Drones start surveillance to protect endangered animals
BARDIYA, Sept 13: Aerial surveillance by drones in Bardiya and Chitwan National Parks started Wednesday with the aim of controlling poaching of endangered animals as well as monitor their movements.
This is the first time that drones, which is an unmanned aerial vehicle that is remotely piloted, is being used for the protection of animals in the national parks of the country amid reports of growing poaching of endangered animals.
And park officials have blown away by the capabilities of the drones armed with video and still cameras, and flying silently up to 20 kilometers from their home base sending back information instantly.
"Just by looking at them, park officials were unconvinced about their performance capabilities, but once we put them into service they have proved to be very useful to us," said Ashok Bhandari, conservation officer at Bardiya National Park.
Bhandari said the drones have been very useful in collecting information from areas of the forests which are not easily accessible.
"Sometimes we hear the gun shots in the core areas of the park but due to the geographical obstacles or other reasons the army and forest guards cannot reach the spot immediately." Bhandari said. "We can send air patrol to the suspected area and receive information promptly with the photographs and visual, which is beneficial for the security personnel so they can act on the issue."
The drones were donated by the World Wildlife Fund and the parks have already received approval from the aviation department to fly them.
Bhandari also informed that 15 staff from both parks had received training to fly the drones and had been flying them regularly from Wednesday over the Bardiya National Parks.
The conservationists and security personnel expressed happiness over the use of drones saying they will now tighten surveillance of possible routes used by poachers.
Ishowor Thapa, chief of Narasingha Dal of Nepal Army in the Park, believed that the air patrols would enhance security.
“There are many inaccessible areas and it will help the security personnel to study the ground realities of such places by sending aircraft and later devise security plans for the area,” said Thapa. “Due to the geographical obstacles, we always feared that poacher would take benefit of the situation but the air patrols will help secure such weak spot and containing poaching," he added.