Rajul never forgets the 20-year-old incident when he killed the first tiger. He always carries knives, axes and steel traps with him. He is proud of his skills which has been handed over to him by his ancestors. He uses spears and steel traps manufactured by traditional nomadic blacksmiths. He knows every nook and corner of the forest which is full of rocky terrain, wetlands and bushes.
Their knowledge of the jungle-craft is unmatched and they are always ahead of both tigers and government. However, they may have to fight a strange battle about which they don’t have the faintest idea. A study conducted by Wright,Koustubh Sharma and a few of his colleagues could finally help turn the tide against the poachers.
The study is about the use of Big data to predict the likelihood of tiger poaching hotspots in the country. It could lead to more efficient and concerted anti-poaching activity.
Koustubh Sharma wrote software codes and analyzed 25,000 data collected about tigers since four decades revealed startling trends. It identified 73 tiger-crime prone hotspots in the country. The model can help identify the probability of occurrence and detection of tiger-related crimes. It means the anti-poaching team can better direct their target field patrols and other forest ranger activities.
“That’s what insurance companies and banks do. They do models and create projections, and invest. We have something similar. We have these models and projections, and we have to invest accordingly.” says Sharma.
The Indo-Nepal border, for instance, has been found of having less enforcement historically and it is a major route for Chinese trade. The study also revealed that poachers prefer using the rail-route.
The study has been submitted to Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority in India. This was further forwarded to field –mangers in tiger-reserves. But the success rests on the successful implementation on the ground.