Seismic sensors, thermal cameras to check train-elephant collisions in Uttarakhand reserve

Published: Aug 13, 2019, 15:56 IST | mid-day online correspondent

To prevent elephants from being hit by trains passing through Uttarakhand's Rajaji Tiger Reserve, authorities will install seismic sensors and thermal cameras to warn them of animal movement near railway tracks

Seismic sensors, thermal cameras to check train-elephant collisions in Uttarakhand reserve
The image has been used for representational purpose

Rishikesh: The Uttarakhand's Rajaji Tiger Reserve, authorities are planning to install seismic sensors and thermal cameras to warn them of animal movement near railway tracks to prevent elephants from being hit by trains passing through the reserve's 18-km Kansro range. Around two dozen animals of which mostly elephants, have been killed by trains in the last three decades.

Said to be the first-of-its-kind in the country, the advance detection system will be installed within six months. Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) Director PK Patra said that ten seismic sensors and thermal cameras will be installed along the tracks at six points in the range. The system will detect the slightest movement of elephants and alert the officials at the central server facility.

According to the director, the data from the system will be analysed at the facility and after confirming the presence of an elephant in the range, it will generate alerts for patrolling staff, the RTR administration, the train's loco pilot and the nearest railway station.

The 18-km stretch will have elephant proof barricading, besides the six points identified for the detection system, which will be 50 metres apart from each other. The identification of these points was done on the basis of observation of the frequency of elephant crossings.

The installation of the system has become all the more necessary after electrification of the tracks passing through the range, the RTR director said. The installation has been developed by Chandigarh-based Central Scientific Instrumentation Research Organisation and the pilot project of the system at RTR is being launched in collaboration with the Union Forest Ministry, Wildlife Institute of India and the WWF.

The system is economical and will help unburden patrolling staff and make monitoring of wildlife conservation at the reserve far more effective, officials told.

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