More cameras to monitor tigers at Nagarahole

Karnataka has highest population of tigers and elephants

More cameras to monitor tigers at Nagarahole

The State Forest department will instal 198 pairs of cameras in 643 sq km area of Nagarhole Tiger Reserve from December 15, 2014 to January 15, 2015 to monitor and record animal and human movement, in pursuance of the guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority.

“The aim is to break free of researchers and non-governmental organisations who instal cameras for their research projects but do not share data with us. We want to have our own database of all animals. These cameras will be used during next tiger census,” R Gokul, Director, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve said here on Wednesday.

He was speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a function for receiving 300 cameras, donated by CSS Corp, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative (CSR). The company has gifted 200 cameras to Nagarahole and 100 cameras to Anshi-Dandeli Tiger Reserves. Gokul said that 45 tigers had been identified and numbered at Nagarahole and another 45 would be listed soon.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vinay Luthra said that apart from the cameras donated, the Forest department had already installed 400 cameras in Nagarahole; 200 in Bandipur; 80 in BR Hills, 60 each in Bhadra and Anshi-Dandeli reserves and 20 cameras at MM Hills wildlife sanctuary.

“We now request companies, as part of their CSR initiative, to purchase coffee estates and revenue lands around elephant and tiger corridors and hand them over to the department for restoring green patches. The department cannot do so on its own due to legal issues involved. Owners of several estates are willing to sell their land because of man-animal conflict and labour problems. Some such places have been identified between Nagarahole and Bandipur,” Luthra said.

He said that and companies had also shown interest in adopting anti-poaching camps and the department was yet to decide on the proposal.

Five firms have come forward to donate personal digital assistant (a mobile device) to field staff for sending real-time information on animal movements. Companies are also installing CCTV cameras at the entrance of wildlife sanctuaries.

Luthra said that Karnataka had the highest number of tiger and elephant population in the country. “The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest may announce tiger census figures in the last week of December. We estimate that Karnataka has more than 300 tigers,” he added.

Following a meeting with the chief minister on recruitments for Forest department, the government has allowed the department for hiring 2,000 forest watchers and guards in the next two years.

Luthra said that they had asked for double the posts now sanctioned.

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