BENGALURU: Ahead of the national tiger census, staffers in Karnataka’s tiger reserves are trying out new technological interventions and apps on a trial basis to monitor tigers daily. They are conducting this exercise of the National Tiger Conservation Authority on the directions of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, before coming up with the final app and methodology for the census.
Officials from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which is working with NTCA and MoEFCC on the census said, “Minimal human intervention and maximum technology use is being planned for the census, due to the pandemic. Since Karnataka has been using Huli and M-Stripe apps for daily patrolling and other works, we thought of trying the new apps and other technological methods here also. Some trials are also being done in other states. However, a lot of thrust is being laid to Bandipur- Nagarhole- Wynad belt, which has the highest tiger density,” the WII official told TNIE.
The new apps are being tried out in Bandipur and Nagarhole Tiger Reserves. Karnataka forest department officials said, “New ecological and patrolling apps have been given to us for trial. We have been told to use them for a week or fortnight and give our feedback so that it can be improvised upon. They are not on playstore or any where else but are in-house and internally created ones.”
The official added that it is similar to the earlier ones, but asks to fill in more details which were earlier being collated manually, like the list of species sighted need not be written but chosen from the multiple options. With these apps the staff is also being trained on new technologies and gadgets.
“We are not keen on involving many volunteers for the census this time, main reason being the pandemic. Also, we have noticed that most volunteers are not serious about conservation and have very little knowledge. They look at it as a holiday — click photographs and enjoy a jungle trip,” said a senior department official.