Drones to monitor vulnerable tiger reserve in Chhattisgarh

The fear of Maoists, lack of forest range officers apparently had created a fertile ground for the timber mafia in the tiger reserve in Gariyaband district.

Published: 05th November 2019 12:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th November 2019 12:42 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes (File Photo| AP)

By Express News Service

RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh forest department left shaken over the sizeable area of its Udanti Sitanadi tiger reserve encroached besides rampant felling of trees, will now carry out surveillance of the vulnerable areas with drones having higher mapping efficiency. 

The fear of Maoists, lack of forest range officers apparently had created a fertile ground for the timber mafia in the tiger reserve in Gariyaband district, about 180 km east of Raipur. The Chhattisgarh police had arrested over forty people who illegally intruded into the buffer zone of the reserve to settle there. They mostly belonged to Odisha.

Swami Vivekanand Technical University Bhilai has devised an advanced version of drone which they would be deploying for surveillance of the tiger reserve and the wildlife therein. Such drones, which will also be equipped with the night vision cameras, are claimed to be capable to closely examine and record the geological and forested terrain. The forest department hopes the monitoring of reserve easier by drones, the first such step in Chhattisgarh. 

“The initiative is based on a mutual understanding between the university and the state forest department. They will use the survey grade Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to monitor the reserve. The department will only provide logistic support. If we get encouraging results, it will be a win-win situation for both,” Atul Shukla, principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) told this newspaper. 

The Tiger reserve spread over 900 square km has over eight forest zones in which 73 posts of forest guards are presently vacant. 

The department has now set up a camp along Chhattisgarh’s borders with Odisha to monitor the area which has seen maximum destruction and tree felling. The National Tiger Conservation Authority is to visit the receiver to evaluate the loss. 

Chhattisgarh is the only state where the tiger population has dwindled by 59 percent since 2014. 


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