KENDRAPARA: Installation of camera traps has commenced in Bhitarkanika National Park here. Forest personnel have recently installed 20 cameras in the first phase to monitor the movements of animals and poachers.
Divisional forest officer (DFO) of the park JD Pati said, “We have installed the cameras to gather first-hand knowledge about both herbivorous and carnivorous species in the park. The Forest department will install a pair of cameras to cover a stretch of two sq km. A total of of around 300 cameras will be installed in the park under All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) Project, 2021-22.”
The DFO further informed that camera traps that capture wildlife are mostly activated by infrared sensors at night. They capture images by detecting body heat or movement of any animal. These cameras are designed in a camouflaged way to protect them from animals and humans.
The department recently conducted capacity building training for forest personnel to properly handle the cameras, said Pati who is also the nodal officer of AITE Project, Odisha chapter. As per the 2020 animal census, Bhitarkanika is home to 3,118 spotted deer, 1,811 wild boars, 2,250 rhesus macaques, 61 common langurs, 366 jackals, 44 fishing cats, 10 hyenas, 144 otters , 17 jungle cats, 24 mongooses, 10 foxes, two leopards, 23 porcupines, 13 Indian civet cats, four sambars and seven hares. “The census report relied heavily on sighting forms. After installation of camera traps, we will get correct census data on the animals,” added the forest officer.
Bhitarkanika is also the abode of 1,768 crocodiles as per the reptile census report of January this year. Crocodiles frequently venture into the water bodies of nearby villages. The camera traps will help forest personnel to monitor movements of the reptiles in areas around the park, the DFO added.