Aug 28


Adventure sports camp for differently abled children

gets underway

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, Aug 27: A week-long adventure sports camp for differently abled children began at Chimpu near here today.

Attending the inaugural function, UD, Housing and Fisheries Minister Rajesh Tacho said that the differently abled children also have the similar desires as any other child. They are also equally efficient and can compete with those physically fit in many activities. This training would definitely motivate the children towards adventure sports and help them enjoy and take part in such sports, Tacho said and appreciated Pupu Heritage Foundation for conducting the camp.

The minister urged the parents and guardians to help identify their child’s skills and strengths, areas of potential and interests and accordingly they should be allowed to choose their career which is suitable for them. He also suggested the sports mentors to identify raw talents and groom them properly.

Describing the immense potential for adventure sports and adventure tourism in the state, Tacho invited adventure lovers to come to Dibang valley and explore the yet unexplored and virgin scenic spots of the district. He stressed the need for promotion and exploitation of potential of adventure tourism in the state which would generate employment opportunities and boost the economy of local people.

Sports and Youth Affairs Secretary Indira Mallo, in her brief speech, encouraged the children to have self confidence and believe in themselves that they are also capable to do what a normal person can.

Director of Sports and Youth Affairs DK Dinglow informed about the National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports in Dirang, the first national institute of its kind, where theoretical and practical training for activities relating to mountaineering, aero adventure and aqua adventure would be conducted. Meanwhile, the director rued non availability of adequate fund for conducting various adventure sports activities.

All Nyishi Students’ Union president Sikka Gapak, Everester Tapi Mra also spoke on the occasion and encouraged the children towards adventure sports.

Earlier, Dr. K.Romeo Meetei, In-charge Adventure Cell, gave a detailed informations about the prospects and potentials of adventure sports, achievements and challenges/hurdles in promoting adventure sports through PowerPoint presentation.

Organized by Pupu Heritage Foundation (PHF) under the aegis of Indian Mountaineering Federation and in association with the Adventure Cell of Directorate of Sports Youth Affairs, the camp aims at providing basic training on adventure sports to the physically challenged children with disabilities and motivate them towards the sports. The children would be taught about climbing, trekking, rappelling, jummering etc during the camp, informed Everester Tine Mena, who also is the chairperson of the PHF.

Thirty five students from Donyi-Polio Mission School for Hearing and Visually Impaired are attending the camp, among others.

The inaugural programme was also attended by assistant directors of SYA Tadar Apa and Ramesh Lingi, other officials of the directorate, Sangey Lhaden Sports Academy principal P Lombi.




Governor briefed on the progress ofvital BCT & IKSRT Vartak road projects

ITANAGAR, Aug 27: The progress of the strategic Balipara-Charduar-Tawang Road Project (BCT) and Orang-Kalakthang-Shergaon-Rupa-Tenga (OKSRT) was briefed to the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, Gen. J.J. Singh in a presentation by the Chief Engineer (P) Vartak, BRO, Brigadier Rohit Kapoor at Raj bhawan today.

Expressing his happiness with the progress of the OKSRT road project which is 70% ready/motorable, Gen. J.J.Singh said that with the completion of the viable road project by the end of 2013, the general public and the tourists traveling to West Kameng and Tawang will be benefited with the added advantage of shortening road travel by almost two and half hours. He called upon Vartak to create visibility/awareness on this route adding that the achievement is a feather in the cap of BRO.

While terming the 317.52 km (BCT-Rd) project as a major artery and strategic road providing connectivity from Guwahati to Tawang, he called for further fast tracking the road works and meet local challenges like harsh terrain and climate, labour shortages and other issues through innovative approach while carrying out road construction works. The Governor assured to take up with the Union Defence Minister in addressing issues of enhancing availability of critical equipments, including review of labour wages and with State Govt. and local administration into the issues of land acquisition, allotment of quarries, so that BRO is able to speed up and complete in time such road projects of national importance. Brig. R. Kapoor in his PowerPoint briefing informed that 70% of OKSRT road is motorable, barring some stretches. The issue of delay in getting forest clearance was also highlighted besides challenges faced by Vartak in the smooth implementation  of projects in times  due to labour shortages,  limited work season, heavy monsoon etc. However, he stated that despite all the challenges, BRO is working proactively and with commitment in building up the border road infrastructure of the state and the nation as whole.

