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Gurgaon: Wildlife dept maps Sultanpur park with drones for ‘scientific upkeep’

Map will be used to check the status of Sultanpur lake, its catchment area and the park’s tree cover, among other things

gurgaon Updated: Feb 01, 2018 23:27 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
Sultanpur National Park,drone,mapping
Of the 1,800 migratory bird species in the world, nearly 370 species migrate to India. Among these, over 250 species of birds have been sighted at the Sultanpur lake which is inside the national park. (HT File Photo)

With a view to protect the habitat at the Sultanpur National Park and improve the wetland’s topography to ensure its protection as a hotspot for migratory birds, the wildlife department conducted drone mapping of the park on Tuesday.

A drone equipped with cameras hovered over the park for three hours and took images. The department is expected to get the results of the mapping activity within a week, after which it would start analysing the results for more scientific management of the park.

Officials of the forest department said a plan will be made to maintain the park properly.

A group of five wildlife staffers were involved in the exercise that was conducted on Tuesday. The map will also be used to determine the status of the water body in the park and its catchment area.

Vinod Kumar, conservator of wildlife, South Haryana, said, “Drone mapping gives accurate details about the area and a 3D record of the land will be preserved for future reference. Survey of the place on foot is difficult, so we decided to conduct drone mapping. It will help us to develop data of tree life and conduct density mapping.”

The mapping activity helped the department capture the minutest details of the protected area which is spread over 352 acres. Of this, 180 acres are part of a water body that attracts more than 30,000 birds from India, Europe, Russia, China and the Gulf countries during the winter months.

Of the 1,800 migratory bird species in the world, nearly 370 species migrate to India. Among these, over 250 species of birds have been sighted at the Sultanpur lake which is inside the national park.

Forest department officials said the topography and green cover would be analysed vis-à-vis the total area of the park. This analysis will help the department identify the need for, and the areas where, tree density needs to be increased for birds, officials said.

“The study of the images from the drone will put light on the density of trees and topography of the area,” said Kumar.

Also, the area under the Sultanpur lake will be evaluated to see if more mounts are needed for birds.

Later, the wildlife department will also implement the similar plan in other forest areas, officials said.

Birders welcomed the drone mapping of the park and called it a positive move. “It is a good way to collect data for long-term use and record-keeping,” Pankaj Gupta, a birder with the Delhi Bird Foundation, said.

The drone mapping initiative comes even as a request for notifying the neighbouring Basai as a wetland sits with the state government. The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram plans to start a construction and demolition waste processing unit there.

Experts and birding enthusiasts are of the view that Basai attracts a larger variety of migratory birds than the Sultanpur National Park.

The Sultanpur lake was declared a bird sanctuary in 1972. In 1989, the reserve was upgraded to a national park.

The species of birds spotted at the Sultanpur park last year, included pallid scops, Asian brown flycatcher, Cetti’s warbler, tickell’s leaf warbler, ashy-headed green pigeon, grey-headed fish eagle, smoky warbler, grey-hooded warbler, jungle nightjar, spotted crake and lesser florican.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 23:26 IST