WWF sets up camera traps to study elephants (Coimbatore, India)


Times of India

Date Published

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) along with the Coimbatore forest department has installed 48 camera traps in Kallar and Walayar regions to study the movement pattern of elephants.

The traps also help enumerate the population of male elephants and thereby take steps to improve their numbers. An individual photo profile of each elephant will also be created.

Landscape coordinator of WWF D Boominathan said these camera traps were installed three months ago. “We have captured several photographs of elephants. So far, 23 cameras have been set up at Kallar and 25 at Walayar forest areas. We have spotted more than 21 elephants and several herds passing through these locations,” said Boominathan.

A senior forest department official said since the male-female ratio of the elephants was skewed, this effort would help them improve it. “We have realized that our efforts have paid off and several male elephants were spotted. At the same time, other efforts are being carried out,” said the officer.

The traps called thermal motion sensor cameras, can capture images even at night. Each camera is fitted with a 4GB card, from which data is downloaded once a week. As per the data collected so far, more elephants were spotted in the Kallar region than in Walayar region. “This will continue for a few years so that movements based on seasons and habitat could be studied,” said Boominathan.

Earlier such camera traps were set up only for tigers and to study nocturnal animals.

“For the first time, in Coimbatore, we have undertaken a special study on elephants. This data is one of a kind and would not only help in studying the population and migration pattern, but also give us more information about elephants in this region. If there are any proposals for development or mitigation, we can use this data,” said Boominathan.