In-charge Secretary to  Governor and DC Capital Sanjay Goel was also present on the occasion and also put forward his inputs. (In-charge PRO to Governor.)



CS visits West Kameng

BOMDILA, Aug 27: On his maiden official visit to West Kameng district as in-charge Chief Secretary, Yeshi Tsering, the Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, took stock of the physical  and financial achievements of the district in a review meeting here today.

Addressing the HoDs, Tsering informed of his planned official tours to all the districts of the state to have a practical first hand knowledge of the matters and issues and to convey the priorities of the state government to the people.

Appreciating the substantial increase in the state allocation to a tune of Rs 3535 crores, he called on the officers to justify the expenditures by dint of their hard labor, innovations, creativity and by strict adherence to the laid down norms. Also, he underscored the importance of revenue generation and said that necessary parameters should be put in force to generate revenue and check losses and proliferation. He also informed of the state government’s special thrust on income generating projects and called on the officers to re-dedicate themselves for the growth and development of the people.

“We have been entrusted with massive responsibilities to serve the people and to be a partner in the development of the state. To achieve this, we need to be sincere and dedicated and should not either abdicate or eschew nor shy away from our duties and responsibilities,” he added.

Earlier, Deputy Commissioner Rinchin Tashi highlighted on the various developmental activities being carried out in the district and expressed his satisfaction over the pace of the works. In order to make the District Administration more effective and to reach out to the people, he urged the Chief Secretary for early posting of Circle Officers at Kalaktang and Doimara, creation of Police Stations at Nafra and Thrizino, construction of residential buildings for the government employees and enhancement of the winter allowances.

All the Departmental Heads including the ADC (hq)/DPDO and the S.E (PWD) presented their report highlighting the achievements and also the bottlenecks coming in the way to which the Chief Secretary gave a patient hearing and suggested means and ways to cope up with the problems at hand and to take up matters of urgency with the concerned officers at the state capital for early redressal in order to facilitate faster growth and development in the districts.

The day before, the Chief Secretary inspected the Zhongdongrong Micro Hydel at Senge and the Dirang Hydel Power House in the district.DIPRO




Union asked to withdraw bandh

Seppa, Aug 27: East Kameng district authority has appealed to the All East Kameng Students’ Union (AEKSU) to withdraw its proposed bandh call in the greater interest of the district to prevent economic loss and people’s suffering.

“There is no serious law and order problem in the district barring a few individual criminal cases. The district administration/police has already arrested all the accused and doing their level best to maintain law and order situation,” East Kameng DC said in a release.

Regarding land encroachment issue, the Estate Officer has already evicted a few encroachers under the provisions of Arunachal Pradesh Public Premises (Eviction Of Unauthorized Occupants) Act-2003. The actions are on against few remaining cases. The Estate Officer cannot act arbitrarily against any individual or organization without complying the provisions of law.

On water Treatment Plant issue, the sub-committee of PAC has already verified the project and the case is with the govt. for appropriate decision, the DC said.

The AEKSU has called 12-hr district bandh on August 31 from 5 am in protest against lax attitude of the authority to address the illegal land encroachment issue, Water Treatment Plant and law and order problems.




USSIF demands construction of double-lane highway

ITANAGAR, Aug 27: A delegation of Upper Subansiri Socio Intellectual Forum, (USSIF) Daporijo including its President and Secretary General led by Power and RD Minister Tanga Byaling and parliamentary Secretary RD and Panchayati Raj, Punji Mara called on Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on August 25 and submitted a one-point memorandum demanding construction of the double lane express  highway from Mebi Geko point near Dumporijo to NH-52 near Gogamukh in Assam.

While briefing the CM about the importance of the proposed road project, USSIF secretary general Tadam Lida said that Upper Subansiri District being located at sensitive international border area with China, the proposed Double Lane Express national highway road would be very important for defense force in the event of any untoward incident. He  further explained about the feasibility, viability and necessity of the project being demanded by delegation team.

While accepting the proposal, the chief minister directed the Chief Engineer Central Zone PWD, Itanagar to take up the ground survey works of the project on priority basis so that the government can pursue the project with the central authority for necessary fund, the Forum said.

The proposed Double Lane Express national highway will be of great importance for construction of 7000 MW Project in Upper Subansiri, the Forum said adding that the proposed highway project  is needed for transportation of heavy and large machineries to various project sites of the district. Moreover, it will pave the way for overall socio economic development of the people of Upper Subansiri District apart from shortening the distance between Daporijo and Itanagar as the proposed express road from Dumporijo to Gogamukh in Assam connecting the NH52 is estimated to be around 90 km only, the Forum added.




