Camera traps missing from Rajaji, officials blame elephants and tourists (state of Uttarakhand, India)


M.S.?Nawaz, Hindustan Times

Date Published

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Haridwar: Four camera traps, installed in western part of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR)? to keep a watch on wild animals and protect them from poaching, have been missing,? while eight other cameras have been found dismantled in different ranges of the park.

The forest department officials have lodged FIRs in the matter with the local police.

According to the park authorities, around 300 camera traps had been installed in the RTR area. During a routine checking recently, forest rangers found four camera traps missing. The forest department officials blamed elephants and tourists for the act. The rangers are yet to recover the wreckage of the camera traps. When HT talked to the forest officials over the issued, there seemed no coordination between the officials.

Pardeep Kumar, warden, Dehradun said, “Two cameras were found missing from Ramgarh range and around six cameras were found in (a) broken condition in Motichor and Kansro range. It would be done by elephants and our teams are trying to locate the missing cameras.”

However, two more camera traps were found missing from Dholkhand and Haridwar ranges. “In my knowledge, only two cameras have been found missing. One is from Dholkhand and another is from Haridwar range. We registered FIR in these two cases. It is not (a) serious matter. There is no sign of poaching behind this incident. Tourists could be responsible for that,” said Sanatan Sonkar, director, Rajaji Tiger Reserve Director.

On the other hand, Dholkahnd ranger Jwala Prasad said, “No camera trap is missing from my range and no FIR has been lodged.” Similarly, Haridwar ranger DP Uniyal also said, “It (missing of camera trap) has not happened in my range.”

Former honorary warden and chief functionary of Eye of the Tiger, Rajan Mehta said, “It is very serious matter that camera traps were found missing from western part of Rajaji park. Poachers of pangolin are very active in these areas and it raises big question on patrolling of forest department. They are going to rehabilitate tigers in the western part, but will it be safe?”