Thane forest department to hunt poachers with CCTVs

Senior forest officials can access the live footage on their mobile phones using an application; this will help them keep a tab on any illegal activity

The arrest of four poachers with a leopard skin last month had made the Mumbai and Thane forest departments suspect that illegal trade was thriving in the city. Territorial Range of Thane Forest Department is planning on installing CCTV cameras at their check posts. The move is to keep a tab on the vehicles entering the city and arrest poachers as well as smugglers.

Police displaying the leopard skin seized in Thane. File pic/PTI
Police displaying the leopard skin seized in Thane. File pic/PTI

“We plan to install CCTV cameras at six forest department check posts in Mumbai. The reason behind this step is to get real-time updates on vehicles entering and exiting the city. We would be able to keep a tab on the heavy vehicles and identify if forest produce is illegally smuggled out of the city,” K P Singh, chief conservator of Thane Forest Department (Territorial), told mid-day.

The department would also use the surveillance to keep an eye on the staff deployed at the checkpoints. Senior forest officials can access the live footage on their mobile phones using an application. Already two cameras have been installed at Airoli and Mulund check posts on pilot basis and the rest will be installed by March.

ACF Kishor Thakre from
Thane Forest Department (Territorial), said, “We have already installed cameras at two check posts and more would be installed at Vashi, Dahisar Naka, Versova (near Ghodbunder Road) and Mulund-LBS Naka. We have started monitoring the situation at the two places. I call the officers posted there and ask them for updates anytime we want.”

Leopard skin
After the department seized a leopard skin in Dombivli and learnt that the same poachers had killed another leopard in the area in Raigad last year, the officials are on alert and are strictly monitoring the vehicles passing through check posts. “This would also help senior officials check if the staff that has been deployed there is working properly or not. This might help the department track illegal activities like theft of forest produce like wood etc and poaching,” said a forest official.

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