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| Last Updated:: 24/12/2016

Fauna e-surveillance system in Maharashtra tiger reserve to be solar powered










The first electronic surveillance system in Maharashtra to prevent poaching and track faunal movement for minimising man- animal conflict will be powered through non-conventional energy.



The project, which will cover the Tadoba- Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) and the neighbouring Chandrapur forest division, which has the highest concentration of tigers in the state, will help monitor animal movement in an unobtrusive manner. It will prevent activities like tree felling, encroachment and animal grazing, which can increase biotic pressures. The surveillance system, which officials said would be the most advanced in the country, will ensure forest staff are on their guard and alert them in case of emergencies.



"Each camera will be powered by hybrid power systems," Pravin Srivastava, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF- Information Technology and Policy) told DNA, noting that this was done in tough areas by security agencies like the Army.



He added that the e-surveillance project would be energised using wind and solar energy and equipped with power backup. This will do away with need for forest clearances which would have been necessitated if electric lines were laid in forest areas.



"If conventional electrical transmission lines are laid, it will attract the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980," explained Srivastava, adding that wind velocity in the monsoons would help energise the system when sunlight may be scarce.



The feed will also be relayed using wireless systems from the high-resolution PTZ cameras mounted on about 52 towers to the command and control room for a real-time response. The system will be designed to capture both sound and video footage.



Srivastava said that the number of towers and cameras would be decided based on a final survey and the cameras will have 30X zoom function.



The forest department has chosen PTZ cameras instead of thermal cameras as the later work on the differential temperature between the human body and the atmosphere. The high temperatures in Chandrapur mean that that the difference between the two is low, explained Srivastava.



Work on the Rs 20 crore project is expected to be launched by March 2017 and is likely to be completed in a year.



"The command and control room staff will know tiger movement in a particular area and can forewarn people if they are close (to)... where tigers are roaming. This will minimise possible conflicts," explained Srivastava. This will be done using hooters fitted on towers which can warn both people and even officials in case of illegal intrusions or suspicious movements.



Similar e-Eye systems have be executed at the Corbett Tiger Reserve (Uttarakhand), Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary (Madhya Pradesh) and the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve (Assam), but officials said the one in Maharashtra would be more state-of-art. Officials admit that implementation of the project, which will cover areas with the highest tiger density and man- animal conflict, will be a challenging task.




The Tadoba tiger reserve is spread over a 625.40 sq km core area, and 1,101.77 sq km buffer and is estimated to have about 72 tigers. The adjoining Chandrapur territorial has about 50 tigers.