Sunday, 7 October 2018

Sustainable Metal Detecting: Metal detectors uncover hidden traps

Forest guards receive training in the use of metal
detectors  © Samir Sinha / TRAFFIC India
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is a leading non-governmental organisation working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. One of their programmes in India, co-ordinated with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), is using a novel method to locate snares set to catch Tigers and other animals (Metal detectors uncover hidden traps). Forest guards are receiving training in the use of metal detectors to locate snares set for tigers. Metal snares are often used to catch tigers and other big cats, but they are normally almost impossible to find because they are cleverly camouflaged. By using 'Deep Search Metal Detectors', forest guards can now find even the most cleverly hidden traps
Deep Search Metal Detectors are ideal for remote field operations because they are robust, simple to assemble and use, and do not require complicated maintenance or handling. The detectors can also be used during post-mortem examinations to see if snared animals have bullet wounds. This helps strengthen legal follow up and should lead to more effective prosecutions for poaching. TRAFFIC India is providing full training in the use of detectors and has developed a handy manual in English and Hindi to help field personnel.
The use of metal detectors is likely to have a deterrent effect in the long run as poachers become aware of the new technology in place to stop their activities.
TRAFFIC India’s metal detector programme, which is generously funded by WWF-UK and WWF-Germany, has seen equipment sent to Tiger areas throughout India, including well-known reserves such as Corbett, Ranthambore, Kanha, Pench, Simlipal, Bandhavgarh and Rajaji. A pair of detectors plus training in their use can cost up to INR80,000 (USD1,600) for each reserve but, according to Sinha, the cost of the new technology is a small price to pay for helping to protect India’s Tigers.
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