Drones’ battery life hiccup in hunt for ‘maneater’ leopards - Hindustan Times
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Drones’ battery life hiccup in hunt for ‘maneater’ leopards

ByS Raju, Meerut
Aug 08, 2023 01:01 AM IST

Out of the total seven drones the forest department owns, the two recently bought ones have thermal sensors that allow them to spot any living object even if it’s hiding under the deep covers of a sugarcane field, they added.

Even as the search for two ‘maneater’ leopards in Bijnor district has picked up, it is marred with a technical snag that limits the efficiency of the exercise to an extent: the short battery-life of thermal sensor-equipped drones, forest officials said.

Sub-divisional officer Gyan Singh, an official deployed to locate the leopards, explained that their batteries get discharged within 20-25 minutes of usage. (File)
Sub-divisional officer Gyan Singh, an official deployed to locate the leopards, explained that their batteries get discharged within 20-25 minutes of usage. (File)

Out of the total seven drones the forest department owns, the two recently bought ones have thermal sensors that allow them to spot any living object even if it’s hiding under the deep covers of a sugarcane field, they added.

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ployeDed in the jungles of Bijnor, the key obstacle that the two unmanned aerial vehicles constantly face is their low battery life. Sub-divisional officer Gyan Singh, an official deployed to locate the leopards, explained that their batteries get discharged within 20-25 minutes of usage. “Five-ten minutes go in the take-off and landing of the drones. That gives us about 15 minutes to operate the drones,” Singh said.

“While they manage to find their precise location, the drones cannot keep up with the animals due to their short battery-life and the operator has to fly them back,” added Singh.

Singh said orders for batteries with better backup power have been placed.

Leopards spotted

The search teams, meanwhile, spotted the two ‘maneater’ leopards in Rehar area of the district on Monday. There, the animals hunted a goat placed as bait.

A day after issuing kill orders for the two leopards, which have reportedly killed a dozen people and injured 50 others over the last seven months, the forest officials reiterated that their priority was to neutralise the animals and elimination was only a last resort.

Senior forest officials from Lucknow and other districts were camping in Bijnor to monitor the search operation.

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