The Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR), Jharkhand’s lone tiger reserve in Latehar district, will soon deploy three drones to carry out air surveillance of the protected forest for better management and prevent incidents of poaching.
Installation of the drones is a part of the modernisation drive initiated by the Jharkhand government that lays stress on using hi-tech equipment for keeping a tab on crimes against wild life.
The latest tiger census data released in December 2014 had put the numbers of the tigers in this reserve, that is spread over an area of 1,026 square kilometres, to only three triggering a debate over the management of the park.
“We have initiated the process of installing modern surveillance equipment for keeping a watch on the activities inside the forest area. This will ensure better management of the game reserve besides helping us prevent incidents of poaching,” field director of the Palamu Tiger Reserve, Arun Singh Rawat, told Hindustan Times.
“In the first phase, drones and other surveillance equipment will be used in the Betla National Park of the PTR. We have invited a Noida-based company to give an on-site demonstration,” Rawat added.
Betla National Park, that is spread over an area of 56 square kilometres, is the tourism zone of the tiger reserve.
Sources said that the state government recently allocated funds to PTR authorities for purchasing the drones, CCTV cameras and binoculars with night vision monitors so that increasing incidents of poaching of wild animals can be effectively curbed.
However, a final clearance from the Union home, defence and civil aviation ministries is awaited before the orders for the drones, which will cost around Rs 7 lakh each, can be placed.
PTR will become only the third tiger reserve in the country after Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra to have this facility where every activity inside the protected area is captured on camera and monitored by the officials.