By Priyangi Agarwal
BAREILLY: With an aim to keep a tab on the increasing cases of poaching in the area, the forest department is all set to install 55 cameras in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) - which they have recently received from the state government.
"After we had written to the state government for installation of cameras, we have received 55 cameras. This is the first time that we will be installing cameras in the reserve. Earlier, World Wide Fund (WWF) India team had installed a few of them for counting the number of big cats," said Kailesh Prakash, divisional forest officer, PTR. He added that the initiative is aimed at identifying the pattern of movement of tigers and recording activities of poachers in the forest.
The installation of cameras will be done in three phases and the work will be over in 20 days. In the first phase, the cameras will be put up in Mala and Mahof ranges followed by Barhi and Haripur ranges. In the last phase, cameras will be installed in Deoria range and leftover cameras will be put up in the parts of Mala range.
With the installation of cameras, the forest officials will be able to monitor the movement of tigers and if any big cat moves to a new territory, they will be able to avoid instances of animal-human conflict. Besides, the pictures clicked from cameras will help the forest department maintain a count of the total number of big cats.
As poaching is the biggest challenge that PTR faces, the cameras will be beneficial in detecting the activities of poachers. Forest officials say one of the major problems PTR faces is the presence of 275 villages with a population of nearly 5 lakh within five-km radius of the forest's buffer zone. "The forest is surrounded by villagers and at times, poachers enter the forest along with villagers. However, cameras will click the images of poachers and help in checking their activities," added DFO.
Recently, nine poachers were arrested from PTR, and forest officials had recovered tiger bones, teeth from them. The arrested poachers were aides of two other poachers from Uttar Pradesh were arrested in Nepal recently with 37 kg of tiger bones and skin. They had confessed of killing two adult tigers in November and December 2013 in Barahi range of PTR. The poachers had used poisoned buffalo meat as bait to trap the tigers.