The elephant tracking app, which was launched as pilot project in Udanti Sitanadi, has now been adopted by other forest divisions in the state.
The AI based app works in collaboration with the elephant tracker system and human patrolling teams that feed the information about presence and movement of herd of pachyderms, in the app. The AI then identifies the villages in the radius of ten kilometres proximity with the herd and sends alerts on the mobile phones of those villagers through calls, voice messages and Whatsapp messages. The receivers are the villagers who have their mobile numbers with their names and GPS locations. At some places, the traditional broadcast system of Munaadi (hooting) by humans is also being done.
Speaking to TOI, Varun Jain, the founder of this app and deputy director of Udanti Sitanadi tiger reserve, said that there was an immense need to track the movement and presence of elephants in the affected regions and let the locals know that danger is close. Till date, 2500 people have been registered in 110 villages in state with the app.
“The incidents of human-elephant conflict and attacks which were common in the region with 110 villages, have significantly dropped in past 7-8 months in tiger reserve. Earlier the incidents were frequent and casualty was high,” jain said.
The reserve extends from Gariaband district to neighbouring Dhamtari district and had recorded back to back incidents of human-elephant conflict while the northern parts of state have also been reporting events of elephant attacks with more than 230 people killed in past three years. Besides, over 75 elephant deaths have also been reported in past five years.
Jain elaborated that the app also is facilitating in maintaining data and studying the pattern of elephants herds like which corridor they are preferably marching on, which forest area they prefer, which are the villages in the vicinity and when they prefer to move from one district to another.
There are 12-13 herds of several elephants in Chhattisgarh presently, and the app is monitoring the activities of 2-3 herds.
Based on the survey and data collected, future plans would be hatched so as to encourage elephants remain in jungles.
The elephant tracker system is basically human driven which are the patrolling teams venturing in forest on foot and on jeeps to collect direct or indirect evidences of movement of elephants.
To efficiently use the elephant tracking app, officials and teams of thirteen forest divisions have been imparted with training and they have started using the app to send alerts to people. The app is effectively being used in the affected forest divisions of Kathghora, Dharamjaigarh, Mahasamund, Dhamtari, Bilaigarh, Surguja.
This app also sends alert about presence of other wild animals including leopards, wild buffaloes and bear.