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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wildlife wing uses CCTV for Pench tiger project to prevent poaching

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times In its bid to stem the poaching activities in the famous Pench Tiger Reserve, some 70 kms from Nagpur, the state wildlife wing will be installing closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) at the main gate of the reserve within a fortnight. Pench is a sensitive inter-state tiger reserves on the Nagpur-Jabalpur national highway and it’s always a target of the inter-state poachers. The recent decision to install CCTVs would work as a watchdog to prevent such activities in the area. The state wildlife warden, SWH Naqvi informed that the CCTVs would be set up at Pench soon so that poaching and other acts that affect the protection and conservation could be prevented. The state wildlife wing is using CCTVs in Pench on an experimental basis and if it is successful, such systems would be introduced in other wildlife sanctuaries, and particularly in tiger reserves. Besides, more entry gates of the sanctuaries would be equipped with the CCTVs in the coming days. Virendra Tiwari, the field director of Tadoba Tiger Reserves, said that if the experiment of CCTVs is successful in Pench, it will be installed in Tadoba soon. Tadoba was in the news in recent past for killings of several tigers by the poachers. Bodies of three tigers were found near Tadoba in Chandrapur district in May-June this year while as many as 11 tigers were allegedly killed by poachers in the district since January this year. The proposal of installing CCTVs would be a path-breaking for the conservation and protection of the big cats in the region. “We will at least be able to identify the movement of vehicles and people who enter the reserves with the help of footage of CCTVs after its installation,” said Srinivas Reddy, the field director of Pench tiger project. Pench tiger reserve, bordering Madhya Pradesh, is located at a distance of 70 kms from Nagpur, and has around 20 tigers, besides other several species of endangered animals. Meanwhile, relocation of Fulzari village in Pench tiger reserves was opposed by Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha. The state government had agreed to compensate Rs. 10 lakh to each villager as a relocation package. “Villagers will not move from the area unless their constitutional rights are settled. The decision for relocation must be based on gram sabha’s consent as per the existing provision,” Arun Wankar, the convenor of the Sabha said. According to him, the government had granted traditional rights to extract minor forest produce to the villagers but now they are not allowed. Besides, rights of the people have not been settled under the forest rights act of 2005, he pointed out. Fulzari, with a population of 240 people and 45 houses, is the only village inside the tiger reserve which is awaiting relocation. The decision to relocate the village has been taken by the wildlife wing of the state as it is in the “critical tiger habitat”.

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