The Karnataka Forest Department, along with the Wildlife Trust of India, has launched the Hostile Activity Watch Kernel (HAWK) system, a specialised software platform to monitor all aspects of forest and wildlife crime.
Supported by digital services company NTT Data, the system would help the department monitor activities such as the death of wildlife, suspected criminal activities, and the movement of suspicious vehicles.
Information regarding these and other incidents of interest from the field would be fed into a centralised system so that effective and pre-emptive responses, including counteraction, could be initiated.
“The HAWK system will help the department to manage and monitor data regarding forest and wildlife crime across the State in real-time. This will increase the overall efficiency of the department in crime management,” saidSubhash K. Malkhede, IFS, PCCF (Wildlife) & Chief Wildlife Warden, Karnataka Forest Department.
Vivek Menon, Founder and Executive Director of Wildlife Trust of India, noted that the development of HAWK was initiated as there were no such systems present to manage information regarding wildlife crime and criminal activities. The system was first launched in Kerala about two years ago and has now been customised for the Karnataka Forest Department.
A team from the Karnataka Forest Department’s IT cell headed by Biswajit Mishra initiated the customisation process of HAWK approximately one year ago.
“The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is in the process of taking HAWK as the national wildlife crime management system. We from Karnataka and Kerala should be proud that a system developed in these two States is becoming the national system,” said Jose Louies, director & chief (wildlife crime control) at WTI.
So far, over 300 forest officers have undergone online training, and 500 more officials will be trained this year. At least five staff members from each forest range in the State will be trained by an expert team to use the HAWK system, and a technical team is in place to provide real-time assistance to the new users.
“Forest and wildlife crime is a major conservation challenge faced by the department. Migrating from the paper-based system into digital systems will help us greatly in countering criminal activities and is essential to keep our system updated to meet the new challenges, including wildlife crime in cyberspace,” said Mr. Biswajit Mishra, Conservator of Forest, Head of theInformation Communication & Technology Department ICT cell.
Frontline forest staff will be trained to use the system across the state, and a dedicated helpdesk will assist them in the integration process under the supervision of the Chief Wildlife Warden’s office.
“We take pride in championing this exceptional programme that empowers wildlife and forest conservation while harmonising perfectly with NTT DATA’s mission to foster technological innovations for a sustainable world,” said Gauri Bahulkar, Director, Global Corporate Social Responsibility, NTT DATA Services.