Similipal gets 14 fully loaded campers to go after poachers

The campers also have remote controlled movable search lights to keep watch in all directions during night. 
The 14 Bolero campers have been modified to suit the working environment in the forests of Similipal and efficiently carry out protection duties in all conditions.
The 14 Bolero campers have been modified to suit the working environment in the forests of Similipal and efficiently carry out protection duties in all conditions.

BHUBANESWAR: Months after the formation of a joint task force followed by reinforcement of the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF), the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) has been bolstered with 14 customised multi-utility vehicles which would lend more teeth to the fight against poachers and smugglers.

The 14 Bolero campers have been modified to suit the working environment in the forests of Similipal and efficiently carry out protection duties in all conditions. The 14 four-wheel drive vehicles have been given to STR Foundation by the state government with support from Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC).

According to PCCF (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden Susanta Nanda, the customised vehicles are vital for the movement of frontline staff, transportation of camp equipment and carrying out patrolling at night during which the wild animals pose a risk to the life of personnel on duty.

Similipal happens to be the sixth-largest tiger reserve in the country in terms of geographical area and one of the densest in terms of forest cover. It has a 1,011.5 km length of road network connecting 214 anti-poaching camps, 16 watch towers and 19 check posts. However, many hills in STR like Meghaseni and Khairibiru are beyond 1,100 metres in elevation making monitoring and protection a daunting task.

The new customised vehicles will enable the movement of frontline staff for traversing the steep ghat roads as well as muddy dirt roads during monsoon. The vehicles are fitted with winches which will help forest officials in rescue operations, especially during monsoon.

These vehicles will be deployed in sensitive areas, especially in the core area for use by STPF, JTF and other frontline units for protection duty, he said.  “Effective protection of the tiger reserve will foster a viable tiger population with long-term survival,” he added.

The campers also have remote-controlled movable searchlights to keep watch in all directions during the night.  Moreover, the vehicles have been painted in olive green colour to camouflage with the forest to evade easy detection by poachers. Seats along with a hood have also been provided in the back to accommodate maximum frontline staff during patrolling.

4WD protection

 The vehicles have been filled with winches to help forest officials in rescue ops
 The campers have controlled movable searchlights
 The four-wheel drive vehicles have been camouflaged to evade detection by poachers

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