Drone technology is fast finding use in almost every sector including security, search and rescue, surveillance, law and order, etc. The latest use of drone technology is as a tool in the man-animal conflict in and around forest areas.
Man and animals are always at loggerheads especially in the buffer zone around national parks. To prevent such attacks scientists at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun have started using drone technology to prevent any clash between man and wild animals.
WII’s wildlife scientist, K Ramesh, in-charge of the project talking to PTI said that besides surveillance, drones have been found to be useful in preventing conflicts. Drones can be flown for short distances around the periphery of the forests to keep track of elephants and other large mammals which have strayed into nearby villages.
If the villagers notice wild animals in the close vicinity of human habitats, they can inform the forest department officials who can dispatch a drone equipped with GPS and high-resolution cameras to pinpoint the location of the wild animals. It could be safely driven back into the forest without any danger to humans as well as the animal.
Elephants can be particularly dangerous as they can destroy standing crops and are usually difficult to control especially when they are in heat.
Samir Sinha, Corbett Tiger Reserve’s field director, said that an eye on the sky in the form of a drone will make a lot of difference in wildlife management.
Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve director – Pradeep Vyas said drones could act as a force multiplier for them. It will be possible to scan an area as big as 15 to 20 sq km from one location.
Trials have been completed in Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. The wildlife department is improving the UAV to add features like night vision, landing capabilities, increased endurance and speed. The air-frame of the UAV is also being improved to make it able to fly in the rain.