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16 Feb 2018

More cameras for forests

A picture of a tiger clicked by a trap camera
TT, Jalpaiguri: The forest department has drawn up a long-term plan to install 500 cameras across the forests of north Bengal to get more information about the wildlife and tighten vigilance against poaching and illegal felling of trees.
Binay Krishna Burman, the state forest minister, said on Thursday that a year's deadline has been fixed to put up the trap cameras in the forests, mainly those spread over the districts of Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar.
At present, the Neora Valley National Park and the Buxa Tiger Reserve have such cameras. These have helped foresters get information about the wildlife, with photos of Royal Bengal Tigers captured repeatedly in Neora.
"We now want to increase the coverage by installing hundreds of such cameras in other wildlife habitats and on the fringes. We can then have a clear idea about the animal species in these forests. Also, there have been incidents of poaching and illegal felling of trees. The cameras will intensify vigilance and poachers and timber smugglers can be caught," said Burman. In the Sunderbans, work has begun to install 300 cameras, the minister added.
In north Bengal, neighbouring countries of Bhutan and Nepal and Assam, which share contiguous forest patches with Bengal, will be informed about the exercise.
In Neora , after the department installed cameras, photos of animals like Clouded Leopard, Lesser Cat, Himalaya Civet, Dhole (wild dog), Serow and Himalayan Black Bear were clicked, along with photos of tigers.
"In recent times, tiger has been sighted only in Neora Valley. Once these new cameras are installed, we would be able to know whether there is any tiger at other wildlife habitats like Singalila, Jaldapara, Gorumara, Mahananda, Chapramari and at the Baikunthapur forest," a forest official said.

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