The Tamil Nadu government has allocated Rs 7.2 crore to mitigate man-animal conflict in the seven forest ranges under the Coimbatore forest division. Artificial Intelligence-based e-surveillance cameras would be installed on a pilot basis in the Madukkarai forest range under the Coimbatore forest division. This area is vulnerable to man-animal conflict with wild elephants frequenting the village areas bordering forest lands.
On November 26, 2021 three wild elephants were killed after being hit by a Mangalore - Chennai Express train in the Madukkarai forest range. This had led to a major confrontation between the Tamil Nadu forest department and the Southern Railways. The incident triggered the forest department to install AI-based e-cameras.
Sources in the Tamil Nadu forest department told IANS that based on the success of AI-based e-cameras, the project will be implemented in more forest regions. The forest department officials conducted inspections across railway tracks A and B in Solakkarai and Ettumadi areas in Madukkarai forest range. Conservator of Forests and Field Director of Annamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) SA Ramasubramaniam led the inspection carried out by the forest department officials on Wednesday, June 22.
The forest department is planning to install at least two cameras for every kilometer and also an AI-based e-surveillance camera for a span of three kilometers. Sources in the department told IANS that these cameras would immediately share data of wild elephants moving to railway tracks to the field-level staff who can drive them away from being hit by the moving trains. Messages will be sent to the Loco Pilots through the Railway station master in the presence of Wild elephants leading to slowing down of the trains.
Forest department officials also told IANS that after a month of trial in the Madukkarai forest range the service of the AI-based e-cameras would be used in the remaining forest ranges of Coimbatore.