Drone-mounted cameras keep vigil on Betla National Park
Betla National Park under the Palamau Tiger Reserve is using drones with an aim to keep poachers and hunters away from the park. The drone is being flown mostly before the sunset. This operation is overseen by N Kumar, a 2018 batch Indian Forests Service officer, who is on his probation here.
Betla range is spread over 48.49 sq km and the park area is less than half of the total area of the Betla range. The drone covers one-kilometer radius of the park.
Kumar Ashish, deputy director, North division of Palamau Tiger Reserve said that they are using the drone to keep off dubious elements away from the park and it has also started to show its effects.
He also informed that people with evil intentions sneak into the park during the sunset, hence they have decided to fly the drones around that time, as it is a deterrent to such poachers and hunters.
“We are planning to have a drone that can be flown at night, which would be an advanced version of the present drone,” said Ashish.
Apart from the drone surveillance, Betla National Park has been fitted with over a dozen live cameras which our forest personnel scan round the clock at the range office at Betla, stated Ashish. He also said that the installation of the live cameras has helped to improve the management of the park.
Ashish said that the park environment is gradually looking up. He said, “Our main thrust now is to connect the villagers to the park making them feel that the park and the wildlife need to co-exist with them.”
According to sources, the rebels who were very suspicious of the cameras in the Palamau Tiger Reserve thought it to be a tool of police to take note of their presence and movement and the cameras pose no problem to them. But the change of the stance of the rebels has everything to do with the business of the Palamau Tiger Reserve, which is neither pro-rebels nor pro-police but all pro-active of the wildlife.