India: The Indian state of Maharashtra, is planning to deploy drones in forests for monitoring activities like lumbering of trees, trespassing and poaching. The forest authorities are using drones to get an aerial view of the park, prevent poaching, and fishing in the Pench reservoir.
The forest minister of the state, Sudhir Mungantiwar, told a news daily that the govt are planning to deploy UAVs, conventional and solar powered camera kits to keep a watch on human activites in the forests. “We can use drones at all places, but in stages,” he said.
“We will have to take permission from the Centre,” said Mungantiwar, with adding that drones will be deployed at Tadoba Andhari, a tiger reserve that accounts the highest number of tigers in Maharashtra. In this regards, an MoU has been already signed between the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India that allows UAVs monitoring in five tiger reserves, which include Panna, Jim Corbett National Park, Kaziranga, Sundarbans and Sathyamangalam.
“In national parks like Corbett or Melghat, drones can be very useful,” said Dinesh Tyagi, chief conservator of the forests.” Tyagi, who is also a project director of Melghat tiger project, added that the aerial view can aid to on the ground patrolling. Maharashtra has six tiger reserves, that include Tadoba, Melghat, Pench, Nagzira, Sahyadri and Bor. It has six national parks, 47 wildlife sanctuaries and four reserves with tiger population of around 190.