Static thermal imaging cameras to track elephant movement (State of Tamil Nadu, India)


The Hindu

Date Published

The Forest Department will install permanent thermal imaging cameras at four places along forest boundaries in Coimbatore to track movement of wild elephants and to develop an early warning system.

According to officials in the know of the developments, thermal imaging cameras have been sanctioned by the Department and are expected to reach Coimbatore soon.

“The cameras will be fixed at Maruthamalai, Anuvavi, Thadagam and Madukkarai where movement of elephants is high. The thermal imaging captured by the cameras will be sent to the control room of the Forest Department. This will help alert staff and residents in the locality about the animal movement,” said S. Ramasubramanian, Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle.

The feed from the four cameras will be transferred to the control room of Forest Department using intranet, a restricted network. This can also be viewed by senior officials.

At present, the department is using two hand-held thermal imaging cameras that are used for anti-depredation works at night.

“Thermal imaging cameras capture the heat in the body of the animal. The hand-held cameras are very helpful in tracking presence of wild elephants at night, early morning and late evening when visibility is poor,” said Mr. Ramasubramanian.

The four places selected for developing the warning system had witnessed frequent movement of elephants.

At Madukkarai, where elephants often cross the railway track, the department has already set up two surveillance cameras on track ‘B’ through which trains move to Coimbatore side from Palakkad.

Installation of thermal imaging camera is expected to boost up the alert system at Madukkarai.

After the installation of thermal imaging cameras, the Department has plans to create an early warning network where information on the movement of wild elephant animals can be shared to Forest staff and people in the conflict zone. At present, Forest Department is operating a WhatsApp alert group with farmers as members.