Asia Conservation

Test flight of unmanned aerial vehicles at KNP

by Abdul Gani

Kaziranga National Park, for the first time is to witness a test flight of the much anticipated unmanned aircraft on Monday in presence of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) Scientist, Dr. K. Ramesh who leads the monitoring programme, said Rakibul Hussain, Minister for Environment and Forests at press conference today. This test is to begin tomorrow and extend till April 11 so as to understand all measures that will be required for implementation of the unmanned aircraft for better surveillance at the national park.

It is to be mentioned that Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has been pressurising the Central Ministry for a CBI enquiry in to the unabated poaching of endangered one horn rhinoceros. The CBI has now accepted the State Government’s request to probe into this matter. Hussain also said that the Chief Minister has welcomed CBI’s gesture and has promised to extend full support to control the illegal activities at this national park. The unmanned aircraft is one of the measures undertaken by the State Forest Department and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) which could be one effective measure to keep a track of events at the national park. Minister also emphasised that use of this advance technology will help to monitor unwanted movements of the poachers and thus keep a track. Though a clearance is yet to be acquired from the Defence Authority but once the test is cleared the Minister is hopeful for its implementation at the earliest.

The minister ascertained that an unmanned aerial vehicle would also soon be inducted for better surveillance of the park to prevent poaching of rhinos and other wildlife. He also informed about a workshop to be held on April 20 at Kaziranga wherein Keshav Kumar, Joint Director, CBI from Mumbai will train the Field Directors of North East and Central India to combat and sharpen their investigative directives against such poaching.

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