Arunachal MP, MLAs to meet Moily to start work at Subansiri project

New Delhi, Aug 27: To give impetus to the North East market and source of livelihood to local people, a delegation of Arunachal Pradesh lawmakers will meet Union Power Minister Veerappa Moily on August 28, and urge him to start work at one of the biggest hydro power projects in India, the Subansiri Lower HE Project, so that infrastructure build up in the region can be fastened up.

The construction of Subansiri Lower project was started in 2005 after obtaining all the statutory and regulatory clearances from the concerned agencies of the Government of India as well as state governments of Assam and Arunachal.

The start of project has brought about a major increase in the commercial activities and the work at the NHPC funded project near North Lakhimpur on the border of Assam and Aruncachal Pradesh was stopped due to protest from anti-dam agitators. The project which started in 2005 was on the verge of completion when protests disrupted the work at the site, bringing huge loss to the exchequer.

On the request of Takam Sanjoy, Member of Parliament from Arunachal West, the Union Power Ministry has convened a meeting on Tuesday to discuss issues for speedy commissioning of the Subansiri Lower HE Project.

Sanjoy, who will be leading a delegation of parliamentary secretaries and MLAs to meet Power Minister Moily, also discussed the issue with Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki over telephone. It will also be attended by the Power Secretary and chairman of the NHPC.

Sanjoy said: “The Government of India has not been persistent to speed up work at the project and work has almost halted due to no dialogue with the agitators.”

The KMSS and other anti-dam organizations have been allegedly carrying out the protest to stop work at the site.

The Arunachal delegation will also demand the Power Minister to form a committee involving representatives from the governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh as well as from Government of India and the NHPC to initiate dialogue and speed up work.

Sanjoy said that dialogue should be initiated with the agitating organizations and a way should be found out to redress the grievances put forward by the dissenting parties so that a solution can be found out and the project can be commissioned by 2014, as scheduled.

Assam’s Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is also of the view that there was no point in simply opposing the project for the sake of opposition, as the project would benefit Assam.

To generate nearly 30,000 MW power in 10 years’ time, the Arunachal Pradesh Government has signed MoUs with several private firms for 10 major hydropower projects.




Arunachal good will team to meet NE DRCs

New Delhi, Aug 27: The Arunachal Pradesh goodwill team led by Member of Parliament Takam Sanjoy formed to check the exodus of North East people in wake of the Assam violence will be holding a meeting with Deputy Resident Commissioners of respective North East state governments in Guwahati on Wednesday to facilitate return of students/employees to South India and Maharashtra in wake of the Assam violence.

The exodus took place from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the wake of rumours of retaliatory attacks on northeasterners after the Assam violence.

The goodwill team headed by Sanjoy had visited all these states to coordinate with state governments in South India, and demand security and protection for northeast students studying in various cities in the region.

The team will also inaugurate helpline on August 29 to ascertain number of students/employees who are willing to return to their respective institutions/ workplace. Later in the evening the three member Arunachal team along with representative of the Maharashtra Government will call on Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Sanjoy informed that Maharashtra CM has already spoken to the Civil Aviation Ministry to arrange for special charter flights to bring back the people of the North East region, and added that special trains have also been arranged to for the people to return.

Sanjoy also spoke to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and chief secretaries of all north eastern states in order to take a strong initiative to liaison with the states to facilitate return of students/employees.

In the meantime, the goodwill team has appealed to the people to maintain peace in their areas and not be swayed by rumours and urged the NE state governments to send their children back without ado so that they can continue pursuing their courses.



Orientation cum Capacity Building Workshop

ITANAGAR, Aug 27: The 10 days Orientation cum Capacity Building Workshop for the Volunteers of Early Childhood Care and Education organized by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Rajya Mission at Arunachal Pradesh Science Centre, Itanagar completed yesterday.

During workshop, the resource persons M Kamki, B Kato, Sher Singh, C Lowang and KK Pandey imparted methodology of teachings to trainees on what to teach and how to teach in the early childhood care and education centre and also imparted the method and basic teaching required for the early childhood stage like language, physical and cognitive and socio emotional developments.

Besides these, puppet making, demonstration and other child education related topics were imparted to trainees.

