Hidden Cameras Installed In Bhitarkanika To Monitor Wildlife And Poacher Activity

In a bid to check the movement of poachers as well as monitor the movement of wildlife inside the sanctuary, the Bhitarkanika National Park authorities have started the installation of camera traps, set up at designated spots for remote surveillance. The Bhitarkanika National Park is the country’s second-largest mangrove ecosystem and covers an area of approximately 145 square kilometres.

The forest department has so far installed 20 of the sophisticated cameras in the first phase with plans afoot to set up a total of around 300 cameras in the park under the All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) Project, 2021-22. As per reports, the CCTV cameras have been installed at Barunei, Dobandhi, Thakuradia forest block and Angari blocks under the Rajnagar forest range in the national park.

Adequate storage requirements have been fulfilled to store almost a month’s worth of historical video logs from the captures, which continue 24/7. Special teams have been constituted to ensure flawless maintenance of the cameras.

Rajnagar Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Jagyandatta Pati said, “Boat survey and camera traps have been started for the first time in the mangrove forest in Odisha. It will monitor the movement of wildlife, patrolling staff and other human beings, including poachers and villagers in the forest areas. A pair of cameras will be installed within every two square kilometres (one-grid) area.”

However, the locals were not as enthusiastic about the development. Many of them rued that the solar fencing project, undertaken by the authorities a few years back, was a failure. They prognosticate that the camera trap project would meet the same fate due to lack of maintenance.

A local resident, Jagannath Das stated, “The project has the potential to protect the wildlife of the sanctuary from hunters and will be helpful in analysing the habitat of the animals and birds residing in the forest. However, I am afraid that the camera trap project will meet the same fate as solar fencing due to the lack of maintenance.”

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