After using drones to track movement of animals, the Tamil Nadu government has now found a new use in drones – the forest department will now be using it to scare away elephants.
On May 22, 2017, the Union Environment and Forest Ministry provided five drones to Tamil Nadu government for real-time monitoring of animal movement and to prevent forest fires. Tamil Nadu is the second state after Uttarakhand to use the drones for this purpose, reported Deccan Chronicle.
The drones will be functional in five forests in Hosur, Gudalur, Coimbatore, Kodaikanal and Tirunelveli. The drone also includes features like thermal detectors and infrared rays. The sounds created by these drones can also re-route the elephant herd back to the forests.
P Jagadeesh, additional principal chief conservator of forests, told Deccan Chronicle that the sound which are produced by these drones is similar to that of a honey bee buzz. The sounds can be used to send the elephants back to the forests without human interference.
He added that they are planning to attach loudspeakers to the drones and blare the roar of predators to scare animals away.
A forest ranger told The New Indian Express that this technology will help them to spot animals lurking a few kilometres away from villages and track their movement, and also keep them away from human habitations.
“During dry seasons, water holes are filled with sufficient water, to cater to the needs of the animals. In such cases, drones are highly useful for the anti-poaching watchers who are otherwise at threat. It would serve as a real-time vigilant to prevent poaching,” said The Nature Trust founder KVRK Thirunaranan told Deccan Chronicle.
This technology could be very useful in areas in Coimbatore where there is constant man-animal conflict. On Saturday, a rogue elephant had entered the villages and killed four people and injured about five others.
Shravan Krishnan, Animal Rights activist said, “Looking at the current disturbances that the elephants are already going through, the drones will not make too much of a disturbance. This kind of conservation effort is really important because the number of elephant deaths is increasing and the man-animal conflict is also on the rise. In Kerala, they had towers if the elephants came too close to the habitations, then it will send an alert to the officials. It is a temporary solution because end of the day, if they keep expanding and cutting trees, there is no place for elephants to go. The permanent solution is to conserve the forests.”