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20 cams for jumbo abode

Jamshedpur: Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary will soon have trap cameras installed at strategic locations to maintain a strict vigil on wildlife and curb illegal felling of trees.

The Ranchi wildlife division has recently sent a proposal to the state forest department to equip 20 cameras across the 192sqkm jumbo abode.

Dalma range officer R.P. Singh said cameras were essential at the sanctuary and they were expecting the funds to be released soon.

A trap camera is a remotely activated gadget equipped with a motion sensor or an infrared sensor or uses light beam as a trigger. Camera trapping is used to capture wild animals on film when researchers are not present and has been helpful in ecological research for decades.

Singh said they had already earmarked the locations, including water bodies such as Badka Bandh, Chhotka Bandh and Bijli Ghati, for setting up the cameras.

"The gadgets will be tied to the trees," Singh added.

According to him, the battery-operated cameras have compact discs for recording animal activities. "We can easily watch the movement of animals on our monitors via the recordings in the CDs."

They will also help foresters to stop illegal felling of trees to a large extent.

"There are gangs who chop off trees at places such as Nutandih. Cameras will be handy in tightening the vigil against such activities," he said.

The vast area of the Dalma sanctuary makes it practically impossible to keep a watch on the movement of animals, including elephants.

The Dalma range office has recruited daily wagers who work as trackers to keep a watch on the animals, but still can't cover the entire area.

Four CCTV cameras were put up at the sanctuary two years back. "One camera was stolen while three were taken back by the agency, which had installed the gadgets, because of pending payment," Singh said.

He said the rebels might have stolen the camera as they thought their presence was being monitored.

"Now there is no threat of CPI(Maoists) at the sanctuary. So we can go ahead with installing the cameras," Singh explained.

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