Foresters plan to fix AI cameras in Gudalur forest division

Sources said the project, which costs Rs 2.08 crore, is being evaluated by the state-level technical advisory committee.
Representative image
Representative image

NILGIRIS: Officials of Gudalur forest division in Nilgiris have sent a proposal to the government seeking approval to install advanced AI-based cameras in 12 locations in the division to prevent negative interaction between humans and elephants.

Sources said the project, which costs Rs 2.08 crore, is being evaluated by the state-level technical advisory committee. If approved, this would be a first in the state.  Gudalur forest officials had earlier proposed to install 90 normal cameras.

According to sources, the proposed AI camera has an in-built processing chip and algorithms stored in it, unlike other AI based monitoring systems. The camera can detect animal movement even at a distance of two kilometres. Once an elephant is detected, the camera will send signals and activate sirens installed near human habitations to alert people. Field level staff, forest range officers, and the command control system will also get alert messages.  

Sources in the department said the location of the installation of these cameras has not yet been finalised. Tender will be floated once the technical committee approves the project.

After analysing the project for close to three months, officials of Gudalur forest division have come to the conclusion that the project would not harm wild animals as well as bio-diversity of the region.

“We have proposed the cameras that will work under the active and passive system and the solutions that we are giving should not harm bio-diversity since using infrared and radar will disturb the animal movement. Each camera will have both a passive and active system.

There will be an in-built microphone, a thermal sensor, and visible rays under the passive system and active system gets triggered if any one of these, like a microphone, or thermal sensor, etc identifies the animal, and the camera will flash for one time in the active system.

Active system gets triggered and IR rays will be flashed to capture the images. We have also proposed millimetre-wave and non-ionising rays that have no harmful effects against the wild animal. Our proposal does not even affect bats, birds, or trees indirectly,” said a senior official of the division.

“We will follow the guidelines mentioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs, including the purchase of cameras, and their parts will be manufactured by Indian Companies,” the official said.

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