Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Monday, February 26, 2024

New wildlife conservation plan to deploy drones, mobile technology










The Centre will soon come out with a new 14-year road map to strengthen measures for wildlife conservation in India. It will be a comprehensive plan to increase number of protected areas (PAs) and manage them through high-tech surveillance like drones and centralised web-based digital equipment. 


The roadmap, National Wildlife Action Plan 2017-31, has been finalised after consulting states and other stakeholders, including conservationists. It covers all important issues concerning conservation, ranging from rehabilitation of threatened species to integrating climate change in wildlife planning, control of poaching and illegal trade, mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts and management of tourism in wildlife areas.

Though the existing 2002-16 plan, too, has these components, the new one (2017-31) has incorporated best practices from around the world and fixed timelines for not only increasing the number of protected areas, but also initiating a number of additional measures to strengthen surveillance and creating a fresh database of endangered species. 

At present, there are a total of 726 PAs (national park, wildlife sanctuaries and biosphere reserves) in the country covering 1.60 lakh sq km (4.88% of the geographical area). The 2017-31 will be the third such action plan. The first one was drafted and adopted in 1983. Under the new plan, the Environment Ministry has formulated detailed guidelines for using technology to check wildlife crimes. 


Besides promoting use of drones for surveillance, the plan talks about using mobile technology to develop digital field guides' for easy identification of various wildlife goods and their derivatives. "All the forest guards will be trained to use such mobile-based technology which will use the data from the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). All field information will be transmitted to centralised control rooms at state capitals for round-the-clock monitoring," said a senior environment ministry official. 



The plan also talks about conducting national level audit of wildlife trade using scientific methods to understand the change in global and Indian wildlife trade patterns and then ensure that preventive measures are in place to counter trade trends in the initial stages. 

On the issue of human-wildlife conflict, the new plan seeks to ascertain population status and trends for various species involved in intensive conflict situations with humans, and develop population management strategies for the various prioritised species and regions. 


It also gives detailed guidelines where different central ministries including agriculture, water resources, power, mining, tribal affairs and human resource development can help the Environment Ministry in one way or the other in the wildlife conservation plan. 









Source: The Economic Times