Saving the big cat: Kali Tiger Reserve gets the tech edge

43 anti-poaching teams, 500 camera traps to keep poachers at bay.

Bengaluru: Home to an astonishing range of wildlife species, including the black panther, the Kali Tiger Reserve in Uttara Kannada district has today become synonymous with successful conservation.

With 43 anti-poaching teams working round-the-clock and aided by state-of-the-art technology, the reserve is an inspiration to others and has won a state award for its outstanding contribution to wildlife conservation.

Helped by around 500 camera traps placed in strategic spots, the reserve's forest officers have often been able to zero in on poachers and protect the animals in their care. “Our camera traps have helped us track several poachers over the years. Only last year we caught three poachers with weapons. But the camera traps also help us understand wildlife. For instance, we have got some 300 photographs of black panthers, which we are currently processing to arrive at the exact number of these big cats in the reserve," says an officer.

The foresters use android handsets with an app named "Huli," which allows them to maintain data on real time basis of animals through direct sightings, pug marks, scrapings, scent marks, faeces and so on. The data is directly saved on the server in Dandeli and any officer can log in at any time to retrieve it.

Besides educating children on the need for conservation, the department has started a new elephant camp in the Phansoli range to help with patrolling and to promote tourism. It has also relocated around 80 to 100 families living in these forests by paying them a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each. “It is a win-win situation for both the tribals and wildlife," notes an officer.

Besides the black panthers, the reserve is home to nine tigers , leopards, wild dog, jackals, elephants, gaur, sambar deer, sloth bear, langoor, Indian Giant Squirrel, pangolin, and the slender loris, among many other species.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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