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‘Indian forest officials embracing GIS’

Bangalore, India: Geospatial technology uptake is growing amongst India’s wildlife and forest management officials, observed The Economic Times. For instance, they are using radio sensor tagging to deal with endangered fauna. By using this technology, they track the movement and breeding of these animals.

Similarly, for the first time, during the ‘project tiger’ efforts of 2006, they used remote sensing and GIS and GPS. Until this project tiger habitats in India were relatively unknown. In the same project, with the use of camera traps, reliable population estimation of this elusive species was made. “These are landmark developments in integrating technology with mainstream conservation,” said PR Sinha, director, Wild Life Institute of India.

In the first phase of the INR 9.1-crore tiger census, field data was collected by trained people. In the second phase, tiger habitats were analysed using satellite data while in the third, hi-tech cameras were installed at strategic points to count tigers. “This was a massive exercise we undertook in which technology played a major role,” said Sinha. Nearly six lakh square kilometres of forest was assessed in 17 states using remote sensing data.

The Wild Life Institute of India is also helping authorities to prosecute offenders by churning out forensic data. “We do DNA analysis and other forensic studies to help law enforcement nail poachers,” he added.

On the other, in an effort to check man-animal conflict, Karnataka Forest Department put forward a proposal to connect Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) and Tamil Nadu Forests to develop elephant corridors. Biswajit Mishra, Deputy Conservator of Forests, BBP, said, “We have provided them the Geographical Information System (GIS) map and satellite images of the entire plan. Once we get the approval and the land, we will proceed further with the work.”
 
Source: Economic Times & IBNLive