinos, Dudhwa jumbos and other wild species. They will further help in habitat management, countering man-animal conflicts and checking criminal activities," said.
"To ascertain the number of drones required, WII will take up surveys in all parts of DTR - Dudhwa National Park (680 sq km), Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary (204 sq km), Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (478 sq km) and Dudhwa buffer zone also known as north Kheri forest division (1,107 sq km)," he said.
Monitoring wildlife in the tiger reserve has been a major challenge for field staffers over the years. The rough terrain is interspersed by Mohana, Sharda rivers and numerous small canals and water bodies. Moreover presence of carnivorous animals, and waterlogged routes during the rainy season pose a great challenge to the patrolling teams.
During the monsoon season, patrolling is severely restricted and DTR officials hope the e-bird project will help better monitor the area.
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