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Corbett tigers at risk: Digital system blinks as contract ends

The country’s top tiger protection agency doesn’t want to continue an expensive electronic surveillance system in Uttarakhand’s Corbett national park.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2017 23:32 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Corbett national park,Uttarakhand,Tigers
Corbett national park has more than 200 Royal Bengal tigers.(HT File Photo)

The country’s top tiger protection agency doesn’t want to continue an expensive electronic surveillance system with thermal imaging and infrared cameras in Uttarakhand’s Corbett national park that has more than 200 Royal Bengals.

Officials said a more viable technology could replace the system, called e-eye, of a private company.

“We are definitely not keen on continuing with e-eye in Corbett. We are discussing with the management on this. The officers have proposed some latest technology for protecting tigers,” said Debabrata Swain, the member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

The contract with the NTCA has expired and the company allegedly locked the cameras, putting the tiger reserve’s security at risk. The company has sought Rs 2 crore to meet maintenance expenses.

But the conservation agency decided junking the system after a committee reviewed the feasibility of nine towers equipped with cameras and gadgets to keep an eye on poachers at the southern end of Corbett adjoining Uttar Pradesh.

Similar assessment was done at Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh and Assam’s Kaziranga national park.

The committee’s recommendations do not support the system.

Sources said new technology with movable and sensitive cameras is favoured.

“The other two reserves are also facing some issues with the system. But we will take up each case step by step. We will decide about Corbett first,” Swain said.

The southern boundary of Corbett, spreading over 70km, is vulnerable to poaching.

There were reports of poachers killing a tiger in 2012 in the Savalde range close to densely populated villages in Uttar Pradesh.

Villagers often enter the park to gather firewood and other forest produce. It is difficult to stop the trespassing despite regular patrols, forest officials said.

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 23:32 IST