The World Animal Foundation reports that in 2019, 38 tigers in India were killed by poachers. By 2021, that number rose to 56. While that may not sound like a lot, hundreds of thousands of these animals once lived in the wild.
Today, an estimated 4,500 tigers are living in the wild worldwide. That is up from 3,200 in 2019, thanks to efforts being made to save them from extinction. Indian technology magnate Phaneesh Murthy is helping by providing Nagarhole Tiger Reserve anti-poaching drone technology.
Who Is Phaneesh Murthy?
Phaneesh Murthy is a pioneer in the Global and Tech Business Services Industry. He has worked as a leader and innovator for three decades in some of the most prominent global companies.
Today, Murthy is Primentor’s founder and CEO. Primentor is a consulting agency that features mentoring for senior executives designed to promote hyper-growth in companies. In part, that involves helping them understand how critical IT is to business operations. Murthy believes that tech and operations conversions are crucial in modernizing a business’s structure.
Phaneesh Murthy is also a philanthropist and conservationist; tiger conservation is incredibly close to his heart. He is active in trying to save these majestic creatures who were at risk of extinction in the wild at one point. He has been a tiger conservationist for more than 20 years.
Initially, the biggest concern in India was the disappearing Kabini or forest. Along with other conservationists, Murthy started the Kabini Foundation to ensure villages wouldn’t encroach on forests, destroying the natural habitat for tigers and other wildlife. They provided them with additional resource options so they didn’t have to cut down trees for wood, for example. They started training programs to give them job opportunities. They even gave village residents bicycles to do delivery services. Simple vocational training opened up a whole new world for them.
At the same time, Phaneesh Murthy continues to focus on tiger conservation, even donating prize money from a golf tournament to the Tiger Conservation Fund. Part of the goal is to give India’s Forest Department the tools to monitor the forest and stop poachers. Conservationist non-government organizations (NGOs) like the Kabini Foundation provided them with Jeeps, for example, so that they could travel the rough terrain faster. More recently, Murthy has been fighting poachers by providing thermal drones for forest monitoring.
Thermal Drones for Forest Monitoring
As part of his fight to protect tigers living in the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve from poachers, Murthy has donated a Q4i thermal drone to the reserve. This drone can fly in any weather, take photos, and capture video day and night. It allows the reservists to monitor the entire 4 km forest in just 40 minutes and on a single charge.
In addition, Murthy and related companies donated 900 cameras for tracking. They can follow poachers placing snares in the forest. The cameras will provide evidence in criminal cases against poachers. The drone and the tracking cameras can also help monitor wildlife in villages boarding the forest.
About the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve
Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, sometimes called Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is in Karnataka in India. It is home to thousands of animals and plants native to the country. Among the animals thriving in the reserve are 125 endangered tigers that conservationists like Phaneesh Murthy are working to protect.
The reserve connects the habitat to other wildlife sanctuaries, including the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. In addition, it serves as a significant hub for Project Tiger and Project Elephant. Nagarahole Tiger Reserve is home to a large wildlife population, including leopards, Sloth bears, Gaur, Asiatic elephants, and many others. It has one of the highest-density tiger populations in India, along with a number of streams and creeks that are critical to wildlife. The reserve gets its name from the streams that swerve like a snake. Nagerahole means Serpent River in Kannada.
The Impact of the Drone Donation
Thermal drones like the Q4i come with thermal cameras and thermal imaging technology. They can use drones to track animals and help those in distress, map poachers, and detect fires that threaten the forest. A drone is also a tool that will help them monitor population density and see areas the conservationists can’t access.
The drone and cameras were handed over to the Forest Department and reserve staff at a ceremony honoring the donation.
Collaborative Conservation Efforts
Over the decades that Phaneesh Murthy has served as a conservationist, he has learned the value of collaboration. Thanks to work done by Murthy and collaborators, India has seen a steady increase in its tiger population over the last 20 years. As a result, tigers have been taken from the brink of extinction in the wild to stability.
Management of protected lands in India has been a hot topic of debate. However, forest-dwelling communities continue to expand in order to survive. NGOs play a critical role in bridging the gap between responsive forest governance and advocating for these villages and residents in support of the Forest Rights Act.
They also look to serve the wildlife trying to live in the forest by protecting the area’s biodiversity. NGOs also ensure local governance by doing studies and providing sustainable development goals.
Even though the tiger population is stabilizing, it has a long way to go. It will take a combined effort to see this species and many others facing extinction back to health. You can help. Find out more about what you can do to support conservation efforts in your area.