The Assam forest department has planned to use three more drones in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) to prevent poaching.
Currently, there is only a single drone for Kaziranga, which is insufficient to monitor the entire park.
The department has floated tenders for procurement of “drone-based aerial surveillance system with day and night imaging capacity” for 24/7 surveillance, The Telegraph reported.
The department is looking to buy three such drones so there was one drone for each of the four park ranges to enhance vigil.
The estimated cost of each drone will be around Rs 10 lakh and it plans to acquire at least three such drones.
“The drones will be able to take high quality/definition images which can be used for aerial mapping and real-time monitoring of movement of wildlife within and outside the park,” said a forest department official. Cases of rhinos straying will also be monitored, he added.
These drones will be primarily used to track down poachers and act as a deterrent against poaching, particularly rhinos, the official said.
Of the 32 rhinos killed in 2016 and 2017, Kaziranga accounted for 25 while four were killed in Orang National Park, two in Manas National Park and one in Biswanath district.
“The drones, which will have long-distance aerial surveillance capability and technology to take pictures during day and night, will be very useful in monitoring movement of animals during floods when most of the park gets submerged,” he said.
During last year’s floods, the park authorities hired two drones from police to keep track of the movement of animals. Most animals migrate to higher ground in Karbi Anglong, crossing the National Highway 37 during floods.
At present, seven electronic eye systems, equipped with high resolution optical and thermal imagers, are installed in the park to prevent poaching.
Forest guards are also being equipped with Insas, self-loading rifles, Ghatak assault rifles, 9mm pistols and 12-bore pump action guns for carrying out anti-poaching activities effectively.