BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh government on Friday successfully launched test flights of 'Conservation Drones', which would be used to track poachers of endangered tigers at Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR).
Authorities plan to fly at least four drones over the PTR. This is the first time such aircraft, equipped with cameras and GPS, are being used in the state.
Sources said the drones are being flown over the reserve's rough terrain, as GPS-collared big cats are difficult to monitor.
"Five take-offs and landings were conducted successfully. We have got high resolution pictures," said PTR field director R Sreenivasa Murthy.
Sources said these pictures would not be made public as per intelligence bureau and defense ministry's conditions.
The drones have two-meter wing span and a range of 60-40 km. They can stay in the air for 45 minutes and at an altitude of 200m.
Experts from US-based 'Conservation Drones' company, Lian Pin Koh and Simon Wunderlin, launched the test flights.
World Wildlife Federation (International), Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and National Tiger Conservation Authority officials were present at the launch.