TECH FOR CONSERVATION: Tiger-tracking and wildlife conservation go hi-tech, thanks to a new mobile application recently launched at the Bandipur National Park by the Conservator of Forests and Director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, H. C. Kantharaj. The android-based app, which has been indigenously developed by KeyFalcon Solutions of Bangalore, will help forest officials and conservationists carry out vigorous monitoring and also boost the coordination of personnel at the anti-poaching camp in the park. A similar app called “Huli” is already in use at the adjoining BRT Wildlife Sanctuary.
Officially called as “Hejje”, which means ‘pug mark’ in Kannada, the mobile app is set to revolutionize the monitoring of tigers in the park as it would provide individual forest officers live updates of their colleague’s anti-poaching activities.
This includes information on,
- Patrol time
- Suspicious activities
- Water-level in lakes
- Tree population,
- and Forest fires.
The field officials can also use the app to instantly transmit images taken with their mobile phones to the headquarters. This would enable senior officials to take decisions based on real-time on-field information.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Kantharaj said,
“Tigers in Bandipur – a prime tiger habitat – are vulnerable to poaching. Since effective protection of this habitat calls for modernization, we have inducted the “Hejje” mobile app, which has added a new protocol to the monitoring system.”
The new app will primarily be used by staff at anti-poaching camps during routine patrolling activities. Range forest officers will now be able to get real-time updates of patrol start/end time, distance covered, and also information on any animal sightings. The information transmitted is completely secure since the date is encrypted, and only authorized staff can access the information.
Furthermore, water holes in the park can be regularly monitored, and in case of a fall in the water levels the study of a series of field images can help assess the severity of the situation. The mobile app will also help keep a record of forest fires and facilitate construction of real-time maps of fire-prone areas. The app will also alert forest officials about forest fires through regular notifications.
Highlighting the numerous benefits of Hejje, Mr. Kantharaj pointed out that tiger movements along the periphery of the park can be detected by alert mechanism which involves photographing pug marks and uploading the images with the GPS location. The app would help officers take proactive steps as it would keep an up-to-date track of animal movements.
Honorary Warden of Mysore District, D. Rajkumar, informed that the mobile app will be downloaded to 40 mobile phones, which would then be handed over to the staff at the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, with each anti-poaching camp having one such device.
We love it when technology comes at conservation aid.
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Image courtesy cc/Flickr Bikash Das