January 25-31, Zhemgang: A week long training on SMART Patrolling Enforcement is underway in Tingtibi, Zhemgang. The training is organised by Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in concurrence to the resolutions of the third National Park Conference 2015, held in Lampelri. The conference had directed that all the Protected Areas and Territorial Divisions to implement their own SMART patrolling by recognising the applicability of SMART tool and based on positive experiences shared by Royal Manas National Park in their pilot initiation. Therefore, the two resource persons from the Royal Manas National Park were sought to deliver the training as per their expertise and experience in piloting SMART Patrol Enforcement in the country.
While conservation efforts put in by Bhutanese foresters are remarkable, the patrolling system followed is still the conventional method where no specific data on the efforts put in by the foresters are reflected though poachers and illegal forest product transactions are recorded. This has left most of the efforts put in by the frontline conservationist unrecognised. Besides, there is no concrete data and information on the extent of patrolling conducted by individual foresters and respective agencies. Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) on the other hand is a software that generate report at any time and for any length of period, provided for the field practitioners to collect data on Global Positioning System (GPS) device every time they go to the fields. From the report, the managers will be able to direct resources to the needy places and individual efforts will be measured for the motivation. Implementing SMART will mean a shift of patrolling system from conventional type to modern digitalised system. While SMART is gaining popularity throughout the world, SMART was first introduced in Bhutan in the Roayal Manas National Park as a pilot project in 2013.
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