This post originally appeared on http://english.pradesh18.com/news/uttarakhand/now-drones-to-monitor-wildlife-in-uttarakhand-912642.html.
[Editor’s Note: A total of 37 forest department employees are being trained to use the drones.]
The Uttarakhand Forest Department has formed a ‘Falcon Force’ to monitor wildlife through drones.
The service was launched in five forest divisions of western circle of Kumaon with the test flight and demonstration of the device on Wednesday.
Rajinder Kumar Mahajan, principal chief conservator of forests, Uttarakhand, said, “Drones will help us heightening the capacity of monitoring our wildlife more efficiently. This will also help us managing the staff crunch in the department.”
The initiative, named as,’SMART Patrolling’ (S-Specific, M- Measurable, A- Achievable, R- Relevant, T- Time bound) aimed at stepping up the monitoring of flora and fauna using modern technology to check forest crimes. Total 37 officers and employees of the forest department are under training on the handling of these drones.
The drones named ‘Phantom’ given its stealthy nature due to its quiet maneuvering capabilities will be deployed at 400 feet height maximum to avoid damages. These drones will have in-built GPS and will record its takeoff point and path.
The drones are said to be able to fly up to 25 minutes on a single charge.
Kumaon western forest circle which includes fives forest divisions — Terai-East, West, Central, Ramnagar and Haldwani with approximate
forest area of 2 lakh hectare will be a testing ground for the machine costing Rs 3-4 lakh per unit.