Addressing the valedictory function of the workshop for second batch, Education Minister Bosiram Siram advised all the trainees to make best use of the knowledge and ideas they learnt from the resource persons during the training period.

He further advised the trainees to be sincere and punctual and emphasized on strong base or foundation to yield quality education in the state. He was hopeful that Arunachal would also be at par with other advanced states of the Indian union within a short period.

SSA Rajya Mission, Itanagar, State Project Director P.N. Thungon also encouraged and advised the volunteers to be sincere in their duties and responsibilities. He also emphasized on need for building a strong foundation on emotional, cognitive developments of the pre-school children.

SPO G.Karga and SPC M.Kamki also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier, attending on the valedictory function of the 1st batch training workshop on August 21, Commissioner cum Secretary Education, Gonesh Koyu expressed the need for imparting training on latest techniques to the volunteers from time to time.



In-service training prog on establishment rules

ITANAGAR, Aug 27: A week-long in-service Training Programme on “Establishment Rules" commenced at ATI, Naharlagun  today.

Altogether, 26 officials of AP Civil Secretariat, Heads of Departments from Itanagar, Naharlagun and Nirjuli are attending the Training Programme.

While inaugurating the programme, Director Training Pema Tshetan, said that the Establishment Rules forms the back bone of the Govt functioning and management of its man power with a view to deliver the goods & services to the people at large. He informed the participants that, the basic objectives of the trainings are to enable the Govt. employees to understand in depth the establishment rules  and  apply them effectively in their day to day office business. He further said that, lack of proper knowledge of establishment rules will be harmful as it may lead to wrong entries and maintenance of personal files and service books  which would affect the service career of employees & pension settlements at later stage.

Pema advised that while initiating notes in the files, they should shoulders high degree of responsibility and have courage to point out the acts and examined the case in context with the provision of the rules without any fear or favour.

Earlier, Assistant Director (Trg) Priscilla Tayeng highlighted the details of course content of the training programme and called upon them to attend the training with sincerity and purpose.




A contrary place

Nimina Namchoom

In our state,  we have to rely mostly on government jobs because we don’t have many Private companies to employ us. But with the joys of getting a steady, salaried government job comes the order of having to move to the ‘districts’. The news of my ‘officer’ job was a joyous one but the thought of moving away from the dear and familiar was a sad one. On receiving my appointment order and seeing that I had been posted to Daporijo, Upper Subansiri, I thought, that’s better than the other options that were there! Enquiries were made and someone who had already been posted there had told me, ‘Jagah accha hai kyun ki light aur Pani Ka problem nahi hain wahan par’. (The place is good because there is no problem of power cuts and water supply.)

So baggage packed I set forth for the place. The first view that I had of Daporijo was a twilight one of it nestled in a valley and set between two rivers with lights twinkling and thought, not bad and it looks quite big! But the contradictions started as soon as I reached the place. The town was in complete darkness and I got an opportunity to relive the old film scenes of a silent, lonely Dak Bunglow on my first night at the Circuit House. But nothing dramatic or frightening happened and maybe the loneliness and sadness was an effect of my move to a new place. But I literally saw sparks fly (from short circuits) three times on the first night here.

The initial days were busy ones getting acquainted with the job, office and the people. Meanwhile I was allotted to a small quarter until a better one was available. I got a lot of help during the process of renovation and experienced another contradiction when I realized that the faucets inside the house were dry most of the times and water trickled out of the faucet outside. These days I have shifted to a bigger house and get my wish of flowing water inside. It is said that when God gives, he gives bountifully. So this monsoon I have experienced God’s bounty and have water aplenty everywhere, inside and outside flooding my quarter!

These are just some contraries that have been experienced here but there are many things that have to be appreciated about the people here. The thing that I instantly noticed and appreciate about the people here is that they personally run businesses, shops etc and in the evening you will find a lot of women selling vegetables to augment their income. This has been a change for me as from my childhood and in all the places that I have stayed, I have noticed that people from outside have ruled this sphere. The people here are simple, friendly, hospitable and also straightforward.  The people here are also very talented in singing and dancing. Anywhere you go you will find young children to elders always ready for it. This brings the community together and binds it stronger. This area may be perceived as not a desirable to visit but it has its beauty too. The view of Daporijo from afar is always beautiful and if you travel deeper into the district, its natural beauty captivates you. The steep mountains, rivers, waterfalls, villages clinging to mountain slopes etc are breathtaking too. I have had the opportunity to visit many places like Giba, Battak- Jeram, Nacho, Limeking, Orak etc and have found people to be friendly, hospitable and always welcoming. I have tried delicacies like mountain rats, porcupines etc and have come to believe that if you are open to different experiences you will enjoy them.

