Jaleswar: The Forest department of Balasore will deploy drones in Jaleswar area to keep track of the movement of elephants and to keep tabs on timber and mining mafia in the forests.
A pilot project has been launched in Raibania range under Jaleswar block. According to sources, Raibania is a forested pocket sharing borders with Mayurbhanj, and West Midnapur & Nayagram of West Bengal.
Every year, elephant herds from Similipal and Dalma reserve forest of Jharkhand stray into Raibania area and cause massive destruction of crops and properties.
The forested pockets of Raibania range like Baradia, Rangamatia, Patharshola, Dangarapada, Dudhiashola, Ambatumba and Janhiphulia are home to a wide range of wildlife such as elephants, leopards, deer, barking deer, birds and reptiles.
The Forest department, which has been grappling with staff crunch, often fails to track the movement of wild animals and ensure their safety. Deaths and poaching of wild animals often go unreported in vast forested pockets.
Sometimes, casualties come to the fore days after the mishaps. Keeping these factors in view, the department has launched a pilot project with use of drone cameras at Baradia a couple of days ago.
After successful execution of the project, it may be replicated in other forested areas of the district and state.
Balasore DFO Bimal Prasanna Acharya, who has inaugurated the project, said people of Raibania will get benefits of knowing in advance about the arrival of wild animals in their peripheries.
“Especially, the movement of elephants will be tracked though drone cameras to alert people,” he added.
As for the pilot project, assistant conservator of forests (ACF) Sushant Kumar Jena said with use of drone cameras, illegal activities like timber smuggling, unauthorised extraction of minor minerals murram and stone in Raibania can be checked.
The people involved in such illegal activities can be identified and action would be taken against them, he asserted.
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