(English) Conservation sector witnesses hi-tech

KATHMANDU, Nepal– In recent days, the conservation stakeholders including the government and WWF Nepal have been experimenting with various technologies such as the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also known as drones, to help combat mounting wildlife trade.

These UAVs are being used in Chitwan National Park (CNP), the oldest Park in the country since 2012 by replacing the ground-based patrolling mostly carried by Nepal Army personnel and park officials on foot to keep track of the wildlife.

Despite the increasing level of coordination among the conservation partners both at the national and regional-level, preparation of policy measures and awareness, conservation groups are still facing hard times to combat the expanding trade of wildlife and its body parts.

The radio-collar with Global Positioning System (GPS) for tigers and rhinos to obtain real-time data and monitor the status has also been introduced in some protected areas recently.

Integration of ID-based wearable monitoring system with Google Glass has also been piloted inside protected areas in Nepal. However, the interventions have not been adequate and are focused in a small-scale.

“With the rising illegal wildlife trade both at regional and international level, it is high time to shift towards technology-based conservation model,” Kantipur quoted Chakra Bahadur Shah, Lieutenant Colonel with Nepal Army as saying. Also the ex commander of Shree Nandabox Battalion, Shah is also one of the Abrahm Conservation Awardee for this year announced on Monday by WWF-Nepal.

Shah said the government should be able to turn to technology based conservation that would allow to monitor the status of animals roaming inside forests from computer desk.

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