High-tech cameras to monitor wildlife in Maharashtra forests

Pune: A new tool – infrared (IR) cameras – has been employed by Maharashtra Conservation Department to ensure a continuous monitoring of warm-blooded nocturnal animals in order to collect a data that can be used to better the wildlife management in the state.

The first such cameras, perched upon trees, have been pressed into service in Pune and Solapur forest areas recently to track the movement pattern of mammals and birds to aid effective conservation measures.

"The night time movement of animals cannot be supervised by us, and therefore, these self-operated cameras would come handy to detect the intricacies and the behavioural pattern of warm-blooded animals (mammals and birds with fixed body temperature) when they approach the waterholes," M K Rao, Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Maharashtra, told PTI.

He said the electro-magnetic cameras, purchased with the Central Government grant, could produce a "good data" with the photographic evidence to corroborate many things about animals which are still unknown with their captured images in pitch dark, throwing light on the mysteries of wildlife.

With in-built sensors, IR cameras, numbering four, have been installed near forest waterholes on a trial basis, tracking the movement of animals as they pass through their range.

Elaborating on the utility value of IR cameras in conservation measures, Rao said they could also be of help in projecting population of wildlife and the number of species in a particular area.