Before I came to the place I heard people saying that although initially one is unwilling to come to the place, once he/she stays here, he/she is unwilling to leave. I have come across people who are here for the long haul and are content. As for me I believe that almost every place is similar and it is one’s own views that shape their impressions of a place.



Parliament logjam enters second week

NEW DELHI, Aug 27: The logjam in Parliament entered its second week today with BJP members stridently demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue of coal block allocation.

Both the Houses were adjourned as BJP members continued their vociferous protests against the government.

As soon as the Lok Sabha met, BJP members trooped into the Well raising slogans against the Prime Minister after Speaker Meira Kumar's obituary reference to film actor AK Hangal.

"Pradhan Mantri Istifa do (Prime Minister should resign)," the BJP members chanted in the Well.

Amid din, Kumar took up the Question Hour but nothing could be heard.

Only BJP members were in the Well and those of allies - JD-U and Shiv Sena - were seen raising slogans from their seats. Another BJP ally Akali Dal did not participate in the ruckus. Members of SP, BSP, RJD and Left parties were also seated.

As the din continued, the Speaker adjourned the House.

At the time of adjournment, RJD leader Lalu Prasad was heard saying that  BJP members should be removed from the House as a majority was keen on functioning of the House.

In the Rajya Sabha, BJP-led NDA members were up on their feet shortly after it mourned the passing away of former member Chowdhary Ram Sewak and congratulated Indian cricket team for winning U-19 one-day international world cup.

As Chairman Hamid Ansari took up the first listed question, they shouted, "Pradhan Mantri istifa do (Prime Minister should resign)."

Rejecting charges of wrongdoing in coal block allocations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the government has already initiated the process of cancelling mines to companies which failed to develop them and action would be taken against "wrongdoers" if any.

"We have initiated action to cancel the allocations of allottees who did not take adequate follow-up action to commence production," Singh said in a statement in both Houses of Parliament amid uproar created by the BJP.

Singh's rebuttal came in the wake of Government auditor CAG computing that private firms gained a whopping Rs 1.86 lakh crore undue benefit from allocation of 57 coal blocks without competitive bidding between 2005 and 2009. PTI


News Impact

Cash reward stands

ITANAGAR, Aug 27: The cash reward of Rs 2 lakh announced by the Arunachal Pradesh Police for giving information or clue leading to arrest of the assailant/s of Tongam Rina, Associate Editor of The Arunachal Times still stands. The identity of the informer/s will be kept secret.  The informer/s may contact Capital SP Hibu Tamang at tele. numbers : 09436040006/09856060490.


Assembly session

NAHARLAUN, Aug 27: The 9th session of the 5th Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly would be held from September 27 to 29 at 10. DIPR


BHMS results out

ITANAGAR, Aug 27: Rajiv Gandhi University has announced the results of BHMS I, II, III, IV year annual examinations held in June,2012, according to a university release.


Tree plantation programme

ITANAGAR, Aug 27: Assembly Youth Congress Committee, Taliha conducted tree plantation programme at Taliha cum booth level ID card distribution programme of 23rd Taliha Assembly Youth Congress at Taliha recently.

Participating in the programme, Parliamentary Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Punji Mara advised the youth to carry out more welfare activities.

Lok Sabha Youth Congress, Western Parliament President Dikto Yekar, BCC President Nyato Dukom and Anchal Chairpersons Taku Mara, Tadu Kamsar also spoke on the occasion.

They also advised the youth to continue their welfare activities toward the society and work for the progress of Congress party.

Meanwhile, 23rd Taliha AYC president Sikop Nayam submitted one point memorandum to Mara and appealed for establishment of youth office at Taliha.


Mock drill on disaster preparedness

ITANAGAR, Aug 27: Disaster Management Cell, DC Office Capital Complex in coordination with Fire Department has  conducted  a mock drill on search and rescue during fire accident and earthquake at KV-I. Naharlagun and KV-II, Itanagar on August 21 and 22 respectively.

