Staff at the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) have been provided equipment and kits for conducting rescue operations and avert man-animal conflict in the region.

At least 10 per cent of the tiger population is known to stray into human habitation on the outskirts of the tiger reserve.

As per the latest census, PTR has 65 tigers.

Naveen Khandelwal, deputy director of PTR, said five smart sticks had been provided for the staff on patrol duty.

“From now on, forest patrol staff will be equipped with a smart stick that is equipped with a powerful stun gun to protect themselves from wild animals in case of a face-off. A small electric shock from the stick is enough to momentarily confuse the animal, giving time to the personnel to escape. The shock will not cause any permanent damage to the wildlife,” he said.

The stick also comprises a spot light, throbbing light and pathway light with adjustable focus to facilitate night patrolling.

Its other features include rechargeable batteries, a USB phone charging port and a panic button that triggers a loud hooter to scare away animals.

“We have also received one double-barrel tranquilizing gun to load two darts at a time to hit alternatively as per the need. A pair of DJI Mavic drone cameras have also been provided to assist the field teams in tracking a wild animal lurking in a sugarcane field,” Khandelwal said.

In addition, a pair of tents each with a capacity to accommodate eight people will enable staff to stay the night at sites, frequented by wild animals that stray out of the forest.

The PTR will now have two rescue vehicles, including a giant one equipped with an automatic cage loader, a veterinarian chamber, portable oxygen cylinder and other wildlife rescue material.

The second vehicle is fitted with a powerful camera at its rear side to display the pictures in the driver’s cabin.

Besides, one motor boat will be deployed on the 22-km stretch of the Sharda Sagar dam area and one rafting boat will be used for rescue work in Sharda river and its feeder canals, the official said.

A 100 ‘khukri’ (a kind of machete) to remove dense shrubs during patrolling, five snake rescue kits with tongs, hooks, hand protecting gloves and long boots will also be distributed among the patrol teams.