It is solar energy that came to the rescue of Corbett Tiger Reserve officials as they struggled to get eyes on the porous southern periphery of the vast reserve – where officials particularly fear intrusion of poachers.
Thermal cameras installed under EI (electronic I) surveillance project proved vastly helpful in tracking movements, not just of tigers but also humans. So much so that it may be replicated in other tiger populated states too.
Under a pilot project, Corbett was the only tiger reserve in the country chosen for trial of thermal cameras for better tiger conservation. Started in 2011, 9 cameras were affixed on the southern boundary of the reserve and authorities have now demanded more such cameras from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which is the prime funding authority.Sameer Sinha, director of the reserve, told Hindustan Times, "The high resolution and quality of these cams is exceptional. A total of 9 cameras have already been installed on our southern boundary and we have asked National Tiger Conservation Authority to provide 9 more cameras so that other sensitive areas could also be covered."
These cameras are installed within a 400 sq km range in southern boundary, at a height of 30 ft.
Significantly, EI surveillance is a technologically packed programme that enables thermal cameras to track movement of warm-blooded animals (especially carnivores and humans).
All cameras are connected to a master control room situated in Kalagarh forest division. The control room records every movement in the specified area.
Recording of more than two months can be reviewed through the control room. In addition, the cameras also send short message service (SMS) and e-mail alerts to CTR authorities as well as members secretary National Tiger Conservation Authority, Dr Rajesh Gopal if any movement is detected.
The cameras are connected through a wireless network.