While inaugurating the programme at at KV-I, Deputy Commission Sanjay Goel inaugurated the mock drill programme highlighted the importance of disaster preparedness and also imparted basic preparedness and mitigation measures on fire accident and earthquake to the students.

Besides this, prize distribution programme for students who secured 10 CGPA in class-X board examination in the session 2010-11 was also conducted on the occasion.

EAC J Bomjen and resource person SFO Takhe Horming briefed about the importance of disaster preparedness at KV-II, while Fire department demonstrated different methods and techniques of rescue operation.


 ‘Legal proceedings against assaulter’

ITANAGAR, Aug 27:  Papum Pare SP Nabam Gungte today informed that the IRBn personnel Karling Dodum, the accused in physical assault of one Tam Tanya of Papum Pare Gas Agency, Doimukh on August 7, has been arrested on August 24 when he appeared before the OC, PS Doimukh. Apart from criminal investigations, the accused, currently on bail, is facing departmental proceedings with the CO, 1st IRBn Namsangmukh initiating the departmental inquiry against the constable Karling Dodum. The SP said the investigation of the case is completed and accused was charge-sheeted (vide Doimukh PS case No 18/2012 dated 27/08/12) to the court.






43 days have passed. The culprits involved in the July 15 attack on The Arunachal Times associate editor Tongam Rina are still at large.

Copyright © 2008, The Arunachal Times Publications Pvt. Ltd., Siang House, Sector - E, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh - 791111, India

All rights reserved.


Withdraw the unjustified road project

Dear Editor,

The letters written by one Karunath Pazing and others in your esteemed daily recently are really laudable and appreciable. We fail to understand as to why the government is so keen to spend such a huge amount of Rs. 32.50 Crore in an area where there is no human habitation. The 22 villages mentioned as beneficiaries in the DPR  for the road project are already connected with either Highway or BRTF Road. The proposed road only reminds us of the famous saying, "Politicians build bridges even where there is no river".

We are not against  development but we are against misutilization of fund while undermining  the developmental needs of the common masses. If the Government is really people and development friendly then there are other areas under Pangin-Boleng which needs urgent attention.

As regard the road connectivity to Tarak village, the same is well connected to BRPF Road with PMGSY Scheme.

The intention and motive behind the justification of the dubious project is really suspicious and debatable.


Talung Muang

ASM Tarak Village



Payum people need separate block office

Dear Editor,

Through your esteemed daily, I, on behalf of the Panchayat leaders of Payum circle, would like to draw the attention of the Chief Minister towards the grievances of people of Payum circle.

Payum is one of the remotest circles situated along the international border with China. Considering its backwardness and remoteness, the people of the circle have been demanding separate CD block office to bring in development and for the administrative convenience of the people.

In this regard, several public representations were submitted to the local MLA earlier but till date no action has been initiated for creation of separate CD block office. Many development activities get delayed as our people have to travel to Kaying for any kind of administrative work as there is no  block office in Payum circle.

Therefore, I would like to request the CM to take all necessary steps for early establishment of Payum block office.


Taken Yasing,

ZPM, 15th Payum,

West Siang





All email and surface mails must be accompanied with contact numbers and full postal address. Do keep writing but please make sure that letters are short and to the point.        



Drones to track endangered wildlife

They’re better known as stealthy killing machines to take out suspected terrorists with pinpoint accuracy. But drones are also being put to more benign use in skies across several continents to track endangered wildlife, spot poachers and chart forest loss.    

Although it’s still the “dawn of drone ecology,” as one innovator calls it, these unmanned aerial vehicles are already skimming over Indonesia’s jungle canopy to photograph orangutans, protecting rhinos in Nepal and studying invasive aquatic plants in Florida.

Activists launched a long-range drone in December to locate and photograph a Japanese whaling ship as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society attempted to block Japan’s annual whale hunt in Antarctic waters.

Conservation is one of the latest roles for these multi-taskers, either autonomously controlled by on-board computers or under remote guidance of a navigator. Ranging in size from less than a pound to more than 20 tons, drones have been used for firefighting, road patrols, hurricane tracking and other jobs too dull, dirty or dangerous for piloted craft.

The drones were flown over rough terrain in Malaysia where GPS-collared elephants are difficult to monitor from the ground. In Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Nepal Army conducted trials on detecting rhino and elephant poachers.

But there are drawbacks with drones, including landing them in often thickly vegetated areas since they need clear touch-down zones of about 100 by 100 meters.