E-patrol for tiger reserves, GIB habitats
Jaipur: Conservation gets a shot in the arm with the Rajasthan forest department switching over to use technology to monitor the tigers and critically endangered Great Indian bustard, GIB.
Forests of Ranthambhore and Sariska Tiger Reserve and GIB areas of Jaisalmer will soon use satellite based technology 'E-Patrol' to automate the process of monitoring the far and distant areas of the forest with just the click of a button. But that's not all. Now these areas will also be under the watchful eyes of officers sitting in Jaipur through a mobile app.
"It is android based software developed by a Bengaluru based company that has successfully been tried in 20 other tiger reserves. This was launched in Ranthambhore on February 9, 2017 by the forest minister, Gajendra Khimsar. Now 1700 sq km of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, RTR and Kailadevi forests covered by 170 beats are fully covered and equipped with GPS enabled smart phones connected with the satellite at the cost of Rs 30 lakh," said YK Sahu, field director RTR.
Now forest guards positioned at different locations in the tiger reserve will have to take a selfie when they start their patrolling in the morning. This would automatically be geo-tagged and loaded on the server and known to the base station. Enroute if they come across a pug mark, tree felling, animal carcass or body parts etc signifying illegal activities, they will have to take a picture which will automatically reach out to the software enabled phones and systems. And just in case they don't receive signals at the location, all data would be stored in the phone and would automatically be uploading on the server as soon as they would get network.
This is aimed at effective patrolling and protection, wildlife crime control, habitat monitoring and effective management to a great extent. It will ensure accountability of forest guards in patrolling tiger reserves and enhance transparency in their functioning. The system would enable field managers to assist intensity and spatial coverage of patrols in a geographic information system (GIS) domain which would also be monitored from Jaipur.
While in RTR the program is fully operational in Sariska it is on a trial and covers only part of the forest and so is it in Jaisalmer, presently. But in due course of time all tourist vehicles also moving in the reserve will be geo-tagged and monitored by officials.
"The success rate of this technological up gradation is 85 per cent as it is an unfamiliar thing for the old staff. The rest of the field staff is undergoing training and once done it will lead to recording their daily patrolling and their effort to monitor the forest," said Sahu.
Source: The Times of India