Cameras for tiger census go missing

- SHIVA PURI, BHARATPUR

Jan 26, 2018-

The ongoing tiger census in Chitwan National Park (CNP) and Parsa National Park (PNP) has hit an unexpected snag, as dozens of camera traps have either gone missing or have been found damaged, supposedly by elephants.

“Out of 300 camera traps installed in the two national parks to track the tigers, at least 35 are missing and 30 others were found destroyed by elephants,” said Nurendra Aryal, the assistant conservation officer of CNP. 

The authorities suspect that the missing cameras were stolen, but they are unsure if the larcenists concerned were humans or animals.  

The fact that 30 cameras were found in a damaged and abandoned state suggests that the 35 unaccounted for cameras have also met a similar fate, but the authorities have recovered five cameras, supposedly lifted from their places by some children, implying that the cameras, if not all, at least some of them were stolen. 

The matter is under investigation, Aryal said.

Meanwhile, the incident has not only affected the tiger census, but also has raised  a serious question on the installation process of the camera traps.

While there have been cases of animals causing damage to camera traps, the incidents of cameras getting prised out from their fixed locations indicates that the instruments were fixed with little consideration for possibility of vandalism at the hands of children, let alone elephants. Moreover, children removing the cameras from a national park raises the question of security. 

Ashok Ram, the assistant conservation officer of PNP, told national news agency, RSS, that the camera traps were installed near human settlements. 

“The children might have taken them to their homes out of curiosity,” he told RSS.

Published: 26-01-2018 07:57

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