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High-res camera tower by November at Okhla sanctuary to watch birds

A first such in any bird sanctuary in the country, the high-resolution camera will be installed at a height to sweep over a minimum radius of 500 metres, officials said.

noida Updated: Jun 04, 2019 14:36 IST
Kushagra Dixit
Kushagra Dixit
Hindustan Times, Noida
okhla bird sanctuary,camera tower at okhla sanctuary,GB Nagar forest dept
The camera tower will be set up at the Okhla bird sanctuary before the birding season in winter.(Sunil Ghosh / HT Photo )

Come November, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, which has over 300 species of migratory and residential birds, is going have a visual treat for birders — the district forest department has planned to build a tower mounted with 360-degree high-resolution camera to monitor its avifauna.

A first such in any bird sanctuary in the country, the high-resolution camera will be installed at a height to sweep over a minimum radius of 500 metres, officials said.

The authorities have also planned to establish an interpretation centre at the sanctuary that would telecast live visual outputs of birds from the camera. Officials said a dedicated software that recognises bird species would provide details about the birds being monitored or captured by the camera.

The Gautam Budh Nagar forest department said three spots have been shortlisted for the camera tower. “These spots were found to be most suitable owing to their proximity to the vegetation and the water body where a large number of birds congregate mostly, as observed over the last five years during peak birding season,” Pramod Kumar Srivastava , divisional forest officer, Gautam Budh Nagar, said.

The forest department aims at making the camera tower and the interpretation centre fully functional by the coming winter — the next birding season.

Officials said tenders will be floated soon and the project will be made functional by October end, since monsoon season is not deemed suitable for birding.

“It will be a distinct facility and we expect it to attract more people to the park for bird watching. It will enhance our capabilities to manage the sanctuary and monitor the bund,” Srivastava said.

While the officials anticipate the cost of the camera to be around Rs 5 lakh, the cost of the tower, interpretation centre, software and a dedicated website will be evaluated after tenders are floated later this month.

Officials said in the first phase, while live feed of the camera will be displayed in the interpretation centre which will be open to public. In the second and third phase, the live feed will be available on a dedicated website.

“At present, there is no such system of monitoring at any bird sanctuary in the country. Only the Lion Safari in Etawah has high-res cameras with the live feed put on screens installed there,” a forest official said.

Spread across an area of 400 hectares, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary during the birding season of January 2019 hosted 24,374 virds, the highest number of birds since 2015. “After Nairobi, Delhi-ncr hosts the highest number of birds species across the world. Okhla stands threatened due to pollution in the Yamuna. However, it’s a welcome move if forest department executes such a plan well,” Bikram Grewal, a Delhi-based eminent birder, said.

First Published: Jun 04, 2019 14